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Mumm 36 Worlds: John Kostecki Reports
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Thomas I Punkt Repeats as Champion

Final Report:

PUNTA ALA, Italy (June 7, 1997) — Thomas I Punkt won the 1997 Mumm 36 World Championships yesterday without having to sail the last race. By being contistently at the top, though never winning a race, Thomas I Punkt's lead was large enough going into the last race to sit out. But the owner, Thomas Friese of Hamburg, Germany, chose to sail and had another top placing in the final race, third, to finish 17.5 points ahead of second-place Jameson.

This is the second World Championship for this team, which won last year in San Francisco. Helmsman Gavin Brady had execellent starts, and the sail trimmers Warwick Fleury and Grant Loretz kept the boat going fast, which made my job easy as tactician. Being consistent was the key to winning.

All of our competitors had at least one bad finish and racked up points quickly in the no-throw-out series. The sailing was tight and the boatspeeds were very equal in the 8- to 12-knot conditions we had in Punta Ala.

By winning the Worlds again, Thomas Friese secured a spot on the German Admiral's Cup Team. The German Team will consist of Rubin as the big boat, Pinta the ILC 40, and Thomas I Punkt. At the Admiral's Cup, Gavin Brady will be the mainsheet trimmer on Thomas I Punkt and I will be tactician on Pinta. I will also serve as the German team coach.

Final results:  
 1 Thomas I Punkt (Thomas Friese/Gavin Brady) GER     4 2 2 5 3 5 2 11 4 5 3                 47.0 pts  
 2 Jameson (Tom Roche/Chris Larson) IRL               1 13 9 7 2 2 7 15 1 3 1                64.5
 3 Breeze (Paolo Gaia/Tommaso Chieffi) ITA            16 5 3 10 1 6 9 1 10 9 6               79.5
 4 Georgia Express (James Farmer/David Barnes) NZL    11 12 5  11 6 1 12 5 2 1 12            83.0
 5 Kateie (Luc Dewulf/Tom Dodson) BEL                 7 8 7 4 14 11 8 3 3 7 9                85.0
 6 Bravo (Bravo Sailing/Torben Grael)  BRA            2 4 1 16 11 3 5 12 11 12 13            92.5
 7 Bradamante (Tim Barrett/John Merricks) GBR         14 1 4 2 7 4 15 6 5 13 16              93.5
 8 Osama (Antonio Orlandi/Vasco Vascotto) ITA         3 6 8 1 5 12 10 17 13 11 5             96.0
 9 Baume & Mercier (Mallaret/Brenac) FRA              8 16 10 6 15 9 4 7 7 2 11              97.0
10 Sea (Stephen Kulmar/Richard Friedrichs) AUS        6 14 6 3 9 10 11 10 6 4 7             100.5
11 Atalanti V|I (George Andreadis/Rod Davis) GRE     17 10 13 8 10 7 3 4 8 6 15            101.5
12 Aerosail |I  (Thomas Ross/Helge Homann) GER       DSQ 3 12 15 8 15 6 2 14 8 2           107.0
13 Just for Garanta (Bernt Bresse/Joerg Diesch) GER   10 7 14 9 13 8 14 9 9 10 10           119.0
14 Jeantex  (Jeantex/Jan Kahler) GER                  5 9 16 14 16 14 13 8 12 15 18         145.5
15 Chunky Monkey (Alexis P. Michas) USA               13 17 15 18 12 17 1 18 17 16 8        151.5 
16 Zzenzero V  (Renato Mazzeschi) ITA                 12 11 17 12 4 16 17 16 16 DSQ 4       151.5
17 Puihua IV (Gonzales/Irigoyen) Chile                15 15 11 17 17 13 18 14 15 15 14      172.0
18 Mumm a Mia (Jonnson/Ramsfedt) SWE                  DNF DNC DNC 13 18 18 16 13 18 17 17   195.0

— John Kostecki

Kostecki is the tactician for AmericaOne.

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Day 5:
Thomas I Punkt Clinches Victory

PUNTA ALA, Italy (June 6, 1997) — With a fifth-place finish in today's final race, Thomas I Punkt clinched the Mumm 36 World Championship, successfully defending her title. I Punkt is owned and skippered by Thomas Friese of Germany and is being steered at this regatta by New Zealander Gavin Brady; I'm the tactician.

We secured the champion title with one race still to sail in the 11-race series. After 10 races, I-Punkt has a lead of 19.5 points over second place Jameson, and the maximum points she can collect in the low-scoring system is 18 points per race.

Thomas I-Punkt's win is doubly impressive: Not only has she won with a day to spare against some of the hottest sailors in the world, but she has done it without winning a single race. There are current and past Olympic gold and silver medal winners, America's Cup sailors and world champions scattered throughout this 18-boat fleet.

The tightness of the racing may be judged by the way a crew such as that on Brazil's Bravo, led by Olympic medal winning brothers Torben and Lars Grael (Torben gold in Stars in Savannah, Lars silver in Tornado) can win one race, come sixteenth the next. Jameson began the series with a win, followed it with a 13th, then a 9th. Indeed, every winner of every race has also had more than one result in the back six of the fleet. Against such a background, I-Punkt's consistency is remarkable: only one result out of single figures: 4-2-2-5-3-5-2-11-4-5.

The conditions for today's racing were light to moderate. In the first race, the breeze was a light 6-7 knots and a flat sea. In the next race, the wind was up to 10-12 knots, sea flat. In the final race, the breeze was up to around 15 knots and fairly steady.

There is one race remaining on Saturday. There are no drops.

— John Kostecki

Kostecki is the tactician for AmericaOne.

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Day 4:
Thomas I Punkt Extends Lead

PUNTA ALA, Italy (June 5, 1997) — Thomas I Punkt finished second in the 92-mile long offshore race at the Mumm 36 Worlds to take a commanding overall lead. The course was a large, offshore triangle. We went around three small islands and finished at 3 a.m. at the harbor entrance of Punta Ala. The winds were light, ranging around 8-10 knots in strength.

The early leaders in the race got caught in a hole at the first island, while the boats that sailed farther offshore kept the breeze and sailed around the fleet. This was the point in the race where we made our move.

We were in fourth place after sailing upwind 45 miles to the first island. When we saw the leaders tacking in too close and losing their breeze, we tacked out and sailed right around them. At this point of the race we had a half-mile lead over Bravo, the Brazilian team skippered by Olympic gold medalist Torben Grael.

We managed to maintain our lead until we got within three miles of the finish, when the 9-knot gradient breeze quit on us and the whole fleet caught up. Chunky Monkey (USA), which came from fifth place, caught a puff farther inshore and sailed to a three-boat-length lead over us on I Punkt. However, most of our top competitors had poor results and we were able to increase our lead to 20.5 points over the two boats currently tied for second, Jameson and Bravo.

Friday, three windward/leeward races are scheduled and Saturday will be the last day with one windward/leeward race on the schedule. There are no throw outs. The long distance race had a factor of 1.5.

— John Kostecki

Kostecki is the tactician for AmericaOne.

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Day 2:
Thomas I Punkt Takes Lead

PUNTA ALA, Italy (June 3, 1997) — Thomas I Punkt had a consistent day today, finishing 5th, 3rd and 5th, on Day Two of the 1997 Corel/Mumm 36 World Championship. After six races, we have a 10-point lead over the second-place Bradamante of Great Britian.. I Punkt is owned and skippered by Thomas Friese and being steered at this regatta by New Zealander Gavin Brady; I'm the tactician.

We had light and shifty winds in the first race, which made the sailing very difficult. Positions on the race course changed rapidly and the team that sailed smart and was patient had a good result. The Italian team Osama led at every mark to win the race.

Tomasso Chieffi, at the helm of Breeze (Italy), took a big gamble by coming in to the mark on the port lay line, tacking under the bows of I-Punkt, but inside the two-length zone. This is one of the big changes contained in the new Racing Rules of Sailing, which from April 1 have replaced the International Yacht Racing Rules. It used to be a daring but legal move. Now, if any boat coming in to the mark on starboard has to alter course for the port-tack boat at any time before they are both round and clear, the port-tacker has committed a foul. But this time, Chieffi got away with it.

The wind built to 12 knots for the second race and all the Mumms had similar speed. Every mark rounding was crowded and a one boat-length gain was a huge gain. Chieffi made no mistakes to take the gun from Chris Larson steering Tom Roche's Irish/American Jameson. We sailed conservativly and finished third.

The third race was again very tight with the top boats, making it a premium to have good positioning at the marks. We had a nice comeback to take a fifth. The New Zealand team of Georgia Express won by over a minute. The wind for the third race was 10-14 knots.

The key so far to be successful in this regatta is starting well, and going the correct way on the first windward leg. The courses today were all windward-leeward, twice-around, finishing downwind. The courses are short, so by getting a good start and having a little lead makes it easy to avoid the crowds at the bouy roundings.

On Wednesday we have our offshore race. The potential courses are 150, 130 or 90 miles long. The race committee will decide on the length of the course after they see the weather forecast for the next two days. Our weather expects the wind to be light on Wednesday, but increasing on Wednesday night as a front approaches the west coast of Italy. The offshore race has a 1.5 factor for scoring. All the other races are a 1-point factor.

Friday we have three windward leeward races scheduled and Saturday one windward leeward race is scheduled. There are no drops! Bravo, the Brazilian team led by Torben Grael, went from first to fufth in one day of racing.

— John Kostecki

Kostecki is the tactician for AmericaOne.

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Day 1:
Bravo, Thomas I Punkt Battle for Lead

PUNTA ALA, Italy (June 2, 1997) — We had an exciting day of racing on the first day of the 1997 Corel/Mumm 36 World Championship. After three races, defending champion Thomas I Punkt, for which I'm tactician, is in second place, trailing Bravo by just one point.

In post-frontal conditions — big waves and a dying breeze — we sailed three races today to remain on schedule. The first race was sailed in 7-12 knot breezes. The second race was 5-8 knots and the third race 5-8 knots, with very big shifts! We managed to stay out of trouble and near the front of the pack every race, scoring finishes of D, 2, 2.

The Mumms today gave a taste of the tight racing that can be expected at their main event, the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup in England in August. It said it all when U.S. team member Jameson, winner of the first race, arrived at the first windward mark of the second race in 15th.

The first race saw even tighter racing between Germany's AeroSail |I and Sweden's Mumm a Mia, which had a coming together at the first leeward mark. Result: a hole in AeroSail's starboard side and no more racing for Mumm a Mia. The conflict went to the International Jury for a decision, and both boats were disqualified.

Others were also in the wars, with several executing 720-degree penalty turns.

Eighteen boats are competing in the 11-race regatta, including many America's Cup veterans and hopefuls. There are no throw-outs, so no boat gets a second chance.

Race schedule:
June 2        3 windward/leeward races
June 3        3 windward/leeward races
June 4/5      long offshore
June 6        3 windward/leeward races
June 7        1 triangle or 1 windward leeward race

— John Kostecki

Kostecki is the tactician for AmericaOne.



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