illbruck strolls home

A comfortable win for Kostecki's German team

Thursday May 9th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
A relaxed John Kostecki and his crew on board illbruck crossed the finish line at 13:44:30 GMT to win leg seven of the Volvo Ocean Race by a comfortable margin. They cruised into the finish line making 9.5 knots in the moderate breeze, close reaching on port tack under full mainsail and Code Zero accompanied by 35 spectator craft.

The crew celebrated with champagne, but it was no wonder they decided to spray it in time-honoured Formula One fashion. The last thing the flu-struck crew must have felt like doing was drinking the stuff. But however they choose to celebrate, they can look back on a job well done. Their latest victory puts paid to suggestions by their detractors that the wheels were beginning to wobble off their campaign, following a lacklustre leg into Baltimore last month.

Of the four major ocean legs in this race, they have won all of them. In pure ocean racing terms, they are second to none. The only glimmer of hope for their opposition is that their less-than-dominant performance on some of the shorter sprints will come back to haunt them on the final two legs to Gothenburg and Kiel. But really, their rivals are clutching at straws if they still hold out any hope of defeating Kostecki and his crew. Even eight months into this race, the three years of hard preparation continue to reap rewards for this immaculately prepared German team.

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