John Kostecki - a madforsailing interview

Illbruck's skipper talks about his combined Volvo/America's Cup project
With aspirations to win not only the Volvo Ocean Race, but also the America's Cup, Illbruck Challenge has to be the ultimate yacht racing team at present. In true German tradition their double campaign is being carried out with meticulous precision. On the Volvo side of their operation, Illbruck were first out of the blocks - first to announce their entry and first to sign up the ubiquitous Farr Yacht Design Ltd to design them a race-winning machine. They also purchased both EF boats from the last race, including Paul Cayard's winner EF Language and have been using these for crew training and sail development since April 1999. Add to this equation a skipper who is viewed as one of the best in the business and it is understandable why many in Volvo Ocean Race circles, including most of the other campaigns, view Illbruck as the boat to beat. Illbruck skipper, John Kostecki, 36 was Soling World Champion in 1986 and 1988 and won a Silver at the 1988 Olympics, before moving into bigger boats during the 1990s. He won the One Ton Cup in 1994, and the Mumm 36 Worlds three years on the trot between 1996 and 1998. But the beefy Californian is best known for his role in the America's Cup - as tactician in 1995 for Young America and in 2000 for America One. Like Conner and Cayard, it is interesting how Kostecki made the transition from racing round-the-cans to round-the-world, sailing the last Whitbread with George Collins' Chessie Racing. "To be honest it wasn't something I was aiming to do. After Chessie I took a liking to it. I never realised that ocean racing would be like the close, one design racing I've been doing all my life," Kostecki told us when madforsailing caught