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19 February 2002, 10:29 am
Interview With John Kostecki Dockside in Rio
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Volvo Ocean Race
Rio de Janeiro

Q: It was an amazing leg. How does it feel to be here?

A: It feels really, really good. It was a tough leg, especially these last three days with the fleet catching up the whole time. It was some tense sailing and I think all the competitors will admit to that. We toughed it out.
Q: After Cape Horn when you stayed in the middle, how did you manage to stay in front of the rest of the fleet?
A: Well, I mean it was tricky. Tricky winds the whole time. We just played it safe the whole time, played it smart. We went with the gains when we could, sometimes it paid off, sometimes it didn't. Sometimes we couldn't cover and other times it worked for us. We're pretty happy.
Q: Why do you think you managed to pull it off?
A: Well, we have a good time and I may have said this before, I might sound like a broken record, but we have the best team. Pure and simple, the team stays tough, we stayed tough in the Southern Ocean, we stayed tough when the pressure was on and hopefully we're going to be tough around the world for the rest of the way.
Q: What was it like, out there in the Southern Ocean?
A: It was a little scary, at time, we saw a lot of ice obviously, a lot of growlers and the boats were going really fast. So it was quite scary.. Hopefully, we won't have to do that again. Not that we don't like the Southern Ocean, but the icebergs and the high winds - that was a little much. And I think all the competitors will admit to that one, too.
Q: Did you go right close to the icebergs?
A: Yes, really close. And towards the end of the leg, the end of the Southern Ocean, they were melting off and so there were a lot of broken bits around and so that was the scariest part. You hit one of those and you're in big trouble. News Corp hit one of those and broke the rudder.
Q: For you, it was the first time round Cape Horn.
A: It was. A beautiful place! We had nice conditions and so we'll see if we can round again. I expected a lot worse, but it was beautiful - a great moment. I'm sure it is something most sailors would like to have accomplished and put it on their resume. It was a special moment, not only for me, but surely for everyone on board. We took some time out of the race and reflected on it, took photos and spoke about it. We have a lot of respect for that area of the world.
Q: Describe these last couple of hours.
A: Pretty nerve wracking, not much wind obviously. Anything can happen. We were always expecting the worst and expecting the worst is probably the best at the time. In leg three we had problems before we got to Hobart and we were ahead there and parked and everybody caught up with us and passed us and that could have easily have happened here. If that had have happened, it would have been devastating for us, because it was such a long leg and we sailed so well. We wouldn't have wanted it to happen twice in a row! It was great that we were able to pull this one off.
Q: What are those other four boats going through now?
A: It's tough, it's really, really tough. All those guys all have a shot at second place right now and I think it is anybody's game. It's going to be a tough race for them and I am glad they are not there.
Q: What is it like racing when it is that tight?
A: It's real nerve-wracking and it puts a lot of pressure on everybody. We are real lucky not have those guys hot on our tails and we are lucky to have a little bit of breathing room.
Q: What was it like being stuck out there?
It's tough. Even this last mile when the wind shut off and it seemed to be taking forever to get to the finish line. The last three days have been that way we just thought we were never going to get here.
Q: Are you exhausted?
A: We did a pretty nice job of resting everybody and staying with our watch system as much as we could. I think for sure we were a lot more exhausted after leg three - that was a lot tougher in that way. This leg is so long that you really have to take your time and rest. We also knew these last 48 hours were going to be mentally tough so we looked forward to that, we prepared, slept and rested up so that we could be as prepared as possible for this little fight to the finish.
A huge sense of relief. It was probably, out of my whole career, the most nerve-wracking race I have ever been in. Simply put!

Volvo Ocean Race Press/News Editor
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