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illbruck Challenge Volvo Team Begins Southern Ocean Training

by Jane Eagleson on 22 Nov 2000
John Kostecki and the illbruck Challenge Volvo Ocean Race crew sailed from Fremantle, Australia today embarking on a 3,270-mile trek through the Southern Ocean to Auckland, New Zealand as part of their training for next year's around the world race.

The team will use the two weeks at sea to test sails and equipment, watch systems and to try out potential new team members. The team is sailing with a new carbon fiber rig, allowed for the first time under race rules. The Southern Ocean training session will culminate with the team competing in the Sydney-Hobart Race starting in Australia December 26.
The team has been testing the new rig and sailing out of their Fremantle base camp for several weeks. 'We've gone through the paces with the boat and everything feels great,' Kostecki said. 'We are ready to get out there and face the Southern Ocean. We expect to encounter some challenging conditions, but this is what we're here for. The tougher it is now the more experienced we will be as a team when we face this infamous stretch of ocean next year.' The second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race starts in Cape Town, South Africa, in November 2001 and will take the team through the Southern Ocean to Sydney.

In addition to skipper John Kostecki, the Southern Ocean crew includes Volvo Ocean Race team members: Stu Bannatyne, watch captain; Stu Bettany, helmsman/trimmer; Mark Christensen, watch captain; Ray Davies, helmsman/trimmer; Dirk de Ridder, mast; Ross Halcrow, helmsman/trimmer; Toni Kolb, bow; and Juan Vila, navigator. The crew is joined in the Southern Ocean by Richard Clarke, helmsman/trimmer; Jamie Gale, mast; Greg Gendell, bow; and Ian Moore, navigator. This same team, except for Gendell, will compete in the Sydney-Hobart Race.

The illbruck Challenge team is training in the Southern Hemisphere with the former EF Education from the last edition of the around the world race. The illbruck Volvo 60 training sistership, the former EF Language and winner of the last Whitbread Round the World Race (now Volvo Ocean Race), is being shipped from Germany to the East Coast where the team will continue training in early 2001. The new illbruck Volvo Ocean 60 is now under construction in Leverkusen and will be delivered to the sailing team for training in spring, 2001.

'The time we invest in the Southern Ocean this year will pay off in a huge way next year,' Kostecki said. 'We can work together as a team to overcome the challenge we will face in this training session, giving us a bit of an edge when we are racing in the Southern Ocean next year.'

The crew will send emails and photos from the boat as they train in the Southern Ocean. Follow their progress in the 'On Board' section of the illbruck Challenge web site at

Volvo Ocean Race is the world's premier ocean race. The 32,250 nautical mile race around the world starts September 23, 2001 from Southampton, England with nine stopovers and finishes in Kiel, Germany in June 2002.

illbruck GmbH is a privately-held international company with six autonomous business units: Automotive, Sealant Systems, Sanitary Technology, Architectural Surfaces, Filtration Systems/Insulation Systems and IT Services. Founded in 1952, illbruck has 35 locations in 15 countries worldwide and is headquartered in Leverkusen, Germany. About 3,200 employees develop and produce customer orientated, complex and highly sophisticated system solutions.

The illbruck Challenge embodies the philosophy of the illbruck company: success through motivation, flexibility and team spirit. The same performance-driven qualities of the international company are embodied in the illbruck Challenge racing team. The illbruck Challenge is the image medium and primary vehicle for illbruck's global and internal corporate identification.

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