Five Questions for John Kostecki

At Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena, SW's Angus Phillips interviews BMW Oracle's tactician about the recent America's Cup match.

**1. You’ve gone from an America’s Cup boat that does 35 knots to one that does 12. Tough transition?
**For sure. I definitely feel rusty. A lot of us have Volvo Ocean Race experience and it’s a similar feeling to when you finish the Volvo. You don’t feel tuned up for the quick action you have to take in this kind of racing.

**2. You’re doing legs here of a mile or a mile and quarter. A few years ago, people were saying that was impossible for America’s Cup boats, no?
**I don’t agree. We need to make the racing more accessible to the public. Even here, the last few days there’s been great breeze in the harbor. We could be racing right here and have spectators watching from the pier. As far as getting sails up and down and the chutes packed, you learn how to do it. You could even go to two separate chutes. We’re looking at that.

**3. Don’t short races make a mockery of the competition?
**The races may be slightly lower quality. Some random puff close to shore that you can’t see might send someone off to a big lead. But you have a lot of races, which evens things out. The best teams are still going to win out at the end of the day.


**4. In Valencia, when did you guys know you had something special?
**We knew the wing was special when we started designing and building it. We felt pretty strongly it was what we needed to do in order to win. But we didn’t really know if we had an edge until we went racing and lined up with them. The reconnaissance wasn’t too helpful. Even when we sailed past them on the first beat, we still had 20 miles to go downwind, and lighter or stronger winds could change a lot. Then there was the possibility of breakdown. It was pretty amazing the two boats got through two races without a breakdown. We didn’t really know we had it won till the finish.

**5. It was unusual to see a tactician hiking out. What made you decide to go out there?
**You do whatever it takes to win. Anyway, I was able to see a lot more from out on the float, and with the wireless communications we had it didn’t really matter where I was, I could still keep in touch with James. At speeds like that there’s a lot of noise, and with a wide boat you get a lot of leverage hiking out.