27 Jun 2017

Team NZ cycled their way to victory

From Checkpoint, 5:23 pm on 27 June 2017

One of Team New Zealand's more unlikely crew members had only joined the campaign last year, having come from a background in cycling.

Simon Van Velthooven hails from Palmerston North - a city known for its wind but without a coast.

Watching the race from his home in Palmerston North today was Simon's dad Paul, who said if you'd told him several months ago that his son was going to win the America's Cup, he would've said you were mad.

"Who would've thought - incredible!"

Simon won bronze in the kierin at the London Games but missed selection for last year's Rio Olympics. He was recruited as a cyclist to help power grinders and the hydraulics needed to control the wingsail.

Paul said it was a stroke of genius to have Simon on the boat, and they picked the right guy to do it for them.

"His maximum heart beat is 190 beats per minute, and he was at 99 percent of his capability today, meaning his heart was beating at around three times per second."

Paul watched the race this morning with this wife and two daughters, describing it as incredible and exhilirating.

He said Simon had called home from Bermuda after the race and reported he was tired and having a few beers with the boys from Oracle.

"When your hearts beating at 190 clicks, it must tax you somewhere."

Simon shares his position on the boat with Joe Sullivan, a former Olympic rower, as his heart can only handle one race a day.

"Because it's such a taxing position, they can only do one race a day, so when it was two races a day, they'd go turn about - Simon first and Joe second."

"I think Joe's heartrate gets up to that sort of level.

"It's a young man's game."