Power packed

Emirates Team New Zealand have secured a substantial injection of power to their sailing team line up for their Defence of the 37th America’s Cup in Barcelona in 2024.

30 January 2023


Emirates Team New Zealand has recruited four new crew members from varied backgrounds of elite New Zealand sports: Dougal Allan (Multi-sport), Hamish Bond (rowing / cycling), Louis Crosby (cycling) and Cameron Webster (rowing).

Each of the new sailing team recruits progressed through a brutal selection process overseen by Emirates Team New Zealand Trainer Kim Simperingham late in 2022.

Kim’s job is to find and physically train the elite athletes capable of outputting the immense power required to drive the systems onboard the AC75.

“We had a really interesting week of Cyclor testing for our existing sailing team as well as a list of potential new candidates, all of whom took their bodies to their absolute limits for the tests.


“The two main physical qualities we were looking for are athletes that can sustain a really high power output for the length of a race, up to about half an hour, and athletes that can also achieve really high peaks in power, that will be used for the manoeuvres during races.”

The tests were a combination of short maximum power output tests as well as longer endurance tests.

“This gives us an idea of their physical strengths, whether it be the short sprints or the long endurance aerobic work. And then in the end, we compare that to what we’ll need on the boat and end up with a group of cyclors that will carry us through the next couple of years,” said Simperingham.

“What we found was the big guys have the power and endurance as opposed to the smaller guys with huge power to weight ratio who, although highly impressive, struggle to match the overall numbers that bigger guys can output which shows in many of the guys who have been selected.”

The original cyclor, Simon van Velthooven, who discretely joined the team in 2016 prior to the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda when the team was developing the cyclor innovation, returns to a more familiar leg powered role along AC36 grinders Louis Sinclair, Marcus Hansen and Marius van der Pol who were not spared the pain of the selection tests along with sailor Sam Meech who joined the team in 2022.

“It’s brutal, America’s Cups are hard so they put us through a hard test. It’s crucial to deliver the whole way through,” said van Velthooven.

Thoughts echoed by Marius van der Pol, “You sort of easily forget how much pain these little tests can put you through. So that’s a good check in and reminder.”

Emirates Team New Zealand’s Blair Tuke, who has been intricately involved in the selection process, is encouraged by the calibre of the team that has been established around him.

“We have a really potent mix of America’s Cup and AC75 experience, fresh hungry talent and raw power which I am sure will set us up strongly by the time we are on the start line for the America’s Cup Match on October 12th 2024 in Barcelona,” he said.

“To see what these guys are prepared to put themselves through in testing to qualify for the team has been really impressive and I have no doubt they will apply that same commitment to the whole team in the gym, in the shed and on the water throughout the campaign.”


Dougal Allan is an international multi-sport champion and two time winner of New Zealand’s Coast to Coast and course record holder of Challenge Wanaka. Dougal has over 15 years of elite multi-sport experience of pushing his body to the limit.

Hamish Bond is one of New Zealand’s most decorated and impressive athletes known for his exceptional dedication, focus and commitment to succeed. A three time Olympic Gold medallist in rowing with back to back gold medals in the men’s pair in 2012 & 2016, followed by his third Olympic Gold in the Men’s 8 in Tokyo 2020, Bond has also competed at the highest level in cycling, winning a Commonwealth Games bronze medal in the road cycling time trial in 2018.

Louis Crosby is a former professional cyclist who was part of Pure Black Racing competing internationally on the US and South-East Asia circuits. Louis retired from competitive road cycling moving into mountain bike racing and multisport competition before being selected to become a cyclor for Emirates Team New Zealand.

Cameron Webster represented New Zealand as part of the elite Rowing New Zealand squad between 2016-2020 competing at a number of World Championships across pairs, fours and eight man crews. Cameron finished his competitive rowing career in 2022 and is completing his Law Degree in 2023 while simultaneously starting his role as a cyclor for Emirates Team New Zealand.



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