Following in the footsteps of Olympic Gold Medallist Greg Searle, rower Ian Weighell has joined the GBR Challenge America’s Cup crew

Weighell, who was a member of the Oxford eight in the Boat Race this year, has been recruited as one of the grinders for the British America’s Cup team. Peter Harrison, Chairman and Chief Executive of GBR Challenge, commented:

“I am delighted that Ian has joined our sailing team, to link with Greg Searle in the mid section of the yacht. In this area we want to combine a high power to weight ratio, which rowers have inevitably built up through their training, to achieve the necessary speed and timing for America’s Cup Class racing.”

Sailing Manager, Ian Walker, explained the reason for the selection. “I was struck by Ian’s enthusiasm as I was keen to have another non-sailor to learn with Greg and for him to measure himself against. With James Lyne, Guy Reid and Mark Covell, we now have strength in what was an area of weakness.”

Weighell, 25, outlined why he made the career change to a sport in which he has never competed. “After a two day trial with the GBR Challenge I was really excited by the potential of an America’s Cup Challenge. The team are all united with a common goal, of being competitive in Auckland in 16 months time, which is really motivating. I’m looking forward to being able to contribute more and more on the water as I learn to race and also using my rowing background to help some of the team with the physical aspects of training.”

The British sailing team continues to grow, now standing at 28 including six sailors on extended trial. Final trials are currently underway and the final squad will be in place by the start of July. Sailing Manager Ian Walker commented:

“We’ve had 10 weeks of tough training on the Solent, with a really high standard of sailors trialing for the team. We’ve trialed nearly 50 sailors and I’m delighted to have found four or five to strengthen our squad.”