As Much Attention to Heart-Rates as Hull Shapes

Taranaki-born Craig Monk, a mountain of a mariner, remembers his first year in charge of physical training for an America’s Cup team, Christopher Clarey writes for The New York Times. It was 1995 and Monk –127 kilograms, of him – was a grinder for Team New Zealand, which eventually won the Cup in San Diego.

“We had a bench press, and it was on the dock next to the boat, and a couple of dumbbells I brought from New Zealand that just rusted up basically,” Monk said. “That’s where it’s come from.”

Rust (and body fat) has more difficulty accumulating in today’s Cup. There is now nearly as much attention to fitness as there is to optimum hull shapes and shifts in the breeze.

Craig McFarlane, a New Zealander who is Oracle’s head physical trainer, has worked with world-class rugby union clubs, including Saracens in London.

“The heart-rate profiles of a 25-to-30-minute sailing race in these boats are exactly the same as a half of rugby union, but without the contact and the running,” McFarlane said.

The mild surprise is that the youth movement is not more pronounced. Oracle has only three sailors in its starting 11 who are in their 20s. Team New Zealand, which is challenging Oracle, has no sailor in its core crew under 30 and Grant Dalton, 56, has a grinding role.


Tags: Craig McFarlane  Craig Monk  Emirates Team New Zealand  Grant Dalton  New York Times (The)  Oracle Team USA  

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