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  Saturday, 12 May, 2001, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
Rowing great joins GBR Challenge
Ed Coode (left) and Greg Searle finished an agonising 4th in the men's coxless pairs at last year's Sydney Olympics
Searle finished an agonising 4th in Sydney last year
Britain's America's Cup team have signed up Olympic rower Greg Searle to act as crew for the 2003 race.

The 29-year-old sailing novice, who memorably won gold at the 1992 games with his brother Jon, is joining Peter Harrison's GBR Challenge as a "grinder".

His job will be to operate the large winches which are used to adjust the sails, a position where fitness and power are paramount.


There are 18 months to go, which is enough time to prepare properly but it will be a steep and exciting learning curve
Greg Searle
Searle is following the footsteps of another legendary rower, Rob Waddell, who has joined Team New Zealand for their defence of the America's Cup in 2003.

"Greg's record is fantastic and it shows not only his physical and mental strengths, but an ability to perform under pressure, " said Harrison.

"I'm sure that he will be able to bring an extra dimension to areas of GBR Challenge by importing ideas from his time in rowing.

"In addition to his physical attributes, fitness and power he will bring an Olympic rower's focus to the training regimes."

Steep learning curve

Over the last few months Harrison's team have been putting a variety of sportsmen through their paces in an attempt to find the muscle for this key position.

Searle, who is still hoping to row at the next Olympic Games, admitted he had a lot to learn.

"There are 18 months to go, which is enough time to prepare properly but it will be a steep and exciting learning curve.

Greg's brother Jon and cox Gary Herbert weep as they celebrate Olympic gold in 1992
Greg's brother Jon and cox Gary Herbert 'celebrate' gold in 1992
"The time scale also means that the door is not closed on my Olympic career as I'll maintain my fitness and could feasibly step into a crew in early 2003 and be ready for Athens in 2004."

He also explained that he is not on the boat purely as a machine.

"I'm really looking forward to learning to sail.

Medal miss

"It's not just about grinding, I need to be able to offer more than that and as such my sailing programme will include plenty of time match racing."

Searle, who is married with a 10-week-old daugher, Josie, will be moving to the South Coast to take up his full time post with GBR Challenge.

The team race in the Louis Vuitton Cup in early 2003 for the right to face Team New Zealand in the America's Cup.

Searle has enjoyed a prolific rowing career, adding Olympic bronze to his gold, in 1996, and winning seven World championship medals.

Last year at Sydney he and Ed Coode narrowly missed out on a medal in the men's coxless pairs.


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