“I felt really lucky to be on board”
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP star Chris Vermeulen yesterday visited the Port America's Cup Marina in Valencia and spent time on the Victory Challenge yacht.
Vermeulen is a keen sailor himself and owns a boat back home in Australia. He was
eager to get onboard the Victory Challenge SWE63 as it was put through its paces out at the sea. Vermeulen was even given the chance to sail the yacht and help with the rigging during the two hour test.
The 17 man crew welcomed him onboard with a presentation of a shirt declaring him as the 18th crewman and Vermeulen reciprocated by giving all the sailors one of his distinctive Rizla blue hats, which they then all proceeded to wear throughout the days testing.
Vermeulen will be back to the more frenetic pace of motorcycling this week, as team-mate John Hopkins and he begin a two-day test on the new Suzuki 800cc bike at Valencia in Spain on Wednesday.
"The Port America's Cup Marina looks incredible - it's great to see what they have done," said the Australian rider. "I expect that by race time is going to be fantastic. I feel really lucky to be on board. Maybe now that I know these guys I might come down more often and maybe see a race next year if I get the chance."
"Motorcycle racing and sailing for the America's Cup are very different, but you can still find many similarities," added Chris Vermeulen.
"It's exactly the same principle as in bike racing, but here there are 125 people working full time for the team and that's more than our race team, including the designers and everything. All the technology involved is amazing to see, I didn't realise how much was involved."