It was a seed sown at the finish line of the Vouliagmeni triathlon course in Greece - and five months later Hamish Pepper's multisport ambition was in full bloom.
The Olympic Laser sailor completed his first half ironman on Saturday when he strode over the finish line of the Port of Tauranga-sponsored race around Mount Maunganui.
His sharp 4:39:51 time was good enough for a top-25 placing in the competitive 30-39 age group and had him in 60th place overall.
Pepper's journey actually began when New Zealand triathlon stars Hamish Carter and Bevan Docherty blitzed the Olympic men's field in Athens at the end of August.
"I was actually right there on the finish line," Pepper said.
"It was emotional for me because I was so happy for Hamish and so happy for Bevan because they're two class athletes. That was very inspiring for me."
Pepper had used triathlon coach Mark Watson to prepare himself for the Olympics, where he finished a meritorious seventh in the Lasers, and Watson saw a chunk of raw potential in the former America's Cup yachtsman.
"When I got back from the Games, I carried on with his classes and he suggested I do a few triathlons, so I got in the pool and started swimming. That's been a struggle - basically the last time I was in a pool seriously swimming was when I was 12 ... and occasionally when I capsize in the boat!"
He raced the sprint-distance Surfbreaker race in Mount Maunganui just after Christmas and was down to do the Tinman event in early December but pulled out because of the terrible conditions.
It meant he was unsure how he'd go on Saturday - but smashed the momentous five-hour mark with ease.
For a non-swimmer, Pepper's 32.44min split for the 2km swim was far from shabby - and he's found himself hooked on the sport as a valuable way of cross-training.
"It's excellent - the cycling was really good for my Olympic campaigns and it just gives me great base fitness.
"I've got a few knee problems which stop me running too much so I was a bit concerned at getting through 21km but I just plodded along. I'm stoked with how I went."
Unfortunately, Pepper won't get to pursue his triathlon career further this season - a busy sailing schedule has him leaving for the United States at the end of this week for a regatta in Florida, before more races in Australia and New Zealand throughout the next four months.
It's been an intriguing two years for the 33-year-old, who was on board Team New Zealand as it gurgled and cracked through an unsuccessful defence of the America's Cup in 2003.
He faced the ignominy of being kicked off the boat when Alinghi was ahead 3-0, replaced by a Frenchman. Skipper Dean Barker, Pepper's friend since they went to Westlake Boys High, was given the grim job of telling him he was cut.
Pepper's unsure if he'll continue in the Laser class, citing the prohibitive costs of mounting an Olympic campaign, and for the foreseeable future is earning an income as a keel boat sailor.