American Magic lands familiarity and experience

Published on April 26th, 2018

by Suzanne McFadden,
After parting ways with Team NZ in 2013, having skippered three of their America’s Cup campaigns, kiwi Dean Barker sailed for the Japanese team in the last Cup in Bermuda. That syndicate, which got a kick-start from the then-defenders Oracle Team USA, has since disbanded.

But it wasn’t long before Barker – with the experience of five America’s Cups behind him – was snared by another challenger. Seeking to jumpstart their new campaign, American Magic Executive Director and Skipper Terry Hutchinson signed on Barker for the New York Yacht Club’s challenge in this latest version of the Cup.

Not having won the America’s Cup since 2000, it’s a quest that Barker, now 45, still has to chase. “It’s been in my blood now for a long, long time. I still enjoy it with a huge passion,” he says.

“I love the thrill of the sailing and the racing, and all the elements that go with it. Developing a team, designing and building a boat, and all the challenges that you’re faced with. It’s not as simple as just putting a boat in the water and going sailing. It’s intriguing and enjoyable at the same time.”

When the 2017 Cup wrapped up in Bermuda, Barker and his wife Mandy moved with their four children to Park City, Utah. That’s a long way from the ocean.

“Before we knew what we would do next, we decided we weren’t in a mad panic to get home. We wanted to enjoy some family time before I got into the next project. So we decided to do a winter skiing, and it’s been awesome,” says Barker, whose own family never skied as he was growing up. “I was a late starter.”

At the end of next month, the Barkers will head to a more permanent base at Rhode Island, where American Magic will work from.

“It’s a pretty special place in a lot of ways. It has so much sailing history. To sail for the New York Yacht Club is a special thing, and I’m really thankful for the opportunity to be involved,” says Barker.

He also sees it as a kind of reunion. The guy next to Barker calling tactics, Annapolis-born skipper Hutchinson, was his right-hand-man in Team NZ’s 2007 Cup challenge in Valencia.

“Terry and I had a really strong relationship during the 2007 campaign, and obviously we’d gone our different ways since then. As he points out, we’ve probably yelled at each other more than raced with each other in recent years,” says Barker with a chuckle. “But working together again is really cool.

“We’ve obviously got a huge amount of work to do and I think our group has a very good starting point, but the benchmark is still going to be Team New Zealand – there’s definitely no time for sitting on your hands.”

Key dates:
✔ September 28, 2017: 36th America’s Cup Protocol released
✔ November 30, 2017: AC75 Class concepts released to key stakeholders
✔ January 1, 2018: Entries for Challengers open
✔ March 31, 2018: AC75 Class Rule published
June 30, 2018: Entries for Challengers close
August 31, 2018: Location of the America’s Cup Match and The PRADA Cup confirmed
August 31, 2018: Specific race course area confirmed
December 31, 2018: Late entries deadline
March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched
2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series Preliminary Events
February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched
During 2020: 3 x America’s Cup World Series Preliminary Events
December 10-20, 2020: America’s Cup Christmas Race
January and February 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
March 2021: The America’s Cup Match

Protocol of the 36th America’s Cup
Key Points of the Protocol
Deed of Gift
AC75 Class Rule (v1.0)

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