Dean Barker: So often the nearly man

Published on March 10th, 2022

When America’s Cup challenger American Magic revealed its core sailing team for the 37th America’s Cup, the news was as much about the omissions as it was the line-up for the USA team.

While no specific roles were defined, the absence of skipper Terry Hutchinson among the roster may indicate a transition off the boat for the 53 year old. But also missing was Dean Barker who was on the helm for the team’s first campaign in 2021.

Hutchinson and Barker are longtime teammates from the Team New Zealand challenge in the 2007 America’s Cup, but the litany of race course errors during the 36th America’s Cup cast doubt on Barker’s future. In this report by Duncan Johnstone, he details Barker’s journey for STUFF media:

Officially Dean Barker is an America’s Cup winner, but the likeable Kiwi will likely be better remembered as the nearly man.

Barker’s long Cup career appears to be at a crossroads as his name was absent from American Magic’s core crew list released on March 8.

The New York Yacht Club’s syndicate was his lifeline, with continuity there his best option to stay in the game under the tough new nationality rules. The reality is the New Zealand door shut on Barker in the wake of the 2013 heartache in San Francisco.

Barker’s Cup success came in the 2000 home defense when Sir Russell Coutts handed him the wheel at 4-0 and asked him to deliver the knockout blow to Italy’s Luna Rossa.

Barker duly delivered on Coutts’ confidence and that effort put him in charge of the Team New Zealand boat for the following 13 years.

It was a rocky ride, with Barker initially overseeing the embarrassing 5-0 loss to Alinghi in the 2003 defense when the Kiwi boat literally fell apart and the whole campaign buckled under the pressure of trying to overcome the might of his mentor who had jumped ship to Swiss colors with the bulk of the sailing talent.

With Team New Zealand’s very existence threatened, Barker got the nod from his new master, Grant Dalton, who stepped in to provide the fundraising skills and managerial expertise to keep the Kiwi syndicate afloat. – Full report

Following the publication of the AC37 Protocol and AC75 Class Rule on November 17, the entry period opened December 1, 2021 and runs until July 31, 2022, but late entries for the 37th America’s Cup may be accepted until May 31, 2023. The Defender is to announce Match Venue and approximate event dates on March 31, 2022. –

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