"The America’s Cup changed my life"
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The duel for the last America’s Cup between Team New Zealand (photo) and Oracle Team USA began on September 7, 2013.
But then only one team won up to 8: 1: Emirates Team New Zealand with skipper Dean Barker (back right). ">
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After the first two races of the monster catamarans it was still 1: 1. But then only one team won up to 8: 1: Emirates Team New Zealand with skipper Dean Barker (back right…right).
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The spectators in San Francisco were ecstatic if they came from the USA: Oracle USA managed to equalize to 8: 8. The competition had long since become a highly explosive flood…become an argument in which the best New Zealanders faced each other. Because Oracle USA was also largely controlled by New Zealanders.
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Dean Barker, here on an Extreme Sailing Series catamaran, became a tragic hero.
Source: Extreme Sailing Series
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Barker started as an underdog in the Cup and gave the USA an overwhelming battle. But without a happy ending.
Source: Extreme Sailing Series
A good year after the America’s Cup, New Zealander Dean Barker breaks his silence. And explains why his team lost 8: 9 after leading 8: 1. And he would never start for another country.
Ka regatta in sailing was more dramatic than the duel for the America’s Cup of New Zealanders and their skipper Dean Barker against Oracle USA in 2013. Started as an outsider against the USA, led it big and then lost. You didn’t have to be a sailor to feel with Team New Zealand. How did the world famous sailor Dean Barker cope with this trauma? Anyone who meets Barker looks for reactions in his behavior and for traces on his face to the severe defeat. In Istanbul at the Extreme Sailing Series, the New Zealander asked himself questions about the America’s Cup and its future.
The world: Mr Barker, you’ve overcome losing to Russell Coutts, Jimmy Spithill, Ben Ainslie and Oracle Team USA?
Dean Barker: When we started the cup duel in 2013, we were faster and probably also had the better boat. Oracle wasn’t where they’d like to be at this point. Probably they had too many other things on their minds before. But already during the race we noticed that Oracle was getting better and better. They analyzed the races well and successfully adapted their boat to the conditions off San Francisco. We knew we had to win as quickly as possible, so get the overall win. Oracle was getting faster and faster. At first we were better at foiling, but that advantage quickly passed.
The world: Despite your New Zealand team’s apparently decisive lead, your compatriot Coutts has announced that his team, Oracle USA, would still win. It was a provocation, but his prediction was correct.
Barker: In the end, we saw that Oracle was faster than us, but there was nothing we could do about it. We were powerless. We had nothing left to turn the tide.
The world: In the end, it was the money that tipped the balance in favor of Oracle?
Barker: I would not say that. At least not at the end of the race. The money played a role in the run-up to the preparation of the boats. But at this point you don’t know what to expect. In any case, we couldn’t overturn a system that we had previously worked on for three or four months.
The world: Have you at any point thought that not all things turned out right??
Barker: Oracle stuck to the rules, I have no doubt about that.
The world: In New Zealand you were later celebrated, despite the defeat.
Barker: It was fantastic. There was of course some criticism beforehand, and of course, losers are usually not celebrated in New Zealand either. But in this case it was different. The support for our team has been amazing. There were very emotional moments on our return, we were expected by several hundred thousand people. A parade was even organized for us. But that was difficult for us because we had the feeling that we didn’t deserve this recognition, this jubilation. But people have identified with us in a way that I have never seen before.
The world: Has the America’s Cup changed your life? Follow the events of San Francisco right through to your sleep?
Barker: Nice. After a long time we had the chance to win the cup. You can’t get that out of your head just like that. We were so close to victory. But the America’s Cup is not just a regatta, the competition is influenced by so many factors. It’s not just about the sailors, it’s about the design of the boat, the work of the engineers, the sails.
The world: The America’s Cup in Germany has resulted in people getting up at night to watch Muhammad Ali’s boxing match, just as they did in the past, in order to watch the regattas on television. How did your compatriots react?
Barker: The importance of the America’s Cup in New Zealand can be judged by the fact that there were race days when a million viewers were in front of the television. However, only four and a half million people live in New Zealand. I was surprised because the series of challengers for the Louis Vuitton Cup wasn’t particularly exciting.
The world: Why is sailing such a highly regarded sport in your home country?
Barker: Rugby and cricket are the top sports, but sailing has a long history as a sport. It may be difficult to understand for outsiders, but we are an island nation. Around New Zealand is water. I grew up in Auckland and was a member of a sailing club that has many well-known and successful sailors. Several have become professional sailors.
The world: You will be taking part in the Extreme Sailing Series, which will sail on fast catamarans. Is that part of the preparation for the next America’s Cup for you??
Barker: The similarities between the boats are not that great. A distinguishing feature is that the Extreme Sailing Series cats cannot foil, i.e. they cannot lift themselves out of the water to slide on runners. In addition, you only have one opponent in the America’s Cup, it’s a duel. In the Extreme Series, on the other hand, there is a crowd on the water because eight or nine boats are at the start.
The world: They are among the most famous sailors in the world. Does success with the little cats mean anything to you??
Barker: It’s hard to prevail against teams like The Wave Muskat or Alinghi. These teams are very experienced and they have prepared their boats well. For us, the discussion itself is important in order to remain competitive as a team. And with this team we will then be sailing for the America’s Cup again.
The world: When does the preparation for the America’s Cup 2017 begin? Already in 2015?
Barker: It is not yet clear whether we will continue sailing the Extreme 40-Kats or participate in the America’s Cup regatta series in 2015. We may well continue like 2014.
The world: One of your opponents in the Extreme Sailing Series is Britain’s Ben Ainslie. He was part of the winning Oracle USA team at the America’s Cup. Can you be friendly with one another??
Barker: I have great respect for his achievements and successes, especially at the Olympics (four gold medals, ed.). He’s a tough opponent. But we both have no problem with each other. We’re getting along well.
The world: And when was the last time you had a beer with your compatriots Jimmy Spithill and Russell Coutts? Both were Oracle USA’s figureheads and were particularly aggressive.
Barker: I don’t waste a thought on that.
The world: How difficult is it for you to shake hands with both of them?
Barker: It’s not easy to pull the lever after you’ve fought so hard on the water. But of course I respect James Spithill’s achievements.
The world: You have so many successful well known sailors in New Zealand. And everyone strives for a great career. Does the rivalry between sailors spoil the relationship?
Barker: The interests of the sailors are too different for that, it starts with the fact that the sailors focus on different boat classes.
The world: It’s easier in Germany, there is only one sailing star, and I’m sure you know him well.
Barker: You are talking about Jochen Schumann, a great guy I know from the America’s Cup and various other regattas.
The world: Will you be the skipper of Team New Zealand again next time?
Barker: I’m currently the skipper of the team, but there will be a long time until 2017. We have a lot of new talent. Our goal is clear: We want to win the next America’s Cup. I can only assure you that we are highly motivated.
The world: New Zealand has a new super talent, Peter Burling. Is he already part of the team??
Barker: Yes, he’s there. It will be his first campaign.
The world: Did you choose him??
Barker: Yes. He’s got some fantastic results in the 49er. He is young, full of energy and will strengthen us.
The world: If, like Russell Coutts, you got the chance to be a skipper for another team, another country, you’d take it?
Barker: I could never develop the same devotion as I have for New Zealand. The America’s Cup is closely related to feelings for the home country. There is a national thought. Of course, as New Zealanders, we know that we will never have the best resources of any team. But we have passion.
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