Dean Barker (yachtsman)

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Dean Barker
Dean Barker America's Cup World Series (4).jpg
4th Skipper of the New Zealand America's Cup team
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 March 2000
Preceded by Russell Coutts
Personal details
Born (1972-04-18) 18 April 1972 (age 42)
Auckland,
Spouse(s) Mandy Smith
Religion New Zealand secular

Dean Barker (born 18 April 1972) is best known internationally for his participation in America's Cup yacht races with Team New Zealand/Emirates Team New Zealand.

In the 2007 Americas Cup series in Valencia, Spain, Emirates Team New Zealand, of which he was the skipper, went down 5–2 to the Swiss boat Alinghi, losing the final race by only one second.

Early life and family[edit]

Barker was born in 1972 in Takapuna, New Zealand. Barker's father is the well-known New Zealand multi-millionaire Ray Barker of the Barkers Clothing retail chain. Dean Barker was educated at Westlake Boys High School. Barker married former New Zealand field hockey representative Mandy Smith in February 2004. They have four children, three daughters; Mia, Olivia & Isla and one son Matteo. Dean Barker is also a major shareholder in Kiwi Yachting Consultants.

Early sailing career[edit]

Barker sailed from an early age, starting out in Optimist and P Class boats, before graduating to 470s and Lasers.

Olympic Games[edit]

  • 1996 – Unsuccessfully trialed to represent New Zealand in the Finn for the 1996 Olympic Games.
  • 2000 – Did not participate in the New Zealand selection trials due to America's Cup commitments.
  • 2004 – Represented New Zealand in the Finn finishing 13th out of 25 competitors

America’s Cup[edit]

Barker's first introduction to the America’s Cup was in 1995 when Russell Coutts invited him to train with Team New Zealand in San Diego. Although he was not involved in the successful challenge, he became a permanent member of the cup defense team once the cup was in Auckland.

Because there was no defender's series Team New Zealand used high intensity in-house racing to prepare for its cup defense. Barker’s skill as a match racer rapidly developed and he became skipper of the “B Boat” in these races. Although the racing was not public, and scores were not kept, it became apparent that he was at least holding his own with Coutts.

Team New Zealand went on to successfully defend the 2000 Cup 5–0, with Coutts relinquishing his normal helming role to Barker in the last race. After the 2000 cup there were multiple defections to other syndicates, most notably Coutts and Brad Butterworth to Alinghi and as a result Barker became skipper.

In the 2003 Americas Cup, the Swiss boat Alinghi defeated Team New Zealand in a 5–0 series. The subsequent internal team review left Barker's reputation intact and he was selected as skipper and helmsman for the 2007 challenge.

The renamed Emirates Team New Zealand, with Barker as skipper and helmsman, was one of the challengers for the 2007 Valencia America's Cup. Barker started Team New Zealand's quest to take the Cup back to New Zealand by winning the challengers' 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup— beating the Italian Luna Rossa Challenge team 5–0 in the final after the previous elimination of the other 9 challengers. This was the first time that the Louis Vuitton Cup had ever been won without a race loss to the opponent. This gave Emirates Team New Zealand and Barker the opportunity to challenge Alinghi for the 32nd America's Cup.

By winning Race 2 of the 2007 America's Cup against the Defender Alinghi, Emirates Team New Zealand ensured that the scoreline in the America's Cup would not show a clean sweep victory for the first time in fifteen years. Many experts believed Emirates Team New Zealand had a good chance of winning but finished the 2007 America's Cup with a 2–5 race defeat.

Overall the 2007 America's Cup racing was close with the final race won by Alinghi, skippered by fellow New Zealander Brad Butterworth, with a winning delta of 1 second. Subsequently Barker was criticised by some New Zealand fans for a "lack of coolness under pressure".

Barker has participated in two defences and two challenges for the America's Cup. After the 2007 event, his record as helmsman in Finals was 3 wins to 10 defeats.

In August 2013 Barker once again skippered Emirates Team New Zealand to victory in the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup— beating the Italian Luna Rossa Challenge team 7-1 in the final. He set a Louis Vuitton/America's Cup speed record in race #7 of 47 knots (87 km/h; 54 mph).

Through 20 September 2013, Dean Barker's record as helmsman in America's Cup Finals stands at 11-15. With only one more race win needed for Emirates Team New Zealand to secure the Cup, Dean Barker will need one more America's Cup series to break even.

Summary of Sailing career[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]