Dean Barker (sailor)

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Dean Barker
Dean Barker America's Cup World Series (4).jpg
Personal information
Born (1973-04-18) 18 April 1973 (age 43)
Auckland, New Zealand
Sailing career
Class(es) IACC, TP 52

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.

Early life and family[edit]

Barker was born in 1973 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.

Barker shared the teams leadership with Tom Schnakenberg and ran a campaign based on gimmicks (a hula) and failed to focus their limited funding on a boat that was reliable and sea worthy. As such they suffered a humiliating series of breakages.

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).

Barker and Team ETNZ then went on to Challenge Americas Team Oracle in the 2013 Americas Cup Final and went on to lose the final in what has been named "the biggest sporting choke in sporting history". A rift started to emerge between Barker and Team ETNZ's CEO Grant Dalton.

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.

Early 2015 saw Grant Dalton offer Barker a shore based position in order to make room for a new skipper, Peter Burling. With a 13-year record and no Americas Cup success Barker refused to take this position and defected to a newly formed Japanese syndicate.

On May 21, 2015, Barker was announced as CEO and skipper of the Japanese challenge for the 2017 America's Cup fronted by SoftBank.

Summary of Sailing career[edit]

External links[edit]