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Youthful Dean Barker Wins His First Race

Press release no. 110
2 March 2000

Team New Zealand Defends the America’s Cup!

Youthful Dean Barker Wins His First Race

Team New Zealand won its fifth race in this America’s Cup to become the first nation outside the USA to successfully defend the America’s Cup. Kiwi skipper Russell Coutts, who had won nine races in a row going back to 1995, relinquished the helm to the 26-year old Dean Barker for Race Five. Barker sailed a brilliant start and first leg and went on to a comfortable win to defend the America’s Cup.

Race Five was sailed in the strongest breeze of this 30th America’s Cup. Race Director Harold Bennett started the race on time in 15 knots of Southeast wind. Wind velocity built as high as 24 knots, the wind shifting 40 degrees to the right throughout the race.

AMERICA’S CUP 2000 - Race Five
Team New Zealand Beat Luna Rossa – Delta 00:48
Dean Barker found himself at the helm of Team New Zealand (NZL-60) with the opportunity to defend the America’s Cup with a win over Francesco de Angelis on Luna Rossa (ITA-45). Barker looked like a veteran during the pre-start, converting his starboard tack advantage on entering the start box into a 12-second lead across the start line. There was another deep dial-up, and both boats held position for a very long time, sails luffing on port tack. In fact, both boats started drifting backwards on port tack, sliding over 100 metres astern, before breaking away on split tacks. This led to another dial-up, and with time running out to the start gun, Barker was able to get a controlling position a couple of boatlengths to windward of de Angelis. Team New Zealand led back to the Committee Boat end of the starting line, and crossed three lengths ahead on the right of the pair.

Barker, and tactician Brad Butterworth, worked to push Luna Rossa out to the right hand side of the course. The Italians stayed close, with tactician Torben Grael working well to split tacks when possible, and minimise the damage from the poor start. When the boats reached the starboard tack layline, Barker was in position to windward, and was able to foot down, increasing speed for the long tack to the weather mark. The black boat led by 24-seconds at the top mark.

With the wind shifting to the right, the first run was heavily biased to a port gybe, and it was difficult for de Angelis to find any tactical advantage. The first run ended up being primarily a speed contest and the boats matched up evenly for most of the leg. The Italians trailed by 22-seconds after one lap of the course.

On the second beat, Barker waited for Luna Rossa to tack after rounding the mark, and then tacked inside the Italians. Grael and de Angelis decided to gamble on the left paying off and took a short tack to get inside the black boat as both settled in for a long port tack on the biased course. Team New Zealand sailed a little lower as the lateral separation between the boats increased, but appeared to gain through superior speed. The left shift that Grael was hoping for never materialised, and Barker pulled away, stretching to a 47-second lead at the turn.

The second run was similarly favoured to the port gybe, and there was little de Angelis or Grael could do to get back in the game. Both boats spent the majority of the leg mid course, and did only one gybe to get around the mark. Barker sailed from the textbook, positioning Team New Zealand in between Luna Rossa and the bottom mark. He gained 14-seconds on the leg.

On the final lap of the course, Barker again sailed conservatively, protecting his hard-earned lead. Each time de Angelis tried to split away, Barker and Butterworth would tack to cover, and the Italians watched their America’s Cup hopes fade with each passing metre.

It was a fantastic day for New Zealand, perhaps the most important day in national sporting history. The small island country showed again the depth of talent and innovation it holds. Both elements have contributed to its outstanding 10-0 record in the last two America’s Cup Matches. Nine crew members have sailed in all 10 races, and the rotation through the other positions bodes well for the future.

As Team New Zealand approached the finish line to secure the America’s Cup trimmer Simon Daubney could be heard saying, “Take it home Deano, take it home,” to Dean Barker. When the black boat crossed the line the spectator fleet erupted into a cacophony of boat horns and congratulatory waves. The crew members on the black boat, smiled and jumped, clapping hands and hugging to acknowledge a job well done. Team New Zealand has again raised the standard to which the Challengers will need to aspire.


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