Dean Barker: 'I just made a meal of the start'

15:59, Sep 20 2013
America's Cup gallery
Team New Zealand holds a slight advantage during race one.
America's Cup gallery
Team New Zealand in action during race two.
America's Cup gallery
Action from race two with San Francisco city in the background.
America's Cup gallery
Team New Zealand streak away to win race two against Oracle.
America's Cup gallery
Oracle in action during race two.
America's Cup
San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge was hard to see during America's Cup racing on Monday (NZT) with heavy fog blanketing all but its highest point.
America's Cup
Emirates Team New Zealand skippered by Dean Barker waves to the crowd after beating Oracle Team USA skippered by James Spithill in race five of the America's Cup Finals.
America's Cup
Emirates Team Zew Zealand races ahead of Oracle Team USA as they pass in front of Alcatraz Island and the San Francisco skyline during race 5 of the America's Cup Finals.
America's Cup
Emirates Team New Zealand follows Oracle Team USA around the first mark in race five on day three of the America's Cup 34.
America's Cup
Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand tack upwind in front of Alcatraz Island during race 5 of the America's Cup Finals on September 10, 2013 in San Francisco, California.
America's Cup
Emirates Team New Zealand skippered by Dean Barker warms up before racing against Oracle Team USA skippered by James Spithill in race five of the America's Cup Finals.
America's Cup
The foredeck crew of Oracle Team USA work on a head sail after losing to Emirates Team New Zealand during Race 5 of the 34th America's Cup yacht sailing race in San Francisco.
America's Cup gallery
Team New Zealand wave to fans after winning race seven.
America's Cup gallery
Team New Zealand and Oracle sail past Alcatrez during race seven.
America's Cup gallery
A view from above the Golden Gate Bridge during race six.
America's Cup gallery
Oracle cross the finish line well ahead of Team New Zealand in race nine.
America's Cup gallery
Team New Zealand and Oracle race in front of a giant cruise ship and the Bay Bridge during race nine.
America's Cup gallery
Action from race 10 of the America's Cup final.
America's Cup gallery
Team New Zealand lead Oracle during race 10 of the America's Cup.
America's Cup gallery
Team New Zealand crosses the finish line ahead of Oracle to win Race 11.
America's Cup gallery
Action from Race 11.
America's Cup
Team Emirates New Zealand skipper Dean Barker talks with his crew after the scheduled second race of the day was postponed due to high winds.
America's Cup
Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker celebrates after defeating Oracle Team USA skippered by James Spithill in race 11 during the America's Cup Finals.
America's Cup
Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker celebrates after defeating Oracle Team USA skippered by James Spithill in race 11 during the America's Cup Finals.
America's Cup
Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker celebrates after defeating Oracle Team USA skippered by James Spithill in race 11 during the America's Cup Finals.
America's Cup
Oracle lead Team New Zealand during Race 12 of the America's Cup.
34th America's Cup
Oracle and Team NZ speed past the Golden Gate Bridge during Race 12 of the America's Cup.
America's Cup
Team NZ chases down Oracle during the early part of Race 13, which was eventually abandoned.
America's Cup
Fog descends on the race course on San Francisco Bay as Team NZ awaits the start.
America's Cup
Team New Zealand cross in front of Oracle on the second leg in Race 13.
America's Cup
Team NZ and Oracle sail side-by-side before the start of Race 13, with the Bay Bridge in the backdrop.
Team New Zealand
Team New Zealand and Oracle compete during Race 13, won by Oracle.
34th America's Cup
Oracle take the lead in race 14 of the America's Cup.
34th America's Cup
Team NZ and Oracle race in front of the Golden Gate Bridge during Race 14 of the America's Cup.
America's Cup
Team NZ in action in Race 15.
America's Cup
Team NZ attempt to chase Oracle down in Race 15.
America's CUp gallery
Action from race 16 of the America's Cup.
America's CUp gallery
Action from race 16 of the America's Cup.
Ben Ainslie
Sir Ben Ainslie of Oracle Team USA walks off the stage from the dock-out show before going out to race against Emirates Team New Zealand in race 17.
Oracle
Oracle sails ahead of Team New Zealand on their way to winning race 17.
Oracle
Oracle celebrate winning race 17.
America's Cup gallery
An anguished Dean Barker with head in hands after the Team New Zealand lost race 18.
America's Cup gallery
Oracle acknowledge the crowd after winning race 18.
America's Cup gallery
Oracle streak away from Team New Zealand to win race 18.
America's Cup gallery
Oracle owner Larry Ellison celebrates after his team won race 18.
America's Cup gallery
Race 19 begins.
America's Cup gallery
Team New Zealand battles Oracle during race 19.
America's Cup gallery
Team New Zealand battles Oracle during race 19.
America's Cup gallery
Oracle wins race 19, completing an amazing comeback and retaining the America's Cup.
America's Cup gallery
Oracle wins race 19, completing an amazing comeback and retaining the America's Cup.
America's Cup gallery
Oracle celebrate after winning Race 19, completing an amazing comeback and retaining America's Cup.
America's Cup gallery
Oracle celebrate after winning Race 19, completing an amazing comeback and retaining America's Cup.
America's Cup gallery
Team New Zealand battles Oracle during race 19.
America's Cup gallery
Oracle celebrate after winning Race 19, completing an amazing comeback and retaining America's Cup.
America's Cup gallery
James Spithill celebrates with the America's Cup.
America's Cup gallery
James Spithill celebrates with the America's Cup.
34th America's Cup
A dejected Dean Barker waves to fans.
34th America's Cup
Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill raises the America's Cup.
34th America's Cup
Oracle tatician Sir Ben Ainslie drinks champagne from the America's Cup.
34th America's Cup
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison holds the America's Cup trophy aloft.

Skipper Dean Barker put his hand up to take the blame for today's America's Cup loss, admitting he'd "made a meal" of a start that Team New Zealand were never able to recover from.

Oracle sped off for a wire to wire win, steaming across the finish line a massive 31-seconds ahead of Aotearoa.

With the second race again blown out because of high winds, Team New Zealand were left sitting on match point, needing one win to take the America's Cup. Oracle improved their daunting assignment to require a further seven wins to hold on to the Auld Mug.

With these boats now so even in speed, the start has become even more crucial and Team New Zealand showed that yesterday when they blasted away for a stat to finish victory.

Today Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill managed to produce some of his renowned aggression in the starting box and leave the Kiwis stalled in a position that proved an insurmountable handicap.

"Today I just made a meal of the start and put us on the back foot," Barker confessed.

"These guys are sailing well enough that you aren't going to be able to get past them. We have to be better than what we were today."

With the disadvantage of entering the starting box 10 seconds after Spithill, Barker opted for some aggression and looked to have got himself into a good position.

But just as quickly the Kiwis found themselves too close to the start line too early, and as they stalled Spithill managed to duck under and "hook" them.

He then accelerated off to a five-second lead at the first mark that expanded to 10 seconds downwind, 11 seconds in a tough tacking duel upwind, and then a blowout on the last run as New Zealand went looking for some magic on a course that offered nothing today.

Spithill was hugely encouraged by his team's win today, believing they had fronted with their best effort when it mattered most.

"We got off the line well and from there we sailed a really nice race. I think the way we sailed the boat was the best we have sailed it. There were zero mistakes," he said.

"It was a very satisfying race for the boys on the boat.

"If you get behind on a race like that, it's very difficult to find a passing lane unless someone makes a mistake in front.  Benny (Ainslie, the tactician) and Tom (Slingsby, the strategist) didn't allow any passing lanes."

Spithill, in his usual confident manner, suggested today's performance proved that it was going to be possible for Oracle to come back and retain the Cup.

Barker said there was no panic in his camp. They would put their heads together tonight to review the race and what improvements they could make to starting, sailing and boat performance. They'd come out tomorrow and look to get the job done then.

"We are certainly very pleased with the way the boat is going and everything else. If we sail properly we'll give them a decent run.," Barker said.

"We said right from the start this isn't over until you win the final race. There are no gimmees out there ... you have to fight for every point.

"We are very aware that we have to race well to win races. Nothing has changed. We have a huge amount of confidence in the way we are sailing the boat and that if we sail well we'll win a race."

As for the wind blowout, Oracle suggested they were willing to race.

Team New Zealand don't believe the rules on wind limits should be changed now that the final is under way.

Without any agreement between the teams, nothing can be put before the coast guard to have the limits extended.

Another doubleheader is scheduled for tomorrow. Wind conditions are expected to be similar though a low pressure lurking off the coast for the first time in the regatta, could add a new dimension.

Advertisement

Team NZ win
STILL WAITING: Team New Zealand have been left waiting once again after losing the first race to Oracle on San Francisco Bay this morning.

Fairfax Media