Barker denies Team New Zealand is choking

03:41, Sep 23 2013
Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club
Team New Zealand fans at the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in Wellington look disappointed as Race 13 is abandoned.
America's Cup
John Hebberd and Dawn Carter check the time during the first attempt at Race 13, which was abandoned, at the Tasman Bay Cruising Club.
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Spectators react as the race is abandoned with Team NZ comfortably leading.
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Two Team New Zealand supporters react during Race 13.
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Disappointment is obvious on the faces of Team NZ fans as the first attempt at Race 13 is called off.
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Ella, 11 and Matt Wood, wait at the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in Wellington on Sunday the for the delayed start to race 14 of the America's Cup.
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Ben Amor watches Oracle beat team New Zealand in race 14 of the 34th America's Cup at Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.
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Tina Norris, left, and Cheryl barber watch Oracle beat team New Zealand in race 14 of the 34th America's Cup at Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.
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Tania Loughlin watches Oracle beat team New Zealand in race 14 of the 34th America's Cup at Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.
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In New Plymouth, Joanne Pierce and Kevin Kerr anxiously watch this morning's racing.
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In Hamilton, Waikato University students Alyce Michell, left, and Rachel van Rossen watch today's races.
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In Christchurch, Naval Point Yacht Club members watch the yachting. John Cullens, left, Neil McKellar and Rob Angelo
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In Christchurch, Naval Point Yacht Club members watch the yachting. John Cullens, left, Neil McKellar and Rob Angelo
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It's all too much for this fan at Auckland's Shed 10.
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It's all too much for this fan at Auckland's Shed 10.
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It's all too much for this fan at Auckland's Shed 10.
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It's all too much for this fan at Auckland's Shed 10.
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It was nail-biting stuff during races 14 and 15 for these fans at Auckland's Shed 10.
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Tension was high for fans, like this one at Auckland's Shed 10, during races 14 and 15.
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Brenda Herd, at Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, watches Oracle beat team New Zealand in race 16 of the 34th America's Cup.
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Mike West, left, and Dave Roberts, at Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, watching Oracle beat team New Zealand in race 16 of the 34th America's Cup.
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Jeremy Johnson, at Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, watching Oracle beat team New Zealand in race 16 of the 34th America's Cup.
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Toyota NZ employees watch Oracle beat team New Zealand in race 16 of the 34th America's Cup.
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Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
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Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
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Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
America's Cup
Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
America's Cup
Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
America's Cup
Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
America's Cup
Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
America's Cup
Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
America's Cup
Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
Team NZ fans
The tension shows on faces of the fans at Shed 10 as race 17 starts disastrously for Team NZ.
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Nothing for it but to hide behind a flag as a disastrous start effectively ends Team NZ's hopes in race 17.
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It really is this excruciating. A fan grimaces at Naval Point Yacht Club in Lyttelton as Oracle wins race 17.
Team NZ fans
Why do we put our children through this? Twins Flynn and Ari Menzies, 5, hang their heads at Port Nicholson yacht club in Wellington as Oracle take race 17.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
The body language says it all. John Cullens and Willie Newman look disappointed as Oracle take race 18.
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HIGH TENSION: Katie Hakes hopes for the best at the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club on Wednesday.
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Nicci Wood watches on nervously at the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
A disappointed Wellington City Councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer watching race 18 of the Americas Cup at the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, Wellington.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
Bundle of nerves. Nicci Wood watching race 18 at the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, Wellington.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
Let's hope she's good luck. Lucinda Howard, 2, sits with a replica America's Cup.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
Initital excitement shows as Dave Roberts, John Hunt and Nicci Wood watch team NZ lead at the start of race 18.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
A truckie shows his support for Team New Zealand.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 do a haka ahead of the final America's Cup race.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
Oracle fans at Auckland's Shed 10 ahead of the final America's Cup race.
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Anna Sisley, middle, and Brenda Herd, right, watch the final race of the America's Cup at Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.
Paddy Lewis at Christchurch's Naval Point Yacht Club watches the final race of the America's Cup.
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Anndy Crisp watches the final race of the America's Cup at Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.
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Naval Point Yacht Club in Christchurch make a toast to the America's Cup after the final race.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
A fan at Auckland's Shed 10 battles to watch the final America's Cup race.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
Samantha Dalzell-Matthew at Auckland's Shed 10 battles to watch the final America's Cup race.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
Neeraj Lala (Toyota NZ head of marketing) watching and reacting to the America's Cup final race at the Toyota NZ headquarters in Palmerston North.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
Auckland mayor at Auckland's Shed 10 Len Brown applauds after the final America's Cup race.

Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker says his outfit aren't choking as their grip on the America's Cup series starts to look increasingly shaky.

Defenders Oracle continued their unlikely fightback today, winning both races in convincing fashion by 23 seconds and 37 seconds.

They have won four races in a row and must win the next four to hold on to the America's Cup and complete arguably the greatest comeback in sporting history.

Oracle are on a roll while Team New Zealand have stalled after leading 8-1 in the race to nine points for glory.

Team New Zealand were in a position six days ago to be able to win the cup but haven't been able to seal the deal for a variety of reasons.

Weather conditions and the race clock have robbed them of three leads with those races abandoned. But Oracle's performance has improved dramatically to nail six of the last eight races and the Kiwis have been guilty of making errors under pressure.

After today's double blow, it didn't take long for the inevitable question to be raised at the press conference.

"Can you assure New Zealanders that we are not watching team New Zealand choke like the All Blacks have done in the past?" Barker was asked amidst groans from the assembled international media, some of whom would have been ignorant to New Zealand's rugby World Cup struggles.

"That's a tough question," Barker said

"We have absolute belief that we can win this and nothing has changed. The numbers are definitely in our favour but that's not what we are going to rest on.

"We are going to go out there tomorrow to perform as well as we possibly can and if we sail well, we will win a race.

"If we don't sail well, that will leave Oracle the chance to win.

"So we are very clear . . . very, very focused. We will go out there tomorrow to do the best we can.

"We have a huge belief in our team. The guys know that they are definitely good enough to go out there and win this thing.

"We have obviously had a tough few days, some ups and downs, things that have gone against us. But it is sport - we know we can bounce back. We are very excited about getting out there tomorrow and doing what we do well."

On a difficult day when conditions were tricky with light winds and big holes on the course, Team New Zealand didn't help themselves.

Barker was willing to admit they had made mistakes.

They lost both starts and made more decisions on the downwind runs that spoiled any chances of overtaking. They had also been caught out by a sail change between races, putting on a smaller jib expecting stronger breeze that never eventuated.

"We made a call on the jib, looked at the conditions and the forecast we were expecting," he said.

"It was a tough call . . . we were expecting the breeze to build more than it did. It was probably the wrong decision but it certainly didn't cost us the race, it wasn't the reason we didn't win the race."

That lay more in the starting box and what happened further down the course as they got swallowed up in three huge wind holes.

"Where we started in both races we were behind at mark one both times but we just gave up too much distance on the first two downwinds," he said.

"While the guys worked very hard and made some good gains upwind it was never quite enough to really put enough pressure on them."

And all the time, his cocky rival Jimmy Spithill gets more and more confident at the helm of Oracle.

They have now won four races in a row - the biggest momentum run in the final. And Spithill doesn't see it ending.

"It just feels like we are getting better each day," the Australian said.

"We made a couple of changes to the boat last night and it felt quick, seriously quick. But we aren't stopping there.

"The boat is just so much quicker than [when] we started this competition. We believe we have the boat and team to win this competition and we have a wave of momentum behind us.

"The crew can see the boat is up to it . . . it's a real mental thing at the moment."

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Team New Zealand holds a slight advantage during race one.
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Team New Zealand in action during race two.
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Action from race two with San Francisco city in the background.
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Team New Zealand streak away to win race two against Oracle.
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Oracle in action during race two.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Emirates Team New Zealand follows Oracle Team USA around the first mark in race five on day three of the America's Cup 34.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Team New Zealand wave to fans after winning race seven.
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Team New Zealand and Oracle sail past Alcatrez during race seven.
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A view from above the Golden Gate Bridge during race six.
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Oracle cross the finish line well ahead of Team New Zealand in race nine.
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Team New Zealand and Oracle race in front of a giant cruise ship and the Bay Bridge during race nine.
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Action from race 10 of the America's Cup final.
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Team New Zealand lead Oracle during race 10 of the America's Cup.
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Team New Zealand crosses the finish line ahead of Oracle to win Race 11.
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Action from Race 11.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Oracle lead Team New Zealand during Race 12 of the America's Cup.
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Oracle and Team NZ speed past the Golden Gate Bridge during Race 12 of the America's Cup.
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Team NZ chases down Oracle during the early part of Race 13, which was eventually abandoned.
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Fog descends on the race course on San Francisco Bay as Team NZ awaits the start.
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Team New Zealand cross in front of Oracle on the second leg in Race 13.
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Team NZ and Oracle sail side-by-side before the start of Race 13, with the Bay Bridge in the backdrop.
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Team New Zealand and Oracle compete during Race 13, won by Oracle.
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Oracle take the lead in race 14 of the America's Cup.
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Team NZ and Oracle race in front of the Golden Gate Bridge during Race 14 of the America's Cup.
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Team NZ in action in Race 15.
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Team NZ attempt to chase Oracle down in Race 15.
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Action from race 16 of the America's Cup.
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Action from race 16 of the America's Cup.
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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.
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Oracle sails ahead of Team New Zealand on their way to winning race 17.
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Oracle celebrate winning race 17.
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An anguished Dean Barker with head in hands after the Team New Zealand lost race 18.
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Oracle acknowledge the crowd after winning race 18.
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Oracle streak away from Team New Zealand to win race 18.
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Oracle owner Larry Ellison celebrates after his team won race 18.
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Race 19 begins.
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Team New Zealand battles Oracle during race 19.
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Team New Zealand battles Oracle during race 19.
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Oracle wins race 19, completing an amazing comeback and retaining the America's Cup.
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Oracle wins race 19, completing an amazing comeback and retaining the America's Cup.
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Oracle celebrate after winning Race 19, completing an amazing comeback and retaining America's Cup.
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Oracle celebrate after winning Race 19, completing an amazing comeback and retaining America's Cup.
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Team New Zealand battles Oracle during race 19.
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Oracle celebrate after winning Race 19, completing an amazing comeback and retaining America's Cup.
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James Spithill celebrates with the America's Cup.
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James Spithill celebrates with the America's Cup.
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A dejected Dean Barker waves to fans.
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Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill raises the America's Cup.
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Oracle tatician Sir Ben Ainslie drinks champagne from the America's Cup.
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Oracle CEO Larry Ellison holds the America's Cup trophy aloft.
Dean Barker
NO CHOKERS: Dean Barker says Team NZ aren't choking as their grip on the America's Cup final starts to look increasingly shaky.

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