Wellington (AFP) – The New York Yacht Club (NYYC) has appointed New Zealander Dean Barker as helmsman of the US syndicate that will vie for the America’s Cup in Auckland in 2021.
The NYYC held the Auld Mug from 1851 to 1983, the longest winning streak in sporting history, and plan to pursue the trophy in Auckland for the first time since 2003 under the banner American Magic.
Syndicate head Terry Hutchinson said Barker had signed on, meaning the New Zealander will return in 2021 to the familiar Auckland waters where he first learned to sail.
“There’s not many people in the world that have Dean’s level of experience,” Hutchinson told yachting website sailingscuttlebutt.com.
“For the role as one of the helmsmen for the team, that person needs to have big boats experience, they need to have foiling experience and they need to have event experience.
“There’s maybe four people in the world that tick all three of those boxes.”
Barker, 45, has been involved in five America’s Cup campaigns, four with Team New Zealand and one with Softbank Team Japan.
Hutchinson was not concerned the American Magic syndicate could face criticism for having a foreigner at the helm.
“The primary, overriding goal is to win the regatta,” he said.
Team New Zealand won the right to host the next America’s Cup in Auckland in 2021 after defeating the san Francisco-based Oracle Team USA in Bermuda last year.
The Auckland regatta will see competitors racing monohulls rather than the hi-tech catamarans used in Bermuda.