Dean Barker bows out of America’s Cup
“It’s a disappointment we won’t be competing any more, but right now I have an immense pride in what we have achieved in two years. Two years ago we met here in Bermuda and talked abut how we were going to put a team together.
“The group we’ve assembled and the support and things we’ve felt from Japan as we tried to reintroduce them to the America’s Cup after 17 years has been incredible and words can’t describe the feeling when we went ashore and got back to the dock with all the family members and friends.
“The environment we’ve managed to create is something I’m incredibly proud of and I hope we can just continue on to the next cycle.
“The first thing I’d do is acknowledge Artemis and the strength and depth of their team. Clearly they’ve always been one of the strong contenders in the bigger breeze and I think we’ve done a very good job to try to take them on in their conditions in this semi-final it’s certainly been more in their favoured range than ours, but I think we’ve done a very good job to respond,
“Today’s race was a bit frustrating. We hit something straight after we left the marina just after 13:00, so we didn’t have time to go back to the dock and lift the boat out. So we went and tied up near the race area, got a couple of divers and stuck the three foils in the water.
“But we couldn’t find any damage. But the issue with that is you’ve got 45 minutes before you start racing, so you use that time to get locked in with the settings to how you’re going to sail the boat, tacking and gybing. And we just lost a decent chunk of that period of time, so we were definitely a little bit under prepared for those conditions.
“But we were really happy with how we got off the start and round the bottom gate in good shape and then just… We were going well some times and not so well on others and the timing of that tack wasn’t ideal. And once they got in front of us it was always going to be hard to pull them back.
“I really hope this team really does have a future. They’re an amazing bunch of people. One of the big objectives for this team has been trying to build a fan base for the America’s Cup and SoftBank Team Japan in Japan. And it’s nice to have Japan back in the America’s Cup for the first time since 2000.
“So I really hope this team does have a future and will continue. Obviously there are a few things that will have to be sorted out before we have that sort of certainty, but I really hope that’s the case.
Dean Barker, helmsman of the SoftBank Team Japan boat, sailed his last race of the 35th America’s Cup in the Challenger Finals against the Swedish Artemis today.
Sweden’s Team Artemis completed its remarkable comeback to eliminate SoftBank Team Japan from the America’s Cup Challenger semifinal series on Friday and set up a showdown with Emirates Team New Zealand.