Tag Archive | "Dean Barker"

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Dean Barker flies in to join 52 SUPER SERIES

Posted on 04 March 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: 52 Super Series] Barker, who steered Emirates Team New Zealand to TP52 circuit overall wins in 2009 and 2010, is reported to be relishing the opportunity to deputise at this 2014 52 US SUPER SERIES second event for Interlodge’s owner-helm Austin Fragomen who sustained a skiing injury two days ago. The boat which was runner up in Key West in 2013 finished with a flourish there last month, narrowly missing out on a podium finish at Quantum Key West in January.

Interlodge’s tactician Andy Horton explained:
“ To Austin’s credit there was never any talk of not doing the regatta. He wants to support the class and all the guys had put in all the work and so he said ‘let’s see how good the boat is, let’s get someone good. The boat captain Kris started calling around and Dean was really keen and said he could be on a flight and be here in the morning and so that is cool.”

Barker’s imminent arrival and the recruitment of Kenny Read as tactician on Hooligan, the winning potential of Vesper which is well optimised, were the hot topics on the dock at 52 SUPER SERIES’ Miami Beach Marina as the 52 teams put in their final preparations and training before Tuesday’s practice race. America’s Cup winner Ed Baird resumes helming duties on Quantum Racing and Azzurra’s ebullient tactician Vasco Vascotto has just underlined his form by winning the Melges 32 Miami regatta on the same waters this past week.

Terry Hutchinson, tactician on 52 SUPER SERIES champions Quantum Racing, winners in Key West in January summarises:
“ There is good step up in the fleet with Vesper here and with Kenny Read on Hooligan and Dean coming in and sailing on Interlodge, I suspect it will be different. In Key West we had Doug (DeVos) steering the boat and that was awesome for us all, but he had not been on the boat for 11 months and there were challenges there, and so I am still scratching my head a little how we did it. Did we do it with smoke and mirrors? But in some ways Key West was just a great representation of our team. It was great Ed to have slide into his role as strategist and Doug in his role and still achieved a great result. Here we are back into our Mediterranean set up. We have some great teams here to race against and that will be great challenge.”

Quantum Racing had the edge at the first regatta of the season in January, but most consider this event might be more open. Chris Larson, who sailed three seasons on the circuit, was watching the warm up racing today:
“I think we might see a ‘sleeper’ winning here. Azzurra are very well prepared and are really in a good place, out to win. Vesper have the potential and with Dean on Interlodge they can do well.”

Azzurra’s Vascotto and strategist Francesco Bruni raced this past week on this South Beach race course on different Melges 32s. Bruni declares his admiration for Vascotto’s regatta winning calls:
“ Vasco has just sailed a great regatta here, very very good and so that gives us confidence too.”

The official practice race starts at 1300hrs local time (UTC MS 5 hrs) with the points scoring racing scheduled Wednesday to Sunday.

Quotes

Francesco Bruni (ITA) strategist Azzurra (ITA): “We thought that the boat was not as fast as it should have been in Key West and so we have made some changes, nothing radical, some easy things with the sails and rig, but we made some mistakes in the afterguard, some wrong choices which cost us many points. It is good that Vasco and I have sailed here with the Melges for four or five days with the Melges 32s and so we have, I think, a good idea about the race course. It was mainly light winds, up to 13kts. I think there will be a little more wind middle to end of the week. We will start the championship in light to medium airs. The baot can go well, we can sail well. We have no reason not to go out and get good results.
It is important to start the championship well, we need to start on the right foot. Vasco has just sailed a great regatta here, very very good and so that gives us confidence too.”

Nacho Postigo (ESP) navigator Hooligan (USA): “We have a new tactician with Kenny Read and Tony Rey on strategy, so we have had a little more time to prepare the boat and practice. Really at Key West the boat had just arrived and so hopefully now the little changes we have made will pay off and we will get a little bit better result.
For the owner it is still just his second regatta with the boat and with the tiller, and so it is still not easy to make good tack, by comparison with the rest of the fleet, in these wide boats. We are getting better. The rest of the fleet have everything perfect and so you just have to keep working away at tactics, boat handling, boat speed.
I am very curious to happen what will happen with Interlodge because with Dean Barker the boat will be flying when the breeze is up, it is a really quick boat but maybe not in the light stuff at the beginning of the regatta.”

Terry Hutchinson (USA) tactician Quantum Racing (USA): “There is good step up in the fleet with Vesper here and with Kenny Read on Hooligan here and Dean coming in and sailing on Interlodge, I suspect it will be different. In Key West we had Doug steering the boat and that was awesome for us all, but he had not steered the boat for 11 months and there were challenges there, and so I am still scratching my head a little how we did it, did we do it with smoke and mirrors but in some ways Key West was just a great representation of our team. It was great Ed slide into his role as strategist and Doug in his role and still achieved a great result. Here we are back into our Mediterranean set up. We have some great teams here to race against and that will be great challenge. It is a new evolution because of course we have lost Jordi calafat as strategist, for the year because of the weight change. I am nervous about the challenge ahead because the other teams are really, really good.
My biggest memory is that it is streaky, shifty, patient type of race course and you can’t be afraid of the corners, and I am always afraid of the corners because they are high risk, high reward.”

Andy Horton (USA) tactician Interlodge (USA): “Austin had a skiing accident and has a couple of bruised bones. It was really cool because there was never any talk of not doing the regatta. He wants to support the class and all the guys had put in all the work and so he said ‘let’s see how good the boat is, let’s get someone good. The boat captain Kris started calling around and Dean was really keen and said he could be on a flight and be here in the morning and so that is cool. It is great for all of us who have sailed the boat, and it will be good to see how good the boat really is and what the next step. Dean is a good guy and pretty nice with it. We will just have the practice race with him and then be into it, but he has done this a couple of times before and he is not too bad at it!”
“ We need to keep to doing what we are doing. We were not that quick in the light and so we need to reach parity at least there, we have a little more righting moment and so maybe sailing with a bit more heel when it is light, and making sure we keep it powered up should be better for us.”

Ross MacDonald (CAN) tactician Sled (USA): “We are in good shape. After Key West we were pretty happy. We have Jared Henderson here helping us out as coach. If we can improve our percentage here, getting across the starting line, up to a respectable level we can be in the mix. That is what we are looking for. That is down to consistency in our manoeuvres and communication from the bow all the way to back of the boat, so we are making it really simple for those who have to make the decisions.
For me personally here I will be happy here to just be mixing it up with the good teams. The more time we get to spend alongside them, holding our own, just makes us that much stronger. There will be a few frustrations when we will lose the battles but in the long term, winning the war, this will be our last chance to be up against the best boats who are heading back to Europe.”

52 SUPER SERIES 2014 Event Calendar:
Quantum Key West Race Week, Key West, Florida, January 20 – 24
52 US Championship, Miami, Florida, March 5 – 9
Rolex Capri Sailing Week, Capri, Italy, May 20 – 24
TP 52 World Championship, Porto Cervo, Italy, June 10 – 14
Copa del Rey, Palma, Spain, August 4 – 9
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain, September 17 – 21

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Photo gallery: Emirates Team New Zealand train in Singapore

Posted on 19 February 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Team photographer Chris Cameron captures Wednesday’s light-air action as the Kiwi team trains on the eve of the opening event of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series:

Emirates Team New Zealand train on the eve of the opening event of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series. Singapore, 19 February 2014. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

Emirates Team New Zealand train on the eve of the opening event of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series. Singapore, 19 February 2014. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

Emirates Team New Zealand train on the eve of the opening event of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series. Singapore, 19 February 2014. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

Emirates Team New Zealand train on the eve of the opening event of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series. Singapore, 19 February 2014. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

Emirates Team New Zealand train on the eve of the opening event of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series. Singapore, 19 February 2014. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

Emirates Team New Zealand train on the eve of the opening event of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series. Singapore, 19 February 2014. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

Emirates Team New Zealand train on the eve of the opening event of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series. Singapore, 19 February 2014. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

Emirates Team New Zealand train on the eve of the opening event of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series. Singapore, 19 February 2014. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

Emirates Team New Zealand train on the eve of the opening event of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series. Singapore, 19 February 2014. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

Emirates Team New Zealand train on the eve of the opening event of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series. Singapore, 19 February 2014. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

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Emirates Team New Zealand: Back to the Extreme Sailing Series

Posted on 21 January 2014 by Valencia Sailing

ETNZ: Back to the Extreme Sailing Series

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Emirates Team New Zealand return to the Extreme Sailing Series

Posted on 21 January 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] Emirates Team New Zealand have today been confirmed as the tenth team on the Extreme Sailing Series™ starting blocks for 2014, with legendary America’s Cup skipper Dean Barker. With a further Series team announcement in the coming weeks, a full grid of 11 teams will embark on the eight stop global tour, which starts in Singapore in just over four weeks, with the first starting gun on the 20th February.

London 2012 silver medal winning 49er duo Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, who last week were announced as part of the Kiwi development squad for the 35th America’s Cup, will join Barker. While the pair are currently campaigning for the Rio 2016 Olympics, Barker and Burling will share skipper duties, as Barker explained: “I will skipper five. We will rotate sailing squad members through the other crew positions. Between the two of us we will be able to field competitive crews through the year.”

Barker will be at the helm at the first two Acts, to be staged in Singapore and Muscat, Oman, in March. Burling will then take over for the following two in Qingdao, China in May and a brand new stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia in June. The remaining Acts will be confirmed throughout the year.

Emirates Team New Zealand are back in the Extreme Sailing Series. Photo copyright Lloyd Images

Emirates Team New Zealand last competed in the Series in 2011, and after an unforgiving introduction to the world of elite level multihull racing, the team soon got to grips with the high-performance catamaran, as Barker recalls their first Act. “It was at Almeria, Spain, and we were last. Extreme 40 racing is unlike any other; the teams are very competitive, races are short, the action non-stop and split-second decisions are needed.”

Burling and Tuke sailed in three Extreme 40 regattas last year with Team Korea, quickly getting to grips with the Stadium Racing formats before going on to win the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in September. The final crew members are still to be confirmed.

Commenting on the number of teams on the starting grid in 2014, Mark Turner, Executive Chairman of organisers OC Sport said: “We don’t have a need or even want to grow the fleet massively – eight boats is our optimum to deliver top level stadium racing. We want the best sailors – we need to maintain that. Our model is commercial model and we attract commercial brands. It has been a conscious decision to take additional teams in 2014 as the next Cup cycle gets going again, and in 2015, it certainly wont be a failure to have eight boats again.”

Singapore will host the curtain-raiser to the 2014 Series, where the fleet will race on the ultimate city-centre Stadium on Marina Bay. The question everyone wants to know, is will the experience of an existing team or a new team win through?

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CNN Mainsail: What does it take to win the America’s Cup?

Posted on 18 January 2014 by Valencia Sailing

After failing to capitalize on an 8-1 lead in 2013, Team New Zealand are attempting to find the missing ingredient.

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CNN Mainsail: Can Team New Zealand return stronger in 2014?

Posted on 17 January 2014 by Valencia Sailing

After coming tantalizingly close in 2013, can Team New Zealand recover from their dramatic loss in 2014. Shirley Robertson reports from Auckland on what lies ahead for the Kiwis in the America’s Cup

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CNN Mainsail: Australia return to the America’s Cup

Posted on 17 January 2014 by Valencia Sailing

In 1983, Australia II broke the American stranglehold on the America’s Cup. Can they recreate that magic over 30 years later? Shirley Robertson reports from Sydney on the 35th America’s Cup Challenger of Record

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34th America’s Cup – A look back

Posted on 07 October 2013 by Valencia Sailing

Two weeks after the end of what was, admittedly, an extremely exciting and spectacular America’s Cup match we look back and assess the last three and a half years and try to guess what the future has in store. Does our opinion really matter though? Everybody seems to have one and I don’t know whether it will be taken into account by anyone in charge of running the edition that has just started. Nevertheless, here’s what we think was extraordinarily good, mediocre and bad in the 34th America’s Cup. Hopefully, we will not see another self-proclaimed guru or genius that will try to reinvent the wheel but instead, the lessons learned will be used as a stepping stone to an even better race.

The AC72′s are truly spectacular boats that provide close and exciting racing
I guess it is called the pain of being wrong. I was one of the many that argued since 2010 that a match race on AC72′s would be one of the most boring and least interesting sailing races ever. The month of September 2013 proved the exact opposite, as long as the two teams and boats are equally matched. Not only were the two AC72′s boats going at 40 knots of speed, there were lead changes, crossings, plenty of close action and, guess what, sailing skills and tactics did play an important role. These boats are out of reach to all but a few, just four to be exact, but the America’s Cup being the pinnacle event of the sport of sailing, it should push the technological boundaries. If there are four billionaires that want to take the risk and advance let them do it.

Even though no “mortal” sailor will ever step on any of these boats, they are indeed a huge step forward. I can’t see a way back and it is almost certain that a smaller, simpler version of them will be used next time. Having said that, the much-promised disappearance of the postponement flag proved to be pipe dream. The upper wind limits, imposed by safety regulations, and the lower wind limits, indirectly imposed by the ridiculously short race limit of 40 minutes, meant that the AC72′s could actually hold a valid race within the very narrow range of 10 to 20 knots. So much for the famous “3 to 33 knots” promised by Russell Coutts.

Hopefully, the next iteration of these boats will be able to race in more than 20 knots and someone will take a calculator, do some simple math and figure out what a sensible time limit should be in order to have a race in less than 10 knots.

TV coverage of the America’s Cup took a quantum leap into the 21st century
If a Sports TV production Oscar existed it should undoubtedly be awarded to Stan Honey and the America’s Cup TV production crew. Their work has been stunning and the progress achieved in making sailing understandable is unquestionable, thanks to the marvels of LiveLine. It started with the boundary, start, finish and 100-meter lines two years ago and in San Francisco it reached perfection with the tide and dirty air graphics. When once or twice the helicopters couldn’t take off due to the weather and we were deprived from Honey’s graphics I was wondering how we were able to watch sailing on TV before that.

The advances in technology from now to 2017 will certainly make it easier and cheaper to achieve the same results, even if the costs were staggering for any event not backed by a billionaire. However, there are some aspects of that technology that can be easily integrated in most sailing events at a much lower cost. The 2-centimeter accuracy of the onboard GPS by itself is an enormous advance and could give umpires a nearly-faultless tool even in simpler match races.

San Francisco is an excellent venue to hold the America’s Cup
With a couple of exceptions San Francisco provided superb wind and weather conditions and the handful of occasions where racing was cancelled or postponed were due to the artificial limits. We will not repeat what we stated above but it is indeed incomprehensible for a non-sailor to see a race cancelled while the boats were sailing at 15 knots… San Francisco also provides for a stunning backdrop and if one’s aim is to have sailing as close as possible to the shore of a major metropolis, there aren’t many places in the world that could compete.

Is foiling the way of the future? Loïck Peyron foiling on his Moth. Alameda, February 2013. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Artemis Racing

Does Larry Ellison really want an America’s Cup with many challengers?
Despite Larry Ellison’s own statements as back as February 2010 and Russell Coutts’ frequent claims, the 34th America’s Cup wasn’t conceived and implemented in order to attract a great number of competing teams. We will not go once again into the details of the high costs, enormous complexity and mind-boggling logistical needs of the AC72 boats, these aspects have been exhaustively covered by this and many other sailing and mainstream media. If Ellison truly wanted to have 12 challengers and 3 defenders, he could have easily done it in the three and a half years since his victory in Valencia in February 2010. The end result was that only three challengers were able to afford the necessary costs to mount a credible challenge and one of them, Artemis Racing, had no interest whatsoever in the commercial and media return of the event since they were entirely privately funded.

Having just two challengers with serious commercial interests makes it much easier for any defender, in general, and Larry Ellison in particular. His only goal was and is to retain the America’s Cup, not to organize a challenger selection series with 12 teams, avoiding a great deal of headaches that come with that. The less, the merrier. We can’t see why it will be different this time.

The question is of course whether it really matters if there are 2 or 12 challengers. The America’s Cup was never meant to be a “big” TP52 circuit. Each one has its own place in the sport of sailing and the America’s Cup isn’t meant to be for everybody, even if they can afford it! Take for example Niklas Zennström, the founder of Skype. He’s an avid sailor, his fortune could eventually allow him to fund a Cup campaign and he spends a lot of money in his TP52 and Mini-Maxi 72 campaigns, nearly 7 million euros per year! Yet he’s not interested in the America’s Cup because he wants to helm his boat, not write checks and watch her from the dock. Other, equally wealthy businessmen, prefer to race in the RC44 class.

Bob and Sandy Oatley, the father and son billionaires from Australia and Challenger of Record, stated a couple of days ago they would like to see a significant reduction in costs so that more teams can enter but then again it’s up to Larry Ellison to decide the future. Vincenzo Onorato, Challenger of Record for the 34th America’s Cup, agreed with Ellison’s protocol because he thought Ellison would also fund his campaign. When he saw that he wouldn’t get a single euro from the American billionaire he withdrew since he was unable to find the necessary funding for Mascalzone Latino. This shows that the Challenger of Record doesn’t have a say in shaping the event and Larry Ellison doesn’t seem to bother if the challenger he chose withdraws…

However, one thing that Larry Ellison’s organization should refrain from doing again this time is to embark on a PR campaign preaching their desire to have “multiple” challengers while at the same time doing everything possible in order not to have more than a handful.

Thanks to their nearly-unlimited budget Oracle Team USA managed to successufly overcome such an important hurdle as the capsize of their first boat. San Francisco, 16 October 2012. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

If you are rich you will not necessarily win the America’s Cup, if you aren’t you never will
I think the 34th America’s Cup was a clear proof of the statement since we had both cases. Artemis Racing, said to have a budget of nearly 100 million euros, started well in advance and didn’t spare any effort. They hired some of the world’s best sailors, one of the world’s most accomplished yacht designers, they had enviable human and financial resources and yet they tragically failed in their attempt to win the Cup.

On the other hand Emirates Team New Zealand is, in my opinion, the demonstration that no matter how smart you are, and they proved they were when they foiled with their AC72, now matter how good you are, you will be outgunned by someone as smart as you but much richer. Our “resident expert” was claiming already in July that Dean Barker wouldn’t lift the Cup in San Francisco, not because he isn’t a talented sailor but because Oracle Team has more money.

Emirates Team New Zealand didn’t have the necessary funds to run a proper two-boat campaign and engage in serious in-house two-boat testing and training. As a result, they had to show their cards much earlier than they would have optimally done. A team that has to cannibalize the winches from the first boat and reuse them in the second one, cannot win the America’s Cup. With the AC72′s they were always one capsize away from tragically ending their campaign and they had to taste the heart-breaking feeling of nearly being there when Aotearoa was one degree from flipping over. They were no match for Luna Rossa and Artemis Racing but that wasn’t enough to take the Cup from Larry Ellison.

We will probably never know the truth behind Oracle Team USA’s miraculous comeback from the abyss. We will probably never know what happened inside their immense shed on Pier 80 when in 48 hours they turned the tables. Did they really install “Little Herbie”, the alleged Stability Augmentation Systems (SAS) from Boeing? Did they modify the boat to the extent it is rumored? Did Ben Ainslie turned the team upside down? We will never know. However, one thing is for sure, it wouldn’t have been possible without Larry Ellison’s millions. Neither the recovery from the initial capsize in October of 2012 would have been possible if Oracle Team didn’t have access to an unlimited budget.

Larry Ellison could afford to have two-three complete teams with two of the world’s best helmsmen, Ben Ainslie and Jimmy Spithill, and had an army of designers and boat builders. Grant Dalton couldn’t afford to do that because he didn’t have enough money. He’s not to blame of course, he could have done much more with an additional 50 million dollars…

Sailing will always be a tough sport to sell
We truly hope that whoever gets to run the 35th America’s Cup, realizes that it will be impossible to sell sailing as easily as soccer, football or the Formula 1. We might not like that fact but we have to live with it. The next CEO of America’s Cup Event Authority, or whatever it might be called, should learn from the hard lessons from 2010 to 2013.

Cities can no longer afford and will never pay hosting city fees of 5 million euros for a one-week America’s Cup World Series event. The times of exorbitant fees are long gone by and will not return, at least in the near future. In addition, if a city signs to hold a regatta, they will never want it to be a one-off event. They need continuity so that they can sell and market that event themselves. Nearly a month ago, Harvey Schiller, vice chairman of America’s Cup 2013 advisory board, made a presentation in New York (see video above) where he outlined Larry Ellison’s idea to create a World League of Racing. This is a beautiful idea and vision but I am curious to see how they will make it more successful than the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS). Despite the ACWS being successful sports-wise, they failed to help participating teams attract any sponsorship to go ahead, with the exception of the four ones that already had secured funding. We will be watching that development with close interest.

The fact that ACEA failed to sign up any big-name sponsor is also telling. This was also evident in the fact that none of the teams, with the exception of Emirates Team New Zealand, couldn’t have existed without a billionaire backing them. Sailing is an extremely tough sport to sell. Take one of the world’s most successful corporate groups, Samsung. The Korean electronics giant earned, approximately, US$100 million per DAY in the most recent financial quarter. It could easily afford to fund 10 America’s Cup teams as well as the entire event. However, it doesn’t. Why? If I knew the answer I wouldn’t be writing this website, I would be in Seoul, selling that sponsorship for a commission. However, it is an undeniable fact that without Larry Ellison’t money, much of what we have seen from 2010 until last month wouldn’t have existed. It isn’t criticism, it’s a fact.

The same erroneous attitude also had a negative impact on TV rights and the most striking example was Italy. France’s Canal+ paid 1 million euros for the live broadcast rights for the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America’s Cup. According to Italian sources familiar with the issue, ACEA was willing to give RAI the same rights in Italy, at the same price. Following the, undeniably, hugely successful ACWS event in April 2013 in Naples, Luna Rossa was riding a wave of popularity, Italians liked the event and were starting to get a keen interest in the new America’s Cup and as a result the state-owned Italian TV was eager to sign. Seeing that interest, ACEA, according to the same sources, started to act arrogantly, let negotiations drag and at some point doubled the asking price to 2 million euros. RAI didn’t accept and thus the 34th America’s Cup wasn’t broadcast in Italy, one of the just three countries to have a challenger…

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