It’s 2013 – and that changes everything. Skipper Dean Barker talks about the change in atmosphere around the Emirates Team New Zealand base. “In 10 months it will be all over… we want to be racing right to the end.”
“Ten months and it will all be over – and we want to be racing right at the end.” Dean Barker talking this week about the 34th America’s Cup.
“Coming to work in 2013 changes the focus dramatically. It’s no longer next year. I can sense the change in atmosphere around the base.”
Racing at San Francisco starts on July 4 with the opening ceremony. Round Robin 1 in the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series starts on July 7.
Barker says. “We have two very strong challengers to come up against and beat – and that’s no small task.
“As we approach the business end of this campaign the anxiety levels increase because we’re looking at Artemis and what they’re doing and Oracle, we’re sure, will be out there again pretty soon.”
“We have been out watching and Luna Rossa. They have definitely stepped up their game in the time we have been getting Boat 2 ready. We see them sailing – and sailing in good breeze – knowing that we have to get Boat 2 up and running very quickly and get back into the racing.
Not that the sailing team has been wasting time. Apart from sailing the AC45, working with shore crew and contractors to commission Boat 2 and spending hours in the gym, Barker says, “We are spending a lot of time with the designers and we are at the stage of the campaign where we are zeroing in on final design decisions.
He said decisions being made now are no longer iterations or part of the learning process. “We are determining the success or failure of this campaign.
He said the team has to hit its dates. “We can’t afford any problems in design, engineering or build.
“We still have to get Boat 2 out sailing and hope we do not have any major issues – and as a sailing team don’t have a catastrophe.
“Taking time away from our sailing programme now would seriously hamper our ability to be successful come July.”