Dean Barker - budding catamaran ace

Carlo Borlenghi /
The Emirates Team New Zealand skipper on his learning A-cats, the Extreme Sailing Series and his week on an AC45
Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker is back on the Extreme Sailing Series this week in Oman, having dipped his toe in at the final event of the season in Almeria last year. After two days of racing on relatively conventional windward-leewards here off The Wave, Muscat, the Kiwi Cup team is mid-fleet, a position they are unfamiliar with having won the past two Audi MedCup seasons, but a solid step in the right direction on from Almeria where they were decidedly 'finding their feet'. “We have probably done the least training of all the teams,” admitted Barker to us. “We started down in Auckland and we have been sailing the A-Class and then we got a chance to sail on the AC45, so we decided it was more valuable for us to do that, than spend the extra week here. So we are paying for that at the early part of this regatta. At times we are going well and at other times not so well, but it is good fun.” Barker points out that all three of his crew have changed since Almeria. Instead of Darren Bundock, the team have employed the services of Bundock’s Olympic Tornado medal winning crew, Glenn Ashby, the multiple A-Class catamaran World Champion, who also coached BMW Oracle Racing prior to their 33rd America’s Cup victory. On board with Barker, James Dagg is trimming while Jared Henderson was supposed to be here on the bow but sprained his ankle in training, so the equally able Richard Meacham has jumped into his slot. “So it is a completely new team and we are learning again,” continues Barker. “Every day feels better, but we are just missing the little bits and pieces here and there. For the good teams are as you’d expect, that is where they