Team NZ “have all the ingredients” but challengers are quickly showing benefit of racing to complement development of “phenomenal” AC75s.

Dean Barker reckons picking a winner of the Americas Cup is a complete stab in the dark right now.
Barkers American Magic arent in the equation any longer after being the first team eliminated from the regatta after losing their Prada Cup challengers semifinal 4-0 to Luna Rossa last weekend.
Barker says Emirates Team New Zealand have all the ingredients to win again but the challengers, with the benefit of racing and development, cant be discounted.
COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi
Dean Barker has been captivated by the new America’s Cup boats.
You have hunches how you think it could go, but it would be just a complete stab in the dark, Barker told NewstalkZB of picking a winner of the Auld Mug.
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Team New Zealand was clearly the strongest in the Christmas Cup across the wind race. And they are clearly very fast and have very good sailors . got all the ingredients. The difficult thing is whether they will be race-ready when they turn up in March.
Barker said the rapid development in the new class was incredible and left so many questions about the next few weeks, starting with the Prada Cup final between Luna Rossa and INEOS Team UK on February 13.
He felt American Magics capsize and subsequent two weeks off the water had shown how quickly a team could be left behind.
We felt we were on a good trajectory until we capsized the boat. Without question Luna Rossa have stepped up a lot since the day we raced them in that capsize, Barker said.
INEOS have proven everyone wrong the way they turned things around in the Christmas Cup.
Its incredible how much faster the boats are going over the space of a year or so. Obviously the gains get smaller the further you get into the process, but its incredible how much you can improve in a week or a couple of weeks and that will just continue all the way through.
Barker told NewstalkZB his initial feelings were getting a direct route to the Prada Cup final and having extra time to test and develop was better. But he now believed Luna Rossa had benefited more from being involved in racing as well as having some development time.
Team New Zealand’s Te Rehutai is in a crucial development phase ahead of the Americas Cup match in Auckland.
That was the challenge facing Team New Zealand who have to train alone until they start their defence on March 6.
Barker, whose frustrations were obvious with the technical issues that dogged American Magic and other teams at times, remains a real fan of the radical AC75s.
Without question the boats have well-overachieved in what anyone expected in terms of the racing the quality of the racing, the closeness of racing.
The boats are phenomenal and its only going to get better, its quite the spectacle.
Aucklander Barker reiterated he needed time to clear his head to decided about his future involvement in the Americas Cup.
COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi
American Magic helmsman Dean Barker gets a hug after their Prada Cup semifinal loss.
He won the America’s Cup with Team New Zealand in 2000 but lost it three years later. He lost America’s Cup finals to Alinghi (2007) and Oracle Team USA (2013) before taking his talents elsewhere after turning down a chance to be coach with Team New Zealand.
He was with Team Japan at Bermuda in 2017 and now the United States syndicate.
Barker hoped American Magics backers at the New York Yacht Club would continue, believing their storied history in the Cup added real value to the event.