A promising young Auckland dinghy sailor, Dean Barker first sailed with Team New Zealand in 1995, but opted for an Olympic Finn campaign rather than go to San Diego. Since then, Dean has had an extensive sailing career, including competing in the 36th America’s Cup in March 2021, where Dean was the helmsman of the American Magic challenge.
Dean has held the roles of both helmsman and skipper over various America’s Cup challenges. At 26 he was the youngest sailor ever to skipper an America's Cup yacht to victory - and he had never been involved with an America's Cup campaign previously.
In 2000, he was back with Team New Zealand taking the helm for the final race win, Dean made America's Cup history when he helmed NZL60 to victory in the final race of Team New Zealand's 5-0 'blackwash' over challenger Prada on Thursday 2 March 2000.
He was skipper of the team for 2003 and in the 2007 challenge he led the sailing team to victory in the Louis Vuitton Cup to face Alinghi for the America’s Cup, hailed as the most thrilling match for many years.
In 2010, his last year racing monohulls, Dean won three Louis Vuitton Trophy events and his second Audi MedCup championship. He then launched himself into the new America's Cup era of multihull sailing with much success.
In August 2013, Dean once again skippered Emirates Team New Zealand to victory in the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup. He set a Louis Vuitton/America's Cup speed record in race #7 of 47 knots (87 km/h; 54 mph).
In 2015, Dean was announced as CEO and skipper of the Japanese challenger, Softbank Team Japan.
Only four nations have held the America's Cup in 150 years and New Zealand is one of them. When the Kiwis won the prized trophy in San Diego in 1995 they became the first team from a country outside the United States to successfully win and then defend the America's Cup. Since then, New Zealand has continued to dominate not just this event but international yachting in general.
Passionate about his sport and his country, Dean says that Kiwis tend to excel at any sport that involves water - rowing, kayaking, kite surfing, paddle boarding, triathlon. "It's hard to grow up in New Zealand and not be attracted to the water, when you are never more than an hour's drive from the sea or a lake -geographically, New Zealand's position on the globe doesn’t help us to get international competition, but that only makes us hungrier when we get the opportunity to travel the world to compete".
Dean is a popular speaker, not only because of his high profile, but also because he speaks from the heart and gives an open, honest interpretation of his sailing career.
I have experienced it, and it’s not easy when you’re going into the America’s Cup cold. But I have tremendous respect for his ability. ... keep reading Russell Coutts
Dean easily adapted to the event. He was open to all sorts of questions which created a really interested quick fire session.