It may have been nine years in coming, but Dean Barker has finally got his revenge

Was it a case of time on the water, local knowledge or luck that allowed Dean Barker to beat Russell Coutts and his crew on their first head to head of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series? Certainly when it came to crew work, the Kiwi team were both quicker and slicker with their boat handling. Tactically they had the edge too, picking the right hand side of the first beat and capitalising on a beneficial lift off the shore at North Head. A lead that had extended to 200m by the finish.

Perhaps Coutts was simply a touch rusty, after all, the last time he helmed a Cup boat in a race was when he crossed the line in the Hauraki Gulf in 2003 to win the America’s Cup. A day that Barker won’t forget in a hurry, when Kiwi hopes of retaining the Cup were finally put to rest. Since then, Barker has rarely been off the helm, most recently steering Emirates Team New Zealand in the last America’s Cup and helming the TP52 Bribon in the Audi Medcup series. Perhaps hours on the water was what counted most.

The boats themselves have changed too since 2003 with various modifications and tweaks that Coutts acknowledged as making them, ‘much better that the boats we had in 2003.’

Whatever the reason, six years later Barker gained his revenge. And while this is not the America’s Cup, Barker’s victory will feel all the sweeter given the fact that he was steering a BMW Oracle boat. A double whammy for the American team.

The second race of the day provided another shake up, albeit to a lesser degree, when the fledgling Greek team with Gavin Brady at the helm, beat Shosholoza in convincing fashion. Good boat handling, good boat speed and most of all, confidence in their tactics won the day for the Greek Challenge.

Having said that, today’s result simply moved them back up to a current points total of zero after they were dealt -1 points yesterday following a collision.

“It’s good to move from -1 to zero,” said team head Sotiris Buseas. “The Greek Challenge is a grass roots team and this single victory is our first step towards the next America’s Cup.”

Meanwhile, ashore the crowds are starting to build for an event that feels remarkably like the real thing. Live TV and radio coverage, Virtual Eye animations, press conferences, bars, beers and merchandise stores, the best elements of Cup boat racing are alive and well.

Today’s results:

Emirates Team New Zealand beat BMW Oracle Racing
Damiani Italia Challenge beat China Team
Greek Challenge beat Team Shosholoza
Alinghi beat Luna Rossa



Virtual Eye & Commentary 

Live commentary 

Official LV Pacific Website 


Sky Sports TV – Round Robin 1

#2 31/1/09 1830 Sky Sports Xtra
*repeats stc 2400 Sky Sports Xtra
2700 Sky Sports Xtra
0600 Sky Sports Xtra

#3 1/2/09 1900 Sky Sports Xtra
*repeats stc 2200 Sky Sports Xtra
2500 Sky Sports Xtra
0930 Sky Sports 3

#4 2/2/09 1830 Sky Sports 2
*repeats stc 2130 Sky Sports 3
2330 Sky Sports Xtra
2900 Sky Sports Xtra
0900 Sky Sports 2

#5 3/2/09 1830 Sky Sports 2
*repeats stc 2130 Sky Sports 3
2330 Sky Sports Xtra
2600 Sky Sports 3
0900 Sky Sports 2

#6 4/2/09 1830 Sky Sports Xtra (NB RESERVE DAY)
*repeats stc 2130 Sky Sports Xtra
2330 Sky Sports Xtra
2600 Sky Sports 3
0900 Sky Sports 3

For Brit followers Team Origin’s race schedule for Round Robin 1 is:

Sunday 1st Feb:
Race 2 : start at 12.00 : TEAMORIGIN vs. Alinghi

Monday 2nd Feb:
Race 4 : start at 1400 : TEAMORIGIN vs. Shosholosa

Tuesday 3rd Feb:
Race 4: start at 1400 : TEAMORIGIN vs. Greek Challenge