Not having won the America’s Cup since 2000, it’s a quest that Barker, now 45, still has to chase. “It’s been in my blood now for a long, long time. I still enjoy it with a huge passion,” he says.
“I love the thrill of the sailing and the racing, and all the elements that go with it. Developing a team, designing and building a boat, and all the challenges that you’re faced with. It’s not as simple as just putting a boat in the water and going sailing. It’s intriguing and enjoyable at the same time.”
When the 2017 Cup wrapped up in Bermuda, Barker and his wife Mandy moved with their four children to Park City, Utah. That’s a long way from the ocean.
“Before we knew what we would do next, we decided we weren’t in a mad panic to get home. We wanted to enjoy some family time before I got into the next project. So we decided to do a winter skiing, and it’s been awesome,” says Barker, whose own family never skied as he was growing up. “I was a late starter.”
At the end of next month, the Barkers will head to a more permanent base at Rhode Island, where American Magic will work from.
“It’s a pretty special place in a lot of ways. It has so much sailing history. To sail for the New York Yacht Club is a special thing, and I’m really thankful for the opportunity to be involved,” says Barker.
He also sees it as a kind of reunion. The guy next to Barker calling tactics, Annapolis-born skipper Hutchinson, was his right-hand-man in Team NZ’s 2007 Cup challenge in Valencia.
“Terry and I had a really strong relationship during the 2007 campaign, and obviously we’d gone our different ways since then. As he points out, we’ve probably yelled at each other more than raced with each other in recent years,” says Barker with a chuckle. “But working together again is really cool.
“We’ve obviously got a huge amount of work to do and I think our group has a very good starting point, but the benchmark is still going to be Team New Zealand – there’s definitely no time for sitting on your hands.”