American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson has leapt to the defence of Dean Barker, saying yesterday’s capsize wasn’t the Kiwi helmsman’s fault.
American Magic had to rescue their AC75 from sinking in the Waitematā Harbour yesterday after a risky manoeuvre heading into the final league of their Prada Cup race against Luna Rossa went disastrously wrong.
Patriot went airborne and slammed into the water at high speed as Barker attempted to shift the boat from upwind to downwind, resulting in a large hole in the hull and the boat sinking on its side.
Hutchinson told media today American Magic will miss the remainder of the Prada Cup round robins to fix the boat in time for the semi-finals but he doesn’t blame Barker for yesterday’s incident.
“We win as a team, we lose as a team and Dean’s a critical part of that,” Hutchinson said.
“I’ve encouraged him since we’ve started this programme to be Dean Barker, don’t be anything different – we want the person that has all the intensity that he has but also a certain level of demeanour about him which makes him the perfect person to sail this boat.”
Hutchinson said he’d continue to give Barker the same advice he’s offered since the Kiwi joined them for their America’s Cup campaign.
“I always encourage him don’t take your foot off the pedal because that, inevitably, will be what bites us.
“I have the upmost confidence and we as a team have the upmost confidence in him and his abilities.
“There’s nobody else we’d have at the wheel.”