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Dean Barker out of isolation as American Magic become first America’s Cup challenger on NZ soil

American Magic helmsman and former Team NZ skipper Dean Barker ended his isolation period today as his team became the first of the challenger fleet on our shores.

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The team’s boat, Defiant, touched the water in Auckland for the first time this afternoon. Source: 1 NEWS

The team’s boat, Defiant, touched water here for the first time this afternoon.

“Great for our team to have the boat here and getting ready to set up our base,” Barker said.

Barker got his first glimpse of the American Magic base, but he's one of the few sailors on the ground with skipper Terry Hutchinson having to celebrate the news in Florida.

“It's funny because if you had said we would be the first team there I wouldn't have picked it,” Hutchinson said.

The next task is getting the base built and all going to plan. The boat will be out sailing next month.

“Our first target sailing date was the 20th of July and so we are looking at that week as our first sailing date but there's a couple of major challenges we need to get through,” Hutchinson said.

The main one is getting permission from MBIE for Hutchinson and his crew into the country.

1 NEWS understands only about 20 of the team have been let in so far. With a bit of luck, the remaining 100 won't be far away.

The Americans have already offered to pay their own quarantine costs and are now willing to pay for security at their hotel.

“Applying pressure doesn’t work in this situation, you know. There is no handbook for what we're dealing with here,” Hutchinson said.