Former Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker has opened up about his "mixed emotions" watching his former team's successful campaign at this year's America's Cup in Bermuda.
Barker, who led three campaigns with Emirates Team New Zealand in 2003, 2007 and 2013, wrote on Softbank Team Japan's website about his experience at this year's regatta on the Great Sound.
Team Japan, who Barker joined after leaving Team NZ, reached the Louis Vuitton Cup semi-finals and raced out to a 3-1 lead in a first-to-five series against Artemis before the Swedish crew stormed back with four straight wins to meet New Zealand in the final.
Barker said he had no regrets about leaving Team New Zealand but admitted it was on odd feeling watching them reclaim the Auld Mug without him.
"Reflecting back on the racing, particularly the racing between Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA, I cannot help but be impressed with the domination that ETNZ showed," he said.
They were truly a class above the rest, he said, and the radically different design and innovation that the team had taken ended up far superior to the solutions the other teams had found.
"Having been a part of Team New Zealand for a large part of my career, it is with mixed emotions that I watch the team take the America's Cup back to New Zealand.
"It will be amazing to have the Americas Cup back on New Zealand waters, and it will be a great boost to the New Zealand marine industry as a whole. Though it is tough to not be a part of the successful campaign, I still have many friends on the team whom I am proud to see win the prize they've fought so hard for - my sincere congratulations on a job well done," Barker wrote.
Barker said he and Team Japan are waiting on the new protocols to be implemented for the next America's Cup but was keen to compete regardless.