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30 April 2004, 09:31 am
30-knot Plus Breeze Cancels Racing - Interview With Dean BARKER (NZL)
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Semaine Olympique Française
Hyères

Gale force winds and huge seas forced the sailors to remain ashore yesterday at the ISAF grade 1 Olympic classes event that is also the final Olympic Qualification Regatta for the Europe fleet.
After a postponement for all classes, racing was definitely cancelled for the day in Hyères.

Luckily, Wednesday's perfect conditions allowed the six racing committees to get ahead of schedule in most classes. The weather has calmed down for the last day of the regatta, despite some storm warning scheduled in the afternoon and racing is due to start on time.

Barker: From Americas Cup to Olympic campaign

Dean Barker has participated in two America's Cup and undertaken an Olympic campaign. He experienced both glory and defeat but at 31 Dean is humble and ready to learn more from sailors around him. The newly wed is now engaged in an Olympic campaign in the Finn class and prepares another America's Cup under the Black colours. In Hyères he confides about his new goals in the Olympic arena.

Dean, you haven't sailed the Finn since 1996, why are you coming back to it now?

"I have never been to the Olympics, and I decided to take time between the America's Cup campaigns to try to qualify for the Olympic in the Finn. It is a very condensed campaign. I started to train in November and did my first regatta in Rio last February. After the America's Cup, it is very refreshing to sail single-handed. In the Finn I can take all the decisions regarding all the aspect of the sailing, tactic, equipment, logistic…after sailing for so long in the AC, where everything is organized, programmed, you take everything for granted. The good thing about small boat is that you can see the results of any small change quickly and can progress faster. This is not the case in the AC. The other good thing about sailing the Finn now is that I learn again to feel the boat. I rediscover the sensations, the feeling of stirring a small boat. That's something I lost in bigger boats. It is a humble feeling to be sailing in a fleet situation with so many talented sailors, the likes of Ben AINSLIE, Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ, Sebastien GODEFROID, Rafael TRUJILLO… I feel that with them I can learn more every day."

Was it hard to sail the Finn again?

"Hard on my legs! I surely had to be more physically fit. Mentally it is not so hard and I can give 200 % because it is a very small campaign. On a material point of view, the Finn is easier now that the equipment has been standardized so much. I just bought a standard rig and learned to use it and to adapt it. All the boats are the same so this is no problem. It was different when I started the Finn in 1994. Then, the Finn was in transition between the aluminum and carbon mast, Dacron sails and Kevlar, there was lot of development and experiments, now the Finn is getting more "one design" and it makes it easier."
Event Media (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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