Over the years Westlake Boys High School has produced 14 international and Olympic sailors and one of them is Dean Barker, Emirates Team New Zealand’s skipper who is preparing for the Louis Vuitton Cup in San Francisco this month.Dean attended Westlake Boys High School from 1986 to 1989 and was a member of the successful Westlake inter-secondary schools yachting teams of the time, winning the Most Outstanding Yachtsman trophy and earning his WBHS Colours for Yachting in 1988. After finishing school Dean gained a National Business Certificate at the then AIT which took him twice as long as the allowed time because of his yachting contests in various parts of the world.
Sailing Lasers, Dean placed first and second in the World Youth Championships and also won the Europa Cup for performances over five events throughout Europe. He first sailed with Team New Zealand in 1995 but opted for an Olympic campaign rather than travel to San Diego. In 1996 Dean trialed in the Finn Class for the Atlanta Olympics where he came equal 1st, and he admits that his non-selection was ‘low point’ in his career. In 1997 he joined Team New Zealand and since has gone from strength to strength.
Dean visited Westlake in 2007 to share his yachting stories and accomplishments at the school’s assembly. He met up with former teachers and coaches and enjoyed morning tea with the 2007 yachting squad. In 2000 Dean was appointed skipper of the back-up boat for the America’s Cup. His marked ability was recognised by the confidence placed in him to skipper ‘Black Magic’ for the fifth and final race and he stayed with the team for 2003. As skipper for the 2007 challenge, he led the sailing team through the pre-regattas of 2005 and 2006, the victory in the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2007 which earned the team the right to face off against Alinghi for the America’s Cup, a match that has been hailed as the most thrilling for years.In 2010, his last year racing monohulls, Dean won three Louis Vuitton Trophy events and his second Audi MedCup championships. In 2011 he launched himself into multihull sailing to take Emirates Team New Zealand into the new America’s Cup era where the team finished the 2011-12 America’s Cup World Series championship in second place.Westlake Boys High School and Westlakers wishes Dean Barker and the rest of the Emirates Team New Zealand crew all the best for the task ahead in San Francisco.
Westlakers International and Olympic Yachtsmen: Graham Catley (1972), Rex Lamb (1973), Keith Dickson (1975), Chris Dickson MBE (1980), Grant Beck (1980), Hamish Wilcox (1982), John Cutler (1988), Simon Daubney (1991), Don Cowie (1992), Michael Bullot (2000), Alistair Gair (2001), Dean Barker (2003), Hamish Pepper (2003) and Thomas Ashley (2008).