There would have been a special kind of agony for Dean Barker yesterday as his latest America's Cup campaign came to nought.
It wasn't the worst day American Magic has had on the Hauraki Gulf. It didn't fall over. Twice they got to the finish line.
The only glitch in the matrix was the pesky fact they got there much slower than the other racing craft.
Jimmy Spithill, Luna Rossa kingpin, had Barker in his pocket all day and the jagged edge of that truth is that he did it on Course A, under the windows of the Murrays Bay Sailing Club, the place where Barker emerged as a kid with uncommon talent, putting his face to the wind in that classic Kiwi pathway from optimist to P Class.
This is a strip of water he knows better than anybody, an understanding that no doubt persuaded the New York Yacht Club to put their challenge in his hands.
It has been an expensive disaster, defined by the events of January 17 but mercilessly dragged out for two more weeks of futile graft.
Yesterday they looked better in race three but an unusually glum race synopsis from skipper Terry Hutchinson, where he conceded there was nothing they could do if Spithill got his timing right – something he usually does – indicated they had no bullets left in the gun.
He was right.
The final match was a race in name only.
The start was strangely passive; the rest was a bit of sailing in between a series of minor calamities.
So it's over for American Magic and it's possibly over for Barker. Post-mortems will apportion blame, but it'd be a fool's game to try to do it without intimate knowledge of the boat and the team's inner workings.
Like most carcasses, it won't be long before all the meat is stripped off American Magic's bones.
But we can say that Barker has had a lot of chances to win this damn thing but has tasted victory just once, 20 years ago when as B-boat skipper he was handed the keys by Russell Coutts for the final race.
Since then he has been hamstrung by a horrible boat in 2003, had a chance in 2007 and then came the agony of 2013.
Team New Zealand went in a different direction on board and Barker, having declined a shore position, tried his luck with Japan and now American Magic.
Does he have another trick up his sleeve? At 47, it feels like the sport has moved past him, but Ben Ainslie is deep into his 40s and he's still sailing these absurdly quick boats.
It'll be Ainslie versus Spithill in the Prada Cup final.
Those two tore the heart out of Team New Zealand's chest close to eight years ago. Their presence in the final off the East Coast Bays of Auckland will be just a little more salt in Barker's wounds.
Heading into the Cup racing?
• Give yourself plenty of time and think about catching a ferry, train or bus to watch the Cup.
• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It's the best way to ride.
• Don't forget to scan QR codes with the NZ COVID Tracer app when on public transport and entering the America's Cup Village.
• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup.