Team New Zealand's newest co-helmsman Peter Burling says he hopes dumped skipper Dean Barker will stick with Team New Zealand.
In an exclusive interview with the Weekend Herald last night, the young sailor said Barker had a crucial knowledge that was beneficial for the national yachting team.
"Dean's made a massive contribution to the team over the last few years and hopefully he's still on board with us - he's got a wealth of knowledge," the 24-year-old said.
However, he said when he'd signed up for Team New Zealand a year ago, he knew there was a possibility that he would be steering the boat.
The Olympic 49er class silver medallist said being named as one of the helmsmen was an honour.
"It's one of those things that's a bit of a childhood dream."
On Thursday, Emirates Team New Zealand confirmed Barker would not be at the wheel of the black boat for the next America's Cup campaign in 2017, but he had been offered a role as the team's performance manager and sailing coach, with a place on the executive committee.
Yesterday Barker said he was not interested in the position, and no longer considered himself part of the team.
"No, right now I'm no longer part of Team New Zealand. Through the actions of the team they've effectively terminated my contract."
In 2000, Team New Zealand skipper Russell Coutts allowed 29-year-old Barker to helm Team New Zealand's boat NZL60 to victory in the last race on the Hauraki Gulf, when Burling was only 9 years old.
Since then, 42-year-old Barker had been at the helm for the past three campaigns.
Speaking on Newstalk ZB yesterday he said being axed as skipper was not because of a clash with Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton, though the pair were not friends. "We're not mates, we've never been mates. We've worked together."
Burling hoped Barker would change his mind, and remain with the team.
Yachting's new superstar grew up in Tauranga, and became interested in sailing after being dragged along to events with his father and brother.
"I really fell in love with the sport. I kept pushing from there and found I wasn't too bad at it."
Now living in Auckland with his brother, Burling said in his new position, money would be less of a worry and he was looking forward to getting into the job.
"It's all cracking off a fair bit more come next week and it's going to be really cool to get more involved."
He still intends to go for gold at the 2016 Olympic Games.