Former skipper Dean Barker has revealed he had 'mixed emotions' when watching Team New Zealand win the America's Cup last week.
Barker led the Emirates Team New Zealand campaigns in 2003, 2007 and 2013 before leaving the syndicate to join SoftBank Team Japan for the recent America's Cup in Bermuda.
Team Japan reached the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals before giving up a 3-1 lead to lose to Swedish crew Artemis. Team New Zealand defeated Artemis in the Louis Vuitton Cup finals before claiming the America's Cup from Oracle Team USA, winning the final regatta 7-1.
Barker was skipper of Team New Zealand at the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco in 2013 when the team gave up an 8-1 lead over Oracle Team USA.
Writing on the Softbank Team Japan website, Barker said he has no regrets about leaving Team New Zealand and says it will be amazing to have the event back in New Zealand.
"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. They were truly a class above the rest, 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.
"The past two years establishing and leading SoftBank Team Japan have been some of the most rewarding of my career and an immense feeling of pride overshadows the results. Having had the opportunity to put together a new team from scratch, to learn the challenges faced with running a team, and to understand how to balance the sailing duties with the management of a team has been an extremely rewarding process. I have no regrets."
Barker said Softbank Team Japan will wait on the plans for the next America's Cup to be announced before they decide to make another challenge for the Auld Mug.
"It will be very interesting to see how the new protocol is shaped by it's new trustees and I very much hope that we will get the opportunity to build on the foundation that we created here in Bermuda in whatever form that may be."