Once again, Grant Dalton wants it both ways

Team New Zealand manager Grant Dalton says comments Dean Barker made on Campbell Live last night are “regrettable”, but he’s not shutting the door on the syndicate’s former skipper.

Dalton not only disputes Barker’s claim he found he had been dumped through the media, but denies he was dumped at all.

“The emotive word that came out in the press was the word ‘dumped’,” Dalton said on Firstline this morning.

“Dean Barker, in no shape or form, has been dumped. Dean Barker is a valuable member of Emirates Team New Zealand who has been offered a new role which we see, and identified from the review ? of which he was part of ? a key role with this organisation going forward. It’s his decision now whether he takes that or not.”

That role is one off the water as Performance Manager and Sailing Coach ? the problem is, Barker doesn’t want it.

Of course he’s been dumped. ? If this was politics, you’d say that David Cunliffe went from party leader, but now he’s not, and he’s got some sort of role. ?He’s dumped. ? ?Let’s not play silly buggers. ?

“I’m a sailor, I love competing, I love racing, but this performance coaching role ? it’s not a sailing role,” Barker said yesterday. “It’s a data role, it’s an analysis role. It’s not why I signed up to be a part of Team New Zealand. If that was the role that was on offer at the start of last year, I wouldn’t have rejoined the team.”

Dalton says the new role was developed during the review that followed Team NZ’s 9-8 loss to Oracle at last year’s America’s Cup. Barker was a part of that review.

“He was part of the whole process, right to the point that we get to now, that we’re still waiting for a final answer whether he’s with us or not, ’cause we hope he is. And he identified too, or the team particularly with him identified this need to look at this new role, to try and identify why we could lose the cup from 8-1, and what Oracle did better than us.

And here is the cynical part: ?Dalton doesn’t want Barker. ?There is bad blood. ?But to prevent all that knowledge and skill going to a competing syndicate, he’s now holding out some half-baked job so Barker’s knowledge is kept within Team New Zealand.

Insiders tell me that Dalton is the problem, but he’s also at the center of the money tree. ?And he who makes the money calls the tune. ?Without Dalton, there is no Team New Zealand, because most of the sponsorship relationships, including the one with Santa-Sack-Steve Joyce are with him.

How much of an America’s Cup?team is the driver, and how much is the rest of the crew? ? One thing is for sure. ?This whole Barker debacle is at best completely mishandled, and at worst exactly the result that Dalton is gunning for.


– Dan Satherly, 3 News