Dean Barker: America's Cup 2013 was slipping away yesterday
Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker has admitted he felt the America's Cup slip away during Race 18 on Wednesday.
Oracle Team USA completed an amazing comeback this morning when they won Race 19 over Team NZ in San Francisco, to claim the 34th America's Cup series.
Speaking at a post-race new conference this morning, a clearly dejected Barker applauded the American challenge and the way they have fought back.
"We saw today just how dominant [Oracle] have become upwind and it's very difficult to accept, a tough pill to swallow," Barker said.
But, Barker said he is still "incredibly proud" of Team NZ's performance and what his squad have achieved.
However, manager Grant Dalton was cagey about the team's future involvement in the America's Cup saying he "hadn't given it any thought".
It has been suggested Dalton personally will not return for another challenge.
He says he is focussing on helping the other Team NZ members deal with this morning's crushing loss.
"My job now is to support the guys because they are pretty smashed, they are feeling it pretty bad," he said.
Meanwhile, Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill was upbeat and confident as ever, saying the win "feels pretty good".
However, he was gracious in victory, giving credit to his Kiwi rivals.
"First of all I would like to congratulate Emirates Team New Zealand - man they are a tough team," he said.
"They are a champion team."
Spithill also gave some insight into what Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said to him in a phone call following their disastrous pre-regatta capsize.
"[Larry called and said], 'You’re a champion, you've got a champion team. It's not the first bit of adversity you've faced and you will come back from this'. I'm in debt to him and that’s what drove me this whole time," Spithill said.
A proud Ellison fielded several questions about whether the next America's Cup would be raced in AC72 Catamarans, the Oracle CEO all too aware of the huge costs involved in launching a campaign.
"It's no secret that these boats are expensive and we'd like to have more countries competing next time, so we are going to have to find out a way to achieve both," Ellison said.
With the future of America's Cup racing to be decided in boardrooms and most likely court rooms, Spithill left the press conference in no doubt who he would like to be challengers next series.
"[Team NZ] aren’t losers, they are champions," he said.
"I can't wait to race Dean and his guys again."