Former America's Cup Helmsman David Barnes Dies At 62

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand: Former New Zealand Americas Cup skipper and three-time sailing world champion David Barnes has died. He was 62.

Barnes death was confirmed by Hamish Wilcox, with whom he won three world championships in the 470 class during the 1980s.

Yachting New Zealand on Friday said the sailing community lost a revolutionary figure this morning.”

The talented helmsman was involved in six Americas Cup campaigns between 1985 and 2003 three for New Zealand and others for Australian, British and American teams. He famously skippered New Zealands big-boat Cup challenger in San Diego in 1988.

New Zealand sought to surprise then Cup-holder the New York Yacht Club with a challenge in an 80-foot monohull which harked back to the majestic J-class yachts of the Cups golden age. But the Americans defended the Cup in a high-tech monohull, skippered by Dennis Connor, and won the race easily.

Barnes was also the alternative helmsman of New Zealands 1987 Americas Cup challenger KZ7 known as the plastic fantastic the first yacht in the Cups then favored 12-meter class to be built in fiberglass.

Barnes and Wilcox won the 470 world championships in 1981, 1983 and 1984, becoming the first New Zealanders to win a world championship in an Olympic class.

His career was shortened by issues related to multiple sclerosis.


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