Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Briton Sir Ben Ainslie and his Oracle Team USA are one win away from one of the great sporting comebacks as the America's Cup goes into a winner-takes-all final race on Wednesday.
Having been docked two points before the regatta began, Oracle were 8-1 down but on Tuesday sealed their sixth and seventh straight wins to level at 8-8.

The event goes to a decider for only the third time in its 162-year history.

"You have to approach it like every other race," said Ainslie.

The four-time Olympic champion, 36,, took over the key tactician role from veteran John Kostecki with the score 4-1, but Oracle Team USA has since won nine times in 13 races, which are being held in San Francisco.

Oracle have won 10 races in all but were penalised two points before the regatta began for illegal modifications to their smaller 45ft catamaran in the warm-up series.

The Briton added: "You really have to go out and go through the same preparations with the boat, the maintenance, in the morning meetings, and with the pre-start warm-up. And of course, like every other race, the guys will give it everything all the way to the finish."

Team Oracle USA captain Jimmy Spithill said: "I think we are the underdog and I'm going to keep running with that and use that energy.

"The exciting thing for me is seeing how this team has gelled together. Sometimes you need to face that barrel of the gun to come together. You can get wobbly in the knees or you can look into the barrel. Every day we've managed to step it up more."

Team New Zealand, who last won the America's Cup in 2000, have been within one race of victory in the first-to-nine competition since Wednesday, but have been thwarted by the defending champions' resurgence and a series of races postponed by unfavourable wind conditions.

They should have sealed Cup victory in race 13 on Friday, but uncharacteristic light winds meant the 40-minute time limit for a race elapsed with the team two minutes from glory.

"We do believe we can win, we've known we can win this thing for a long time," said Team New Zealand captain Dean Barker.

As defending champions, Team USA chose the venue for the America's Cup. Three teams competed in the Louis Vuitton Cup for the right to challenge them - Artemis Racing of Sweden, Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge of Italy. Team New Zealand defeated Luna Rossa in the best-of-13 final of that competition.


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