Emirates Team New Zealand’s hopes of closing out the 34th America’s Cup on Thursday were foiled by Oracle Team USA after Jimmy Spithill’s crew won the only race on Day 9 of sailing's most prestigious series.
The wait for Dean Barker’s men has been prolonged for at least another 24 hours, with the Kiwis still an agonising one win short of claiming their third America’s Cup trophy after Thursday’s shortened race session in San Francisco Bay.
Winds once again exceeded the 20-knot limit, meaning the two teams will haul their AC72s back into the water on Friday afternoon.
Ben Ainslie and Tom Slingsby sailed a nice race - they had tough decisions to make
Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill
Defending skipper Spithill and his crew defeated challenger Emirates Team New Zealand by 31 seconds, aided by a six-second jump off the start line. Spithill did a great job in the prestart, gaining a leeward hook with 20 seconds to the start that forced Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Barker to tack away to avoid the risk of a foul.
“We were able to get a nice jump off the start line. From there, Ben [Ainslie, tactician] and Tom [Slingsby, strategist] sailed a nice race, they had tough decisions to make,” said Spithill. “The way we sailed the boat was the best we’ve sailed it. We made zero mistakes and it was a very satisfying race for the guys on the boat.”
Emirates Team New Zealand lead the series 8-2 and need just one more point to win the series. The defender, Oracle Team USA, needs to win seven consecutive races if they're to retain the trophy they won in 2010.
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