ORACLE Team USA have landed the final knockout blow on Team New Zealand, taking out today's winner-takes-all race for the America's Cup to complete their stunning comeback in a thrilling finish to a dramatic regatta.
Oracle's Cup defence looked all but over just a week ago, with Team NZ leading the first-to-nine series 8-1. But a remarkable turnaround saw the Oracle team string together seven straight wins to tie up the series 8-all and send the match in a deciding 19th race.
Having found an extra gear upwind in the last week and half, the Oracle boat was too good for Team NZ in today's finale - leaving the Kiwi team heartbreakingly anchored on match point.
The Kiwi team did everything right in this morning's race - they won the start and held a narrow lead at the bottom mark, but they simply could not match the pace of USA-17 upwind.
At the first cross Team NZ, on starboard tack, just managed to scrape in front of Oracle, but by the time the two teams converged again, the defenders had claimed the lead.
With every successive cross the Oracle boat seemed to have gained three or four boat lengths - extending their lead out to 26 seconds heading into the final downwind leg.
From there Oracle were well in control, and only needed to sail an error free run to keep the Cup.
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