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America’s Cup 2013 – Race 18 - of Roosters and Feather Dusters    
Wed, 25 Sep 2013

In the 34th America's Cup, Oracle Team USA, the comeback kids, have come from 8-1 to 8-7.

Early in this epic series, Jimmy Spithill was under heavy questioning when Oracle Team USA had lost three races in a row. The Australian explained to the media that in this game you could be a Rooster one minute and a Feather Duster the next. Today Dean Barker from Emirates Team New Zealand lost an awful lot of tail feathers.

Here is how race 17 in the series unfolded. At the start, the wind 20 knots from the Golden Gate Bridge, flooding tide just over a knot. Emirates Team New Zealand had the port tack entry. Oracle gybed early in the pre-start. An overlap from Kiwis, then they lost it. A pretty even start but the Kiwis prevailed.

New Zealand held Oracle out at the first mark. Oracle had a bad gybe and was 200 metres behind early in the run, but Ainslie and Slingsby settled the trailing boat down.

It became a 40 knot drag race, down the run, with the Kiwis 100 metres ahead. An extra gybe from the Americans to get the split. Seven seconds between the boats.

As the boats closed just 45 metres apart, a slow tack from New Zealand, they failed to lee bow their rivals and Oracle hits the lead. A simo-tack and the Americans lee bowed their rivals. Sucking gas, Emirates tacked back towards Alcatraz, looking for tidal relief.

USA climbed away 120 metres ahead at the next cross. Then the next time the lead had doubled. Heading into the top mark, Oracle Team USA stormed around, with the Kiwis forced to do another tack. A deadly 57 seconds behind.

From rooster to feather duster in one upwind leg. Oracle Team USA were 1000 metres, repeat 1000 metres ahead down the run. The finish line delta was 54 seconds.

The nightmare continued. The Kiwis are plainly in shock again.

The 34th America's Cup was tied up at 8-8. The next race on San Francisco Bay is winner takes all in the first to nine series.

Jimmy Spithill. ‘It was all in the team. We have a lot of confidence going into tomorrow. Our afterguard is working really well. The boat is going fantastic. Bring on tomorrow.’

Dean Barker was not keen to talk post-race, but lightened up at the Media Conference.


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