New Zealand Team Close To Clinching America’s Cup Title

Emirates Team New Zealand is two-thirds of the way to clinching the America’s Cup after winning two more races of the finals in San Francisco today.

The New Zealand team handily beat defending champion Oracle Team USA in both races of the America’s Cup Finals today, putting them ahead 6 to negative-1.

Oracle was docked two points by the regatta’s International Jury before the racing began for making illegal modifications to its boats during earlier exhibition races and has only won one race in the finals.

The New Zealand team now has to win just three more races to become the new champions, while Oracle needs to win 10 more to retain the America’s Cup.

The next races in the finals are set for 1:15 and 2:15 p.m. Saturday.

Oracle team skipper Jimmy Spithill said in a post-race news conference today that his team is not giving up despite the large deficit.

“We’re going to keep fighting all the way to the end,” Spithill said. “It’s a long way from over in my mind.”

Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker said the team’s large lead “feels great” but “we know it’s far from over.”

Oracle replaced tactician John Kostecki, a Bay Area native, from the racing crew before today’s races and replaced him with four-time Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie.

Spithill said the switch was “really just a matter of shaking things up” and that Kostecki was helpful in getting his teammate up to speed.

The team had previously struggled on the lone upwind leg of the racecourse and continued to have problems with it today as Emirates Team New Zealand dominated them during that portion of the races.

“It’s a shock that they have the edge upwind,” Spithill said, adding that the team was going to consider changes to their race boat to try to improve its performance in time for this weekend’s races.

More information about the races can be found online at

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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