Supporters of Emirates Team New Zealand aren’t giving up hope on a win as Oracle Team USA garnered another point in the America’s Cup Finals in San Francisco this afternoon.
Oracle, the defending Cup champions, won this afternoon in the 16th race of the finals but still trails the Kiwi team 8-6.
Emirates Team New Zealand was up 8-1 and was poised to win the regatta last week, but Oracle has won the last five races. The first team to nine points wins the America’s Cup.
Both teams have now won eight races in the America’s Cup Finals, but Oracle was docked two points before racing began for illegally modifying their boats during exhibition races in 2012 and earlier this year.
New Zealand native Shaun Allbon, 24, had his country’s flag draped on his shoulder and was wearing a dismayed look after Oracle’s win.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “Everyone back home is waiting with bated breath.”
He noted that many Kiwi fans have had to return home as the race for the Cup continues late into the month.
This afternoon’s race started 30 minutes late because of low winds on the Bay. A second race initially planned for later today was postponed until Tuesday.
Several finals races have been postponed in the past week because of mercurial wind conditions on the Bay.
Marty Walls, 50, sporting a hat with a stuffed Kiwi bird on top, said he would miss watching Tuesday’s race live.
The New Zealand native lives in San Diego and has to return to his job. He had already delayed his flight by one day.
“There’s always hope,” he said.
Despite the prolonged victory he is anticipating, he said the venue for the races has been “awesome.”
A sailing aficionado who has attended four other America’s Cup competitions, he said this one is the best with the boats coming close to the shore.
Those cheering for Oracle Team USA were elated this afternoon.
A group of women from Saratoga were decked out in red, white and blue and waving American flags.
“We are so excited,” Sharon Baab said. “We thought (last week) we’d be celebrating with the Kiwis.”
She said Oracle’s steady comeback sends “a good message. Don’t give up.”
Oracle team officials chose San Francisco as the host city for this year’s regatta after winning the previous America’s Cup in 2010.
The final races are overlapping this week with Oracle’s annual weeklong conference Oracle Open World.
There appeared to be more Oracle fans out at America’s Cup Park at Piers 27/29 this afternoon compared to last week where the New Zealand flag was prevalent in the crowd.
Sasha Lekach, Bay City News