Low winds rob Team NZ America's Cup glory

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 10:35 21/09/2013
MOA

The Kiwis have been close but not quite won the America's cup so the supporters decided set up camp at the Moa Bar.

Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
GRAHAME COX/Fairfax NZ Zoom
A fan at Auckland's Shed 10 battles to watch the final America's Cup race.
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ONE MORE: Just one more victory will ensure the Auld Mug is heading back to New Zealand.

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Team New Zealand suffered huge heartbreak today as their quest to nail the America's Cup was spoiled by light winds and a dogged Oracle team.

The 13th race on a Friday in San Francisco proved to be incredibly unlucky for the Kiwis.

They had the race and the Cup as good as won as they enjoyed a 1200m lead in the first race but couldn't complete it in the 40-minute time limit, with officials abandoning racing as the Kiwis approached the last mark.

Then, in the restarted race, they made two mistakes which allowed Oracle to stretch out to a 1min 24s victory.

That keeps New Zealand still looking for the one elusive win to nail this thing while Oracle now need six more victories in a row to hold on to the Auld Mug.

"We were staring down the barrel of defeat there and time saved us," Oracle tactician Ben Ainslie said of having the first attempt at the race called off.

It was a gutting moment for Team New Zealand.

Just when it seemed nothing else could happen in this dramatic final, another twist was delivered and it sadly came at the expense of Team New Zealand.

They have had two races abandoned while they were leading because of high winds.

But the weather gods conspired against them from the other end of the spectrum today to deny them again.

The predicted brisk breeze never eventuated and the top of the course was shrouded in fog.

Just to get around the top mark took over three minutes as Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill played a luffing game with Dean Barker.

When Team New Zealand slipped them downwind and headed away it looked like being the glory race.

But time kept ticking away on them. They were racing the clock more than Oracle who were so far behind it was ridiculous.

Yet it all amounted to nothing.

And despite getting away brilliantly in the restart half an hour later, some errors came into play for Team New Zealand.

They copped a penalty as they jibed in front of Oracle and then gone into trouble trying to round the bottom mark.

Oracle jibed in front of them, forcing the Kiwis to change their minds over which buoy to round and they stalled, losing big ground.

Heading upwind, they also failed to cover Oracle in one tacking duel and Spithill streaked away.

There was no coming back.

And there was no time to start race 14 - that will have to wait till tomorrow.

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