Oracle skipper Spithill's fighting words

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Last updated 06:41 16/09/2013
James Spithill
JUSTIN SULLIVAN/ Getty
ORACLE: Australian James Spithill skippers Team USA.

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Aggressive Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill has set the tone for Oracle's America's Cup battle with a Twitter message featuring an F-bomb.

Having claimed a second win in yesterday's dramatic action to cut Team New Zealand's lead on the water to 6-2, Spithill started today in controversial fashion.

Spithill tweeted "No need for a hash tag" and attached a photo of a sign on a noticeboard that read "There is no "I" in: Just beat the F....ers".

Clearly Oracle are looking within for motivation in a desperate bid to hold on the Cup and Spithill wasn't shy to share that.

Regatta chief executive Stephen Barclay said he had not seen the tweet.

"I'll have a look at it. I love the fact that the athletes tweet and interact with the fans, it's great. From time to time in all sports and we aren't going to be any different, they are going to go a little bit on the edge," Barclay said.

"I'll have a look at it and I may need to have a little talk to him."

Spithill's tweet was removed from his account shortly after Barclay was asked about it at the morning briefing.

But it had spent more than an hour in cyberspace and drawn reaction from both sides.

Americans appeared to be supporting him and some Kiwis voiced their disapproval with their replies to the skipper, an Australian hired by Larry Ellison to helm his boat. 

Meanwhile, the weather looks set to draw this final out with New Zealand needing three wins to win claim the cup and Oracle needing nine wins to retain it.

Today's forecast was for conditions similar to yesterday when the winds got up to force the second race to be abandoned when Team New Zealand were leading, and fighting back from their near capsize in the earlier race.

Complicating matters today is the outgoing tide which will be stronger than yesterday, forcing the wind safety limits to come down to 20.8 knots in the first race and 21.4 knots in the second race.

Tomorrow is a layday and racing will resume on Wednesday.

"It's going to be close again," regatta director Iain Murray said of today's racing conditions.

"It's a micro-climate out there and it comes on 4-5 knots instantaneously."

Murray warned that things could get worse. "The weather forecast for Tuesday [Wednesday NZ time] looks particularly windy."

Meanwhile, Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton is listed to be on board for both races today.

Dalton was absent in yesterday's dramatic first race, meaning he remains the only sailor to be unbeaten after also missing the earlier loss on the occasional rotation system he works with fellow grinder Winston Macfarlane.

Kiwi fans are elevating Dalton to "lucky charm" status in the quest to get the job done.

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