Team NZ fight back to win dramatic race

05:23, Sep 16 2013
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Team New Zealand holds a slight advantage during race one.
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Team New Zealand in action during race two.
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Action from race two with San Francisco city in the background.
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Team New Zealand streak away to win race two against Oracle.
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Oracle in action during race two.
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San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge was hard to see during America's Cup racing on Monday (NZT) with heavy fog blanketing all but its highest point.
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Emirates Team New Zealand skippered by Dean Barker waves to the crowd after beating Oracle Team USA skippered by James Spithill in race five of the America's Cup Finals.
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Emirates Team Zew Zealand races ahead of Oracle Team USA as they pass in front of Alcatraz Island and the San Francisco skyline during race 5 of the America's Cup Finals.
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Emirates Team New Zealand follows Oracle Team USA around the first mark in race five on day three of the America's Cup 34.
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Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand tack upwind in front of Alcatraz Island during race 5 of the America's Cup Finals on September 10, 2013 in San Francisco, California.
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Emirates Team New Zealand skippered by Dean Barker warms up before racing against Oracle Team USA skippered by James Spithill in race five of the America's Cup Finals.
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The foredeck crew of Oracle Team USA work on a head sail after losing to Emirates Team New Zealand during Race 5 of the 34th America's Cup yacht sailing race in San Francisco.
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Team New Zealand wave to fans after winning race seven.
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Team New Zealand and Oracle sail past Alcatrez during race seven.
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A view from above the Golden Gate Bridge during race six.
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Oracle cross the finish line well ahead of Team New Zealand in race nine.
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Team New Zealand and Oracle race in front of a giant cruise ship and the Bay Bridge during race nine.
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Action from race 10 of the America's Cup final.
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Team New Zealand lead Oracle during race 10 of the America's Cup.
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Team New Zealand crosses the finish line ahead of Oracle to win Race 11.
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Action from Race 11.
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Team Emirates New Zealand skipper Dean Barker talks with his crew after the scheduled second race of the day was postponed due to high winds.
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Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker celebrates after defeating Oracle Team USA skippered by James Spithill in race 11 during the America's Cup Finals.
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Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker celebrates after defeating Oracle Team USA skippered by James Spithill in race 11 during the America's Cup Finals.
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Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker celebrates after defeating Oracle Team USA skippered by James Spithill in race 11 during the America's Cup Finals.
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Oracle lead Team New Zealand during Race 12 of the America's Cup.
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Oracle and Team NZ speed past the Golden Gate Bridge during Race 12 of the America's Cup.
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Team NZ chases down Oracle during the early part of Race 13, which was eventually abandoned.
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Fog descends on the race course on San Francisco Bay as Team NZ awaits the start.
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Team New Zealand cross in front of Oracle on the second leg in Race 13.
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Team NZ and Oracle sail side-by-side before the start of Race 13, with the Bay Bridge in the backdrop.
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Team New Zealand and Oracle compete during Race 13, won by Oracle.
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Oracle take the lead in race 14 of the America's Cup.
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Team NZ and Oracle race in front of the Golden Gate Bridge during Race 14 of the America's Cup.
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Team NZ in action in Race 15.
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Team NZ attempt to chase Oracle down in Race 15.
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Action from race 16 of the America's Cup.
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Action from race 16 of the America's Cup.
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Sir Ben Ainslie of Oracle Team USA walks off the stage from the dock-out show before going out to race against Emirates Team New Zealand in race 17.
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Oracle sails ahead of Team New Zealand on their way to winning race 17.
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Oracle celebrate winning race 17.
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An anguished Dean Barker with head in hands after the Team New Zealand lost race 18.
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Oracle acknowledge the crowd after winning race 18.
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Oracle streak away from Team New Zealand to win race 18.
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Oracle owner Larry Ellison celebrates after his team won race 18.
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Race 19 begins.
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Team New Zealand battles Oracle during race 19.
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Team New Zealand battles Oracle during race 19.
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Oracle wins race 19, completing an amazing comeback and retaining the America's Cup.
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Oracle wins race 19, completing an amazing comeback and retaining the America's Cup.
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Oracle celebrate after winning Race 19, completing an amazing comeback and retaining America's Cup.
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Oracle celebrate after winning Race 19, completing an amazing comeback and retaining America's Cup.
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Team New Zealand battles Oracle during race 19.
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Oracle celebrate after winning Race 19, completing an amazing comeback and retaining America's Cup.
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James Spithill celebrates with the America's Cup.
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James Spithill celebrates with the America's Cup.
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A dejected Dean Barker waves to fans.
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Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill raises the America's Cup.
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Oracle tatician Sir Ben Ainslie drinks champagne from the America's Cup.
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Oracle CEO Larry Ellison holds the America's Cup trophy aloft.

Team New Zealand staged a brilliant fightback to hold off a charging Oracle and get to within two wins of the America's Cup today.

Having lost the opening race of the day by a massive 47-seconds, Dean Barker won the dog-fight in the second race to claim a treasured 17-second victory.

After yesterday's near-capsize and subsequent loss, followed by today's first-up defeat, halting the momentum of the aggressive Americans was crucial.

Somehow they did that in the closest race of the regatta.

Team New Zealand now lead 7-1 on the water and need two wins to claim the America's Cup. Oracle with their jury penalties factored in, still need eight wins to keep the Auld Mug.

Spithill got off the start line with better acceleration in the second race today, but Barker held his inside line and the overlap to the first mark and managed to get a good gain, throwing Spithill wide.

Heading downwind Barker managed to keep that edge and actually extend it.

The Kiwis led by 11-seconds at the bottom mark and the third leg into the wind became the most memorable of the final in terms of sheer performance.

Oracle, as they had during the day's first race, showed much better speed and tacking ability to eat into the Kiwis' lead.

The defenders eventually got in front, but New Zealand got into a tacking duel and regained the lead - just.

It seemed that every time one of the boats got to the right-hand side of the course, gains were there for the taking and the crosses became closer and closer.

Team New Zealand managed to battle their way back and they rounded the top mark only one-second in front.

But the Kiwis got the better area of the course to work with downwind, and tactician Ray Davies made the right calls on the run to hold Oracle at bay.

To end the day 1-all was a decent effort after the disappointment of the first race which Oracle dominated from start to finish - Spithill trounced Barker in the box and never relented, as their improvements became alarmingly clear to the Kiwi camp.

There is no racing tomorrow and Team New Zealand will have to have a good look at their boat and systems to try to squeeze something more out of Aotearoa, because this sprint to the finish of the regatta is getting nerve-racking.

The relief was obvious on Barker's face as he spoke from the boat later.

"We did a good job managing the race," he said.

He was confident that he had Spithill in that vital opening reach and felt that was crucial. Oracle lost a few boat lengths in that bearaway.

But the third leg was an absolute haggle.

"We started that leg well but they got a good shift and took a big chunk out of us and suddenly it was all on," Barker said.

"They are going well, they have stepped up as we expected they would. They have found another gear in these conditions."

Spithill lamented the first two legs of this race but felt his crew had done a great job getting back into the race on the third leg, where their improvements were obvious.

"I think the boat is going great," he said.

The decision in their camp will be what to do with their lay-day tomorrow.

They obviously made good use of their time overnight and now they must factor crew work against boat work tomorrow.

"We have a few more ideas," Spithill said.

"We will have taken some big lessons from this. If we can, we'll get the boat back out on the water." 

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