Oracle hit back as second race is postponed

13:38, Sep 20 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 remain stalled on match point through a combination of Oracle precision and unruly wind in today's America's Cup action.

And the wait for glory continues for a team and a nation.

Team NZ win
STILL WAITING: Team New Zealand have been left waiting once again after losing the first race to Oracle on San Francisco Bay this morning.

That was due to Oracle fighting back to win the opening race of the day.

The second race of the day was called off as once again, the wind got above a safety limit that was reduced to 20.3 knots because of a strong outgoing tide.

Privately Team New Zealand won't be too sorry race 13 was postponed, because they had copped a pasting in race 12.

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Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill promised a fight and a never-say-die attitude, and his boat and crew delivered, claiming a vital 31-second win.

That leaves Oracle still needing to win the next seven races to keep the cup and New Zealand still looking for the one win to get their hands on sport's oldest trophy for the first time in a decade.

Regatta director Iain Murray made no apologies for his decision to call of the day's second race and felt it was "too late in the competition" to change wind limit rules that are proving a huge frustration to both teams and fans.

"I think it's frustrating for all of us [but] the rules are the rules everyone agreed to. This was something that was agreed to some time ago," Murray said, hopeful of some tide relief tomorrow that may allow a double-header – if it's needed.

But the way Oracle are shaping up with their fightback, don't bet against that.

This was an impressive win from a team under huge pressure in a sudden-death situation.

It was another twist in an incredible match that has featured performance shifts and weather delays to agonise a Kiwi public that has been on tenterhooks throughout, once they realised Aotearoa had the capabilities to win this thing.

Spithill's big move came in the starting box and it was a "hook" that proved a knockout blow right there and then as far as this race was concerned.

Dean Barker had been very aggressive coming into the box on the heels of Oracle but got too close to the start line too early and Spithill managed to come back underneath Aotearoa and get the overlap to turn them around,

With the New Zealanders stalled, Oracle sped off to a commanding 5sec lead at the first mark, which they extended to 11sec downwind.

Team New Zealand fought hard coming back into the wind but they couldn't eat into Orcacle's lead, and after the usual furious tacking duel the lead at the top mark was 10sec, with the Kiwis having to execute an costly extra tack.

Team New Zealand split the course from there, looking for something different to get them back into the game.

But it just didn't happen as they were 29sec behind at the bottom mark.

And the worrying thing for New Zealand was that Oracle looked to have the faster boat as well.

Team New Zealand admitted the problems began in the starting box and weren't helped by the difficult starboard entry.

"There wasn't much in it from there downwind or upwind but it was hard to make that deficit up - and they [Oracle] are getting better," syndicate CEO and grinder Grant Dalton Dalton said.

Winston Macfarlane replaced him for the aborted second race because "we need some muscle on board".

Dalton said the team knew the mood of the nation back home, but they were blocking that out once the racing began.

Naturally Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill was thrilled with the win.

"We are really focussed today, full of hunger," he said.

"We like a challenge and we have certainly got that."

He praised the teamwork that had gone in overnight to refine both the boat and the crew work.

"We are just learning with every race in this America's Cup match," he said.

Fairfax Media