Team NZ off the pace in America's Cup finale

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 11:31 08/10/2012

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Team New Zealand had a disappointing finish to the latest America's Cup world series regatta in San Francisco, finishing seventh in the final fleet race.

That saw the Kiwis end up fourth on the points table from the seven fleet races, meaning no place on the podium for Dean Barker.

America's Cup holders Oracle flexed their muscles on home waters on the final day, dominating the 11-boat fleet.

James Spithill backed up yesterday's match-racing tile by claiming the fleet racing honours as well. He won the points-loaded last race to claim the title on a countback from Ben Ainslie.

Oracle boss Russell Coutts finished second in this last race to lift to fifth overall.

Ainslie, Britain's Olympics hero who will be part of the Oracle team for next year's big event, could only manage a fourth today that saw Spithill edge him at the top of the points table.

Having finished second in the match-racing this was a solid effort from New Zealand on the back of their disaster at the last regatta in California two months ago but this was a disappointing ending to their work.

It was the last official racing on the San Francisco bay before the Louis Vuitton Cup racing starts next July in the giant AC72 catamarans.

There are two more regattas for the 45-footers - next April in Venice and May in Naples.

Barker and his crew now return to Auckland to continue testing on their AC72 with the second of these massive cats nearing the building stage.

Peter Burling, New Zealand's Olympic silver medalist from the London Games, had a tough introduction to America's Cup racing with Team Korea. He finished 10th in the final race to end up eighth overall in fleet racing.

America's Cup, World Series, San Francisco

Final Fleet Racing Points: Oracle (Spithill) 79, JP Morgan Bar 79, Artemis White 72, Team New Zealand 57, Oracle (Coutts) 56, Artemis Red 52, Energy Team 47, Team Korea 40, Luna Rossa Piranha 36, China Team 28, Luna Rossa Swordfish 20.

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- Fairfax Media

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