Team New Zealand ended on the wrong side of history as Oracle completed their remarkable America's Cup comeback to retain the Auld Mug today.
A march that seemed impossible and then inevitable was rounded off in style with a 44sec victory.
It has been labelled the greatest comeback in the history of sport and it's hard to disagree.
Facing match point at 8-1, they clawed their way back and then simply powered their way past the Kiwis with increasing power and precision to win 9-8 on the scoreboard.
Winning seven races while facing match-point was undeniably impressive and to actually take out the final 11-8 on the water, having to overcome two penalties for cheating, confirmation of their dominance.
Today's final race was virtually a carbon-copy of yesterday's second race which really hammered home to the Kiwis that they were off the pace.
Dean Barker did everything right but just didn't have the pace upwind to force the issue.
Team New Zealand won a tight start and held off Oracle for a three second lead at the first mark.
They held Oracle off in a 40-knots drag race downwind to edge ahead by seven seconds at the bottom mark.
But Oracle created a split there and chipped away at Team New Zealand's lead over the first half of the beat.
But in the second half they just pushed the turbo-button again and sped away to leave Aotearoa in their wake.
New Zealand were powerless to do anything about it.
They couldn't engage Oracle in a tacking duel because they couldn't get close enough to apply the pressure.
Simple speed was the difference at they turned at the top 26sec in front.
Oracle were foiling upwind at around 30 knots and for long periods while Team New Zealand's foiling was in around the 24-27 knots range and less stable.
That has been the huge gain that has given Oracle the Cup.
Much has been made of their top class afterguard but with the speed advantage that Oracle enjoyed, they had a dream run over the last few days to not only fight back but also deliver the knockout punch on the 19th day of an absorbing regatta.
A dream that had seemed so possible for team New Zealand early last week turned into a nightmare.
A brave fight just wasn't good enough as they got overtaken by technology and a crew that just grew during this regatta.
The result will throw a huge cloud over Team New Zealand's future.
Spithill was naturally overjoyed.
"What a race ... it was fantastic," he said.
"To come from behind, these guys just showed so much heart."
Spithill said he had the easy job the way his crew and boat worked.
"They can make you look good. They are so great ... to be facing the barrel of the gun at 8-1 what did the guys do? They didn't even flinch."
Spithill said Sir Russell Coutts and Larry Ellison had spoken to the team this morning and told them to simply keep on doing what they had been doing, to keep fighting.
Ellison jumped on board the big catamaran after it crossed the line.
"Larry said: 'Hey guys, you just won the America's Cup'," Spithill said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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