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U.S. boat rallies to tie series

SAILING

May 16, 2007|From Times Wire Reports

VALENCIA, SPAIN — American challenger BMW Oracle won a dash to the finish Tuesday and squared its semifinal series against Luna Rossa of Italy at 1-1 in Louis Vuitton Cup sailing.

Emirates New Zealand led all the way against Desafio Espanol of Spain, won by 40 seconds and took a 2-0 lead in the other series.

The winner of the Vuitton Cup will challenge defending Alinghi of Switzerland for the America's Cup in June.

The Italians, after winning the opening race Monday, were off the line first again Tuesday, and held a 58-second lead early in the race. The U.S. boat moved into the lead on the final downwind leg, however, and crossed the finish line 13 seconds ahead.

"I am just in awe of what the guys did," said Larry Ellison, Oracle's syndicate owner. "[Skipper] Chris Dickson and the boys did an incredible job of getting us into the lead and then defending when Luna Rossa was right on our wind. It was amazing to watch."

Both best-of-nine series are scheduled to continue today, then resume Friday after a day off Thursday.

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