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New Zealand moves closer to winning America's Cup

September 12, 2013|By David Wharton
  • Emirates Team New Zealand, left, races against Oracle Team USA in San Francisco Bay on Thursday.
Emirates Team New Zealand, left, races against Oracle Team USA in San Francisco… (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images )

Emirates Team New Zealand moved a step closer to capturing the America's Cup on Thursday, winning two more races over defending champion Oracle Team USA.

Neither race on San Francisco Bay was particularly close as the challenger opened a convincing lead of six races to minus-one, Oracle still in negative territory after incurring a two-race penalty before the competition began.

Emirates needs only three more wins for the Cup.

"Very happy with the day," New Zealand skipper Dean Barker said. "We're pretty happy with all our package."

Desperate to forge a comeback after a string of disheartening results, Oracle made a significant crew shift Thursday.

Tactitian John Kostecki -- who grew up sailing the Bay -- was pulled from his spot, replaced by famed British sailor Ben Ainslie.

Ainslie had been skippering the American team's backup boat while preparing for a Cup run of his own next time around.

The switch proved futile as Emirates once again showed it is tactically sound and a much faster boat on the course's long, crucial upwind leg.


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