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Oracle Team USA mounting historic comeback at America's Cup

September 24, 2013|By David Wharton

Sailing aficionados consider 1983 the best America's Cup ever, with Australia overcoming a 3-1 deficit to defeat Dennis Conner's Liberty and capture the title.

This fall, the competition on San Francisco Bay is proving just as dramatic.

On Tuesday, Oracle Team USA will try to keep its improbable comeback alive with two more races scheduled against Emirates Team New Zealand.

The U.S. boat was down match point at 8-1 but has stormed back to close the gap to 8-6.

"The boys are incredibly fired up. I've never seen them like this before," skipper Jimmy Spithill said. "The entire team, there's a lot of great energy there."

The score would actually be tied, 8-8, if the Americans had not received a two-race penalty before the finals began. They were caught adding improper ballast to their boat during a series of pre-Cup races dating to 2012.

Spithill says he and his crew haven't wasted any time worrying about that. If they prevail, it would be the greatest comeback in Cup history.

On the New Zealand boat, skipper Dean Barker chose to look on the bright side of a regatta that could be slipping away.

"We still wouldn't trade positions," he said. "We still would rather be on match point than having to win three more."

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