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America's Cup comes down to final, deciding race

September 25, 2013|By David Wharton
  • No matter what happens, the America's Cup finale between the U.S., left, and New Zealand will be historic.
No matter what happens, the America's Cup finale between the U.S.,… (Noah Berger / AFP/Getty…)

SAN FRANCISCO -- One way or another, the America's Cup will make history with a winner-take-all finale on San Francisco Bay.

Wednesday will mark only the third time in 162 years that the famed regatta has come down to a final race. It will also conclude the Cup's longest competition.

Defending champion Oracle Team USA is looking to complete an unprecedented comeback, riding what skipper Jimmy Spithill called a "huge wave of momentum."

The American boat has won a string of races to climb back from oblivion, evening the score at 8-8 against challenger Emirates Team New Zealand. As for the Kiwis, they are sounding defiant if a bit weary.

"We'll go out there as best we possibly can," skipper Dean Barker said. "And we'll fight all the way to the end."

New Zealand can look back in time for inspiration.

In 1983, challenger Australia II defeated the U.S. boat Liberty to win, 4-3. In the Cup's other winner-take-all ending, defender Resolute outsailed challenger Shamrock IV for the 1920 title.

Wednesday's deciding race is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Pacific time, weather permitting.

Addressing the pressure his team is facing, New Zealand trimmer Glenn Ashby felt confident enough to joke.

"I don't know what everybody's been doing here the last couple of weeks," he said. "We've just been training and the regatta actually start's tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see how we go."


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