America's Cup comeback: Ben Ainslie helps Oracle Team USA draw level with New Zealand challenger in San Francisco
As comebacks go, this is worthy of the best scriptwriters down the coast in tinsel town
By over a kilometre, New Zealand's challenge for the America's Cup took a hammering on San Francisco Bay as they saw the America's Cup defender Oracle Team USA draw level at 8-8 after seven straight wins in what should have been a best of 17.
As comebacks go, this is worthy of the best scriptwriters down the coast in tinsel town and is testimony to the work of the Oracle design and shore team, which has worked round the clock to improve the performance of its 72-foot wing-powered catamaran Add to that the cool tactical thinking of Britain's Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie, as tactician, and his brother in arms, Australian Olympic gold medallist Tom Slingsby, as strategist.
If the Americans had not been penalised by two points for violating race rules they would have reached the magic nine after winning the first race of the day.
Once again Kiwi skipper Dean Barker was beaten off the start line and his rival Jimmy Spithill led from start to finish. To make matters worse the New Zealanders had to take two penalties as they were suckered into two collisions as Oracle barged them just ahead of the start.
Race two of the day, staged in perfect 20-knot conditions, saw Barker at last grab the advantage at the start and lead for the first two legs only to see Spithill pounce again as, early on the upwind leg, New Zealand tried to plant a blocking measure on the Americans only to see them roll over the top and control the race from there on.
The Americans have won seven consecutive races, have everything going their way, and are in psychological control of a team that seems to have choked badly after being 7-1 ahead.
Ben Ainslie in San Francisco at the America's Cup
The boats still seem about even, though they are both very sensitive to any changes in wind strength. And New Zealand had the all-important ninth win in their grasp when leading in a race that was abandoned as the 40-minute time limit ran out.
Now it is pistols at lunchtime, winner takes all on Wednesday, assuming there is not too much wind again. The forecast is cautious. The Americans are rampant. The Kiwis are in as much trouble as they ever want to be.
Latest in Sport
NFL player Marshawn Lynch answers every question in post-game interview with 'Yeah'
Manchester United named Premier League's loudest fans despite late push by Chelsea according to 'Smart Meter' app
WWE Survivor Series 2014: What time does the event start? And full card
Chelsea vs West Brom: Jose Mourinho turns on ‘Dr Sergio Ramos’ in Spanish spat
Prince Harry leads the congratulations for Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi, calling him 'an absolute legend' as he crossed the finish line
- 1 Lego letter from the 1970s still offers a powerful message to parents 40 years later
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Green Party Caroline Lucas interview: 'We could be on the edge of something very big'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict