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
Arsenal vs Aston Villa preview: I need to prove myself again at Villa, says Scott Sinclair
Transfer news and rumours LIVE: Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea, Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester City, United want Gareth Bale
Chelsea vs Manchester City player ratings: David Silva saves the day but which City star stole the show at Stamford Bridge?
Arsene Wenger photobombs Arsenal photo shoot - manages to look like famous 'Bigfoot' picture
Serena Williams wins Australia Open 2015: American beats Maria Sharapova in straight sets to claim a sixth title in Melbourne
- 1 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 2 City traders pay £200 for a quick hangover cure
- 3 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 5 Ball pool for adults opens in London
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Hard line on immigration could cost Tories the election