America's Cup: Oracle Team USA keep the champagne on ice as two more race wins to pull within three points of Emirates Team New Zealand

The Kiwis were 7-1 up at one point but the latest victories for the US has seen them claw back to 8-5

San Francisco

The comeback continues for America’s Cup defender Oracle Team USA as Emirates Team New Zealand just cannot convert match point to victory with the one extra win it needs. Instead the Americans grabbed two more wins and with them the strutting rights.

From 7-1 up at one stage, the Kiwis went back to their base under the Bay Bridge leading by 8-5 and showing no extra shots in the locker to counter an American team on a roll and improving ever since race four in the best of 17.

The whole thing has coincided with a shake up in the back of the boat brains trust which saw British Olympian Ben Ainslie replace tactician John Kostecki. It seems clear that the chemistry between Ainslie and strategist Tom Slingsby is working much better.

Like Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill, Slingsby is an Australian. Like Ainslie, Slingsby won his Olympic gold as a singlehander, with no-one to help him and relying on his own talents to read his way up a race course.

Oracle has been sailing better and better, is on a roll, is relishing having its back to the wall. Questions have to be asked why they were not better prepared. They will be forgotten if Oracle stages a spectacular fight off the ropes to win.        

ETNZ skipper Dean Barker lost both starts, leaving himself another job of playing catch-up in difficult conditions. In the first the wind was light and also puffy, meaning if either was in a good vein there were huge gains to be made.

Ainslie and Slingsby consistently put Spithill in a controlling position and then simply dominated in the second race to switch considerable pressure on the Kiwis. They also found the all-important extra horsepower of wind pressure, so vital on boats that need only a little extra wind to rocket ahead.

Spithill paid tribute to Ainslie and Slingsby saying: “What a fantastic day. I thought Tom and Ben did a fantastic job. And the boys in the engine room delivered when they came under pressure.” And Monday?  “Can’t wait,” he said.

Barker, commenting on the tricky conditions, said: “We just didn’t manage the downwind legs. Make just one mistake and they get strong. It’s right there for the taking. But we didn’t do as good a job as we expected today. 

The battle continues on Monday, with two more races scheduled in winds that could be a little lighter. The whole thing was scheduled to finish on Sunday. It will, if the American team continues with its momentum, go through to Tuesday unless Barker can win convincingly on the start line and lead though the first bend.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea