First Posted: 9/8/2013
(AP) Skipper Dean Barker kept Emirates Team New Zealand perfect in the America’s Cup, rebounding from a penalty at the first mark and overtaking defending champion Oracle Team USA on the windward third leg to win Race 3 on Sunday.
Team New Zealand’s 72-foot catamaran reeled in the American syndicate during a tacking duel sailing upwind toward the fog-shrouded Golden Gate Bridge. The Kiwis sailed into the lead about halfway up the leg and went on to win by 28 seconds.
The Kiwis need to win six more races to claim the oldest trophy in international sports for the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, which held the Auld Mug from 1995-2003.
Oracle Team USA, owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison of Oracle Corp., needs to win 11 races to retain the silver trophy. Oracle was docked two points by an international jury in the biggest cheating scandal in the regatta’s 162-year history.
Race 4 was to start later in the afternoon.
Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill had an aggressive start and got his cat across the line first. Holding inside position at the reaching first mark, Spithill flew around the buoy and came within a few feet of Team New Zealand. Both teams flew protest flags and the Kiwis were penalized for not keeping clear. Barker had to slow down to clear the penalty.
Oracle led by 18 seconds after completing the upwind second leg. The boats headed to different sides of the course and the Kiwis began to show better speed upwind. Oracle remained in the lead the first time the boats crossed.
Halfway up the mark, Oracle let the Kiwis tack toward the left-hand boundary. Because the boundaries are new to this Cup, a boat that has tacked onto port to avoid crossing the boundary has advantage. That helped the Kiwis take control. Team New Zealand led by 29 seconds rounding the windward gate mark and kept that margin at the downwind gate before making the turn and heading to the finish.