Byline: Log News Service
SAN FRANCISCO (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — Oracle Team USA won the America’s Cup Sept. 25, culminating one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.
Jimmy Spithill steered Oracle’s high-tech 72-foot catamaran to its eighth straight victory, crossing the finish line in the final winner-take-all Race 19 on San Francisco Bay — 44 seconds ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand.
All but defeated after the Kiwis chalked up their eighth win Sept. 18, Spithill and his crew rallied from a seven point deficit to win eight straight races and finish the 34th America’s Cup with a 9-8 lead over New Zealand.
Spithill and his crew are the first to win eight straight races in an America’s Cup match. There have been three five-race winning streaks when the Cup was best-of-nine. This regatta started as best-of-17, but Oracle needed to win 11 races to keep the cup because it was docked two points for illegally modifying boats in warm-up regattas.
In terms of drama, the 34th America’s cup rivals the 1983 regatta, when Australia II rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat Dennis Conner in seven races, to end the New York Yacht Club’s 132-year winning streak.
The history of today’s America’s Cup dates back to 1851 when the schooner America, representing the young New York Yacht Club, beat the best the British could offer and won Royal Yacht Squadron’s 100 Guinea Cup off the coast of England.
The America’s Cup is not an easy trophy to win. In the 162 years since the yacht America won the first race, only four nations — the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland — have won what is often called the oldest trophy in international sports.