US takes America's Cup win before racing halted
Oracle Team USA competes against Emirates Team New Zealand during the 34th America's Cup on September 14, 2013 in San Francisco.
Emirates Team New Zealand appeared set to even the score for the day, leading into the third leg of the ninth race when it was halted due to winds that had climbed above the safety limit.
Races nine and 10 were set to take place on Sunday, with the Kiwi team having won nine races but still three triumphs shy of capturing the trophy.
Emirates Team New Zealand beat the defending champion over the starting line and held a lead of seven seconds rounding the second marker in race number eight.
The Americans turned the tables on New Zealand in the upwind third leg that had been their undoing in each of the prior battles on San Francisco Bay.
Oracle closed the gap in the leg, with the New Zealand catamaran nearly flipping over as the rivals crossed paths. New Zealand was hit with a penalty and lost the lead.
"Man, I thought that was close to going," Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill said of the moment the challenger's catamaran went nearly verticle. "We got ready for a crash tack."
Oracle had a 28 second lead by the time New Zealand cautiously rounded the third gate and the Americans crossed the finish line 52 seconds ahead of the challenger.
The win was critical for the Americans, who need nine more victories to retain possession of yachting's coveted trophy.
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