US wins again to extend America's Cup rally
Oracle Team USA is seen between the towers of the Saints Peter and Paul Church before the start of race 17 of the 34th America's Cup on September 24, 2013 in San Francisco.
The Americans won by 27 seconds for their ninth win in 17 races, which would have been enough to have retained the Cup had the US team not been docked two points for pre-regatta violations.
As it stands, the defending champion still trails 8-7 and needs two more wins to retain the Cup, while the Kiwis need just one to take the coveted prize home to New Zealand, just as they have for a week.
New Zealand has won eight races but has been on Match Point since September 18.
Only three times before in Cup history had a boat won five races in a row, but those were in best-of-nine regattas where none had a chance to stretch the streak as long as Oracle Team USA has this month.
The Kiwis drew a pair of penalties at the start of Race 17, crowding the Americans as they fiercely vied for positions.
"New Zealand was supposed to do everything it could to stay clear and it didn't," the Cup's chief umpire explained. "Two penalties were assessed."
The USA was given a head start and rounded the first mark well ahead of the Kiwis.
The Americans blazed along the second leg, with speeds topping 50 mph, and rounded the second gate 29 seconds ahead of the Kiwis.
New Zealand pressed hard on the tail of the American team, which maneuvered to block opportunities to pass.
The Kiwis narrowed the gap through the critical upwind leg, as both catamarans also sailed against the tide, but the Americans held on to cross the finish 27 seconds ahead of New Zealand.
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