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Oracle Team USA beats Emirates Team Zealand to keep America's Cup

Spithill steered Oracle's space-age, 72-foot catamaran to its eighth straight victory, speeding past Dean Barker and Team New Zealand sailing upwind in Race 19 on a San Francisco Bay course bordered by the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the Embarcadero.

All but defeated a week ago, the 34-year-old Australian and his international crew twice rallied from seven-point deficits to win 9-8. Owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison, Oracle Team USA was docked two points for illegally modifying boats in warmup regattas and had to win 11 races to keep the trophy.

For eight races, they sailed with no margin for error in a new class of boats that had a learning curve that was almost straight up.

"There's nothing like going all in," Spithill said. "I'm so proud of the boys. ... They didn't flinch."

It could have been over shortly after the start Wednesday just inside the Golden Gate Bridge.


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