SAN FRANCISCO — This has become the America's Cup that just won't end, thanks to fickle wind and Oracle Team USA's remarkable resurgence.
Twice down by seven races, the defending champions from the United States no doubt have all of New Zealand on edge, including the thousands of Kiwis who pack the waterfront to cheer on the boys aboard Emirates Team New Zealand.
Skipper Jimmy Spithill and his mates with Oracle Team USA were masterful in tricky conditions Sunday on San Francisco Bay, winning Races 14 and 15 to cut the Kiwis' lead to 8-5.
"The boat is just so much quicker than when we started this competition," said Spithill, 34, an Australian who lives in San Diego with his American wife and their two young boys. "We believe we can win this. … (We have) a wave of momentum that's becoming bigger every day behind us."
Oracle won Race 14 by 23 seconds and Race 15 by 37 seconds in light, patchy wind.
The Kiwis still need just one win to spirit away the Auld Mug.
It's gotten to the point that Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker was asked by a countryman if he can assure New Zealanders that they're not watching the Kiwis choke.
"Tough question," Barker said.
Spithill steered his 72-foot catamaran to huge leads in both races before the Kiwis cut the margin on the fourth leg.
Oracle Team USA, which started with a two-race penalty, has won four straight. Race 16 and, if necessary, 17, are today. Oracle Team USA needs four more wins in the best-of-17 series.