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New Zealand sailing team two wins away from clinching America's Cup [PHOTOS]

American team splits with New Zealand Sunday after making modifications to catamaran.
By DANIELLE HAYNES, UPI.com   |   Sept. 15, 2013 at 10:05 PM   |   Comments

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Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Emirates Team New Zealand is only two wins away from clinching the 34th America's Cup after splitting against Oracle Team USA Sunday in San Francisco to take a 7-1 lead in a best-of-17 series.

Oracle dominated Sunday's first race, but New Zealand ended up rallying to capture the second win on the day, USA Today reported.

"It was very important to bounce back after race one," said New Zealand skipper Dean Barker.

New Zealand has the chance to win the series Tuesday when races 11 and 12 are held. Oracle will be starting with a minus-2 deficit after a penalty in an earlier race.

The winner takes home the Auld Mug.

New Zealand won the first six races against Oracle until the Americans made a number of modifications to their 72-foot catamaran to make it go faster upwind. Since then, Oracle has split with the Kiwis.

"I wish we'd made them about a year ago to be honest," Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill said of the changes. "We might have made a few more."

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