America's Cup: Team NZ loses starting advantage and race 16
"How can Oracle have improved so fast and so drastically, that suddenly Team NZ are back to being the underdogs?"Featured comment
America's Cup defender Oracle Team USA cruised to its fifth win in a row after upsetting Emirates Team New Zealand at the start of race 16 on San Francisco Bay.
Although Team NZ held the port entry advantage, Oracle sped past to reach the first marker at the head of the initial long leg.
It remained that way for rest of the race, leaving the series at 8-6 and Team NZ still within matchpoint of lifting the cup.
But the odds are looking longer for the elusive New Zealand win, as Oracle holds a speed advantage and now needs only three wins to successfully defend the cup.
The form is even more convincing when Oracle started the series with a two-race penalty.
Halfway down the leg, Oracle had a comfortable 200m margin but Team NZ narrowed the gap with some superior tacking.
At the gate two marker, Oracle's lead was trimmed to 15s. The tacking duel continued with Oracle holding its lead.
At the top (third) marker, Oracle had stretched its advantage to 19s in a race with no highlights and little hope for Team NZ to make up for its poor start.
Oracle cruised past the fourth marker with a faster speed than the trailing New Zealanders and extending the time gap to 32s at the finish.
Hopes are high that light winds and pole position could favour Emirates Team NZ, which needs only one win to clinch the America's Cup.
The lack of wind has delayed the first race for 30 minutes until 8.45am (NZ time).
Team NZ remains on matchpoint but Oracle Team USA is on a roll after winning four races on the trot to bring the best-of nine series to 8-5.
Two races are scheduled today with Team NZ having the favoured port entry at the start of each.
Racing will not start unless the winds are deemed sufficient for a race to be completed within 40 minutes, as happened on Saturday when Team NZ had a clear lead but ran out of time.