SAN FRANCISCO, United States - Emirates Team New Zealand have won the seventh race of the America's Cup, thwarting efforts by defending champion Oracle Team USA to rack up a desperately needed win.
The victory gives the Kiwi six victories and puts the challengers just three wins away from wresting yachting's coveted prize from the hands of Oracle Team USA, who have won only one race in the series.
New Zealand crossed the start slightly ahead of Oracle as the teams faced off in a test of pure speed until the upwind third leg that has consistently been the undoing of the American team.
Oracle was 56 seconds behind when it turned around the third mark, and New Zealand crossed the finish one minute and six seconds ahead.
"I'm very happy with the day," said New Zealand skipper Dean Barker.
"We could improve downwind, but we are pretty happy with the overall package."
Earlier in the day, the Kiwis came from behind to win the sixth race.
Oracle hit the start with precision, grabbing a lead that grew from the first to second marks.
But New Zealand seized control on the third leg.
New Zealand had about a 200-metre lead over Oracle at the third marker and crossed the finish line 47 seconds ahead of the Americans in the sixth race.
Oracle began the finals two points adrift after a pre-regatta penalty, and have won just one race, leaving them stuck on minus one and still needing 10 more wins to retain the Cup.