Update: 8:08AM HOLD your breath. The America's Cup is only moments away from being decided.
The day has dawned bright and breezy, similar to yesterday and earlier concerns about the weather have proved misplaced.Earlier race director Iain Murray said the expected strong winds were abating.
Today he has a 24.4 knot limit to work with, assisted by an incoming tide.
"An hour ago I was very concerned, now I'm a lot happier because the wind has eased," Murray said at his daily prerace briefing.
Team New Zealand and Oracle are now tied at 8-all on the scoreboard following the defenders' remarkable comeback which has seen them take seven wins in a row.
It's winner-takes-all today, the stakes are high but Murray won't budge on his safety limits if the winds go above his cut-off mark even if the teams want to race.
"I know we are all anxious for this thing to conclude today," Murray said of a final that has entered its 19th day.
Murray noted that none of the races in the final had been held in 24.4 knots of wind and there had already been some "hairy" moments, including Team New Zealand's near-capsize and yesterday Oracle digging in their bows in the tricky bear-away move at the first mark.
Team New Zealand have listed boss Grant Dalton on the boat today, continuing his rotation with Windston Macfarlane.
Emirates Team New Zealand: Skipper/helmsman: Dean Barker (14), Tactician: Ray Davies (10), Wing Trimmer: Glenn Ashby (3), Trimmer: James Dagg (9), Bow: Adam Beashel (2), Pit: Jeremy Lomas (8), Pedestal 1: Chris Ward (7), Pedestal 2: Rob Waddell (11), Pedestal 3: Grant Dalton (6), Pedestal 4: Chris McAsey (5), Float/Grinder: Derek Saward (12)
Oracle Team USA: Skipper: Jimmy Spithill (9), Tactician: Ben Ainslie (12), Strategist: Tom Slingsby (10), Wing trimmer: Kyle Langford (8), Jib trimmer: Joe Newton (5), Off-side trimmer: Rome Kirby (4), Grinders: Shannon Falcone (1), Joe Spooner (2), Jono MacBeth (3), Gillo Nobili (6), Simeon Tienpont (7)
The America's Cup website noted the importance of today's race on the skippers Jimmy Spithill and Dean Barker.
For Spithill, a win would mean a successful defense after a successful challenge in 2010, when Oracle won the Cup off Valencia, Spain.
Spithill currently holds a 12-10 record as a helmsman in races for the America's Cup, which ties him with Harold S. "Mike" Vanderbilt for third-most wins on the all-time list.
Russell Coutts leads with a 14-0 record and Dennis Conner is second at 13-10 (which doesn't include his role as starting helmsman for Courageous in its 4-0 sweep of the 1974 America's Cup).
For Barker, this is his fourth America's Cup Match and third full-time. He debuted to helm the Race 5 clincher in 2000 when Coutts abdicated the helm.
He holds an 11-20 record in the America's Cup Match from 2000, 2003, 2007 and this year.
America's Cup Skippers/Helmsmen All-Time Match Wins
1. Russell Coutts (NZL) - 14-0 (1995, 2000, '03)
2. Dennis Conner (USA) - 13-10 (17-10 including 1974 role as starting helmsman forCourageous)
3. Jimmy Spithill (AUS) - 12-8 (2010, '13)
4. Harold S. "Mike" Vanderbilt (USA) - 12-2 (1930, '34, '37)
5. Dean Barker (NZL) - 11-20 (2000 (1 race), '03, '07, '13)
6. Charlie Barr (SCO) - 9-0 (1899, 1901, '03)
7. Emil "Bus" Mosbacher (USA) - 8-1 (1962, '67)
8. Henry "Hank" Haff (USA) - 5-0 (1887, '95; also won twice as tactician in 1881, '86)
This is heady company for Spithill and Barker, as they are the only two in the top-eight not inducted to the America's Cup Hall of Fame.