SAN FRANCISCO - Oracle Team USA have completed a stunning comeback to claim the 34th America's Cup after defeating Team New Zealand in the deciding contest on San Francisco Bay.
Oracle were behind at the first two marks but superior boat speed on the third leg upwind allowed them to overhaul the challengers to lead by 26 seconds rounding the third mark.
They were never in danger of being headed over the closing two legs and held on to win by 44s and take the best-of-17 final 9-8.
The defenders had been 8-1 down in the contest but then reeled off seven straight wins to tie the score at 8-8 leading to Wednesday's winner-take-all race to see who would lift sailing's biggest prize.
They had to win 11 races on the water to lift the trophy after being handed a two-point penalty they copped before the regatta for illegal modifications during the 2012 lead-up competitions.
Piloted by Australian skipper James Spithill, Oracle Team USA have completed one of sport's greatest comebacks to break New Zealand hearts and retain the 34th America's Cup.
The US syndicate won race 19 by 44 seconds to beat challengers Team New Zealand 9-8, capping a remarkable final series which they trailed 8-1 a week ago.
Oracle's crew celebrated wildly as they crossed the line, their improved crew work and substantial upgrades to their AC72 catamaran the key to a monumental turnaround.
The Team NZ sailors were a picture of dejection, with their boat once again unable to match the speed of the holders.