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America’s Cup: Oracle turns to British Olympian as tactician

Emirates Team New Zealand sails past Alcatraz. (Jeff Chiu / AP)

Things are not going well for Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup races on San Francisco Bay, so it has done what teams do when they’re in trouble: make a change.

Oracle, in a “ship be sinking” sort of situation, has a new tactician today in its race against Emirates New Zealand “to see if Oracle can pull this out of the fire,” according to America’s Cup regatta director Iain Murray said (via the San Jose Mercury News). Ben Ainslie, a British sailor who was knighted for winning five Olympic gold medals, replaced John Kostecki after a sobering loss Tuesday.

“If they wanted to make a change and bring in an aggressive, fighting world match racing champion, they’ve got the right bloke,” Murray said. “I don’t think there’s many feistier people on the race course than Ben Ainslie.”

Oracle was winning Tuesday when its crew tried to lift its foils out of the water as it tacked — which has never been done before. The maneuver failed and the boat squandered its eight-second lead. The Kiwis lead four wins to minus-one for Oracle because of an earlier penalty.

“I think this Cup is still winnable for Oracle,” Ainslie told Sky Sports earlier in the week. “We’re obviously in a very difficult situation. If we can change the momentum of this series, then anything’s possible.”

Bringing Ainslie on board leaves Oracle with only one American on the crew.

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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