Spithill steers Oracle to big Race 9 win



SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Skipper Jimmy Spithill steered defending champion Oracle Team USA to an impressive wire-to-wire victory in Race 9 of the America’s Cup on Sunday, finishing 47 seconds ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand.

Oracle Team USA, owned by software tycoon Larry Ellison, won consecutive races for the first time and trails the Kiwis 6-1. Oracle entered the series with a two-point penalty for the biggest cheating scandal in the Cup’s 162-year history, so it needs eight more victories to keep the trophy.

Team New Zealand needs three more wins to claim the Auld Mug.

Oracle is 2-2 since British Olympic star Ben Ainslie replaced John Kostecki as tactician.

Oracle recently made changes to its wing sail and jib setup to have the boat better balanced and is sailing much better upwind on San Francisco Bay.

Race 10 was scheduled for later Sunday.