It was, with a nod to Red Sox fans, the sports comeback of all time. Emirates Team New Zealand, the clear leader early in the America’s Cup, was unable to stave off a late charge by Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA that suddenly found legs to sweep the final eight races and win the Auld Mug. In each race, the Kiwis were on match point and, for eight races, they lost to a steadily improving Oracle.
The International Jury for the America’s Cup levied multiple penalties on Oracle Team USA for modifications the syndicate made to its AC45 catamarans in 2012. Three members of the American syndicate, headed by software billionaire Larry Ellison, have been excluded from the America’s Cup Finals.
As the chase for the America’s Cup continues in San Francisco Bay, a buildup of bad news could make for an ugly finish to the fabled yacht regatta. On the heels of troubles from a series plagued by soaring boat costs, a scarcity of challengers, a crash that killed a crewmember, intense rules disagreements and one-sided races comes a cheating scandal.