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Larry Ellison-backed Oracle Team USA takes America's Cup

In one of the most epic comebacks in recent sports history, Oracle Team USA wins the exciting final race in the 34th America's Cup to hold on to its defender title. Meanwhile, over at Oracle OpenWorld...

Oracle Team USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand to win the 34th America's Cup Wednesday.
ACEA photo/Gilles Martin-Raget

OpenWorld, Shmo-penWorld. The real Oracle action Wednesday happened on the San Francisco Bay, where Oracle Team USA cemented an astounding America's Cup comeback by winning the whole shebang to hold on to its defender title.

The Race 19 victory crowned a return from the losing side that many are calling one of greatest turnarounds in recent sports history. Lagging behind finals competitor Emirates Team New Zealand by seven points just a week ago, the team backed by Oracle founder and billionaire Larry Ellison won Race 17 by 27 seconds and Race 18 by 54 seconds Tuesday to erase what once seemed like an insurmountable lead and tie for first.

"The boat is just getting faster and faster," Oracle Team USA's skipper, the picturesquely named Jimmy Spithill, said Tuesday. "The boys are really starting to believe now. There's a lot of good energy on board. We'll try to use that for the next race."

And they did, trailing at the start but ultimately sailing away with a 44-second victory over Emirates Team New Zealand. Ellison watched the exciting winner-take-all finale in the 34th America's Cup from a boat on the bay as his company touted Oracle's Cloud Marketplace and the Oracle Cloud Database Service at the company's OpenWorld conference over at San Francisco's Moscone Center.

For some sailing geeks, this year's finals have been as much about the high-tech 72-foot catamarans created specifically for this Cup as who wins. Powered by a highly engineered wing sail that stands 131 feet, the AC72 can rise from the water on twin hulls and hydrofoil at top speeds more than double those of wind speed, around 46 mph. The speedsters measure 72 feet long by 46 feet wide and weigh a relatively light 13,000 pounds.

A single yacht costs between $8 million and $10 million to build, a price tag that kept the number of boats in this year's Cup small compared with races past.

Oracle Team USA won the 33rd America's Cup in Valencia, Spain, in February 2010, fulfilling a 10-year ambition. It picked San Francisco as the host city for the 34th America's Cup.

Big crowds await the start of Wednesday's America's Cup finale in San Francisco. ACEA photo/Gilles Martin-Raget