Oracle Team USA wins fifth straight America’s Cup

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SAN FRANCISCO — Skipper Jimmy Spithill accelerated his 72-foot catamaran off the starting line and steered defending champion Oracle Team USA to its fifth straight win against Emirates Team New Zealand to stay alive in the America’s Cup.

The 34-year-old Spithill and his brain trust of Olympic gold medalists — British tactician Ben Ainslie and Australian strategist Tom Slingsby — kept the American-backed boat ahead the whole way around the five-leg course on San Francisco Bay for a 33-second victory.

Oracle Team USA, owned by software tycoon Larry Ellison, has won eight races. But it was docked two points — the harshest penalty in the 162-year history of the America’s Cup — for illegally modifying boats in warmup regattas called the America’s Cup World Series, so it needs three more wins to keep the Auld Mug.

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