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Oracle Team USA Fans Eager for Comeback Victory at Final America's Cup Race

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Oracle Team USA skippered by James Spithill crosses the finish line ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand skippered by Dean Barker during race 17 of the America's Cup Finals on September 24, 2013 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

    Oracle Team USA came up from behind to tie the score in the America's Cup Finals this Tuesday.

    The American team won its seventh consecutive race against Emirates Team New Zealand, which had an 8-1 lead over Oracle just last week.

    After two wins this afternoon, the score is now 8-8, with nine races needed to win the Cup -- so the team that wins the next race will be the ultimate victor. The final race is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Wednesday.

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    Marcie Cooke, 29, from Northland, New Zealand, on vacation in San Francisco this week, said she is confident the Kiwi team will ultimately clinch the Cup.

    "It's a bit nerve-racking," she said. "But it'd be great to bring
    it home."

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    She noted that she feels surrounded by Americans who have increased their presence at America's Cup Park at Pier 27/29 as the home team steadily earns points.

    One American supporter, retiree Barbara Sterner, 73, of Millbrae, said she's a loyal Giants fan who has gotten immersed in sailing in the past few weeks.

    She said the visiting Kiwis have been helpful and patient while she learns about the nautical sport although she is rooting for Oracle.

    "I absolutely think they can do it now," she said. "I'm really excited for them."

    After the second Oracle win of the day, Pleasanton resident Andy Maceiko, 59, said he was "feeling great."

    He said he expected New Zealand to win at one of the many opportunities in the past week, but now he is optimistic about Oracle's chances.

    "The odds are with the Oracle team," he said, standing at the edge of the pier snapping shots of the 72-foot catamarans at the finish line with his brother, Ted Maceiko, 51.

    His brother flew up from Los Angeles to see today's races and hopes to catch the deciding race Wednesday.

    Disappointed Emirates fans Karen Edwards and Mark Gallop, of Palo Alto, said Wednesday will be the Kiwis' day.

    "It feels like Groundhog Day," Edwards said. "We keep saying today's the day. Now tomorrow's the day."

    Edwards' partner Gallop is a New Zealand native who has lived in the Bay Area for 25 years. The couple has been rooting for the visiting team.

    "I didn't think it would be this close," Edwards said.

    Oracle, the defending champion, has won 10 races, but the team was penalized two points before the finals for illegally modifying its boats during exhibition races in 2012 and earlier this year.

    The races were expected to end Saturday, but have continued with Oracle's comeback and fickle conditions on the water causing repeated delays.