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America’s Cup finals begin Saturday

The “September Showdown” for the 34th America’s Cup begins this weekend.

Cup holder Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill has cast his team as the underdog. Challenger Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker, says nothing less than victory will do.

Such are the storylines for the defender and challenger with the biggest race of their lives set to begin Saturday. 

“Anytime you’re the defender, there’s a target on your back,” said the 34-year-old Spithill. “The challengers get together and their goal is simple: They want to come out, knock you out and take the America’s Cup off you.”

The 41-year-old Barker replied, “I think both teams are ramping up to rip into it on Saturday. We’re very keen to get racing and I’m sure they are as well. It’s going to be a very, very interesting first weekend to try to get a feel for how the two boats shape up. Whether there are differences upwind, downwind, maneuvering, starting; all the different aspects we try to evaluate in house, that’ll all become reasonably apparent after the first four races.”

The first race is scheduled to start at 4:15 pm ET on Saturday. In the U.S., the America’s Cup Finals will be broadcast live on NBC and NBC Sports Network. Replays will be available on the America’s Cup YouTube channel. Saturday’s and Sunday’s racing will be broadcast live nationally from 2-4 p.m. Eastern on NBC.

Internationally, the America’s Cup Final can be viewed in more than 170 territories. All racing is also live on America’s Cup YouTube channel. (subject to territorial restrictions).

You can also follow racing with America’s Cup app for Android and iOS devices.

The winner of the 34th America’s Cup will be the first to win nine points. For the Kiwis that means nine race wins and for Oracle team USA it means 11 because of a penalty imposed by the International Jury. Racing is scheduled for Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with two races per day scheduled to start at 4:15 p.m. and 5:15 a.m. Eastern time.