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Judge denies sailor's attempt to have America's Cup champion's boat confiscated

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SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge has denied a New Zealand sailor's request to have America's Cup champion Oracle Team USA's boat confiscated as a seaman's lien against unpaid wages.

In a decision Monday, Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero wrote that he found no basis for a maritime lien in the lawsuit filed by former grinder Joe Spooner, whose contract was terminated in January.

Spooner filed suit in U.S. District Court earlier this month asking that federal marshals be sent to "arrest" the foiling 45-foot catamaran that the two-time America's Cup champion is testing on San Francisco Bay and keeps at Pier 80.

Spooner said in his filing that his contract for $25,000 a month was terminated in January without cause. He was a grinder with Oracle Team USA during its America's Cup victories in 2010 and 2013.

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