Simone Ferrarese of Italy and Will Tiller of New Zealand sailed through their round robins with 6-1 records enhanced by 2-0 wins in the quarterfinals on Friday.
And Ferrarese won the privilege of picking his semifinals opponent by dealing Tiller his only loss in the last two weeks, including an 11-0 effort in the Butler Cup earlier this month.
Be assured the Italian, ranked 21st in the world, won't pick the Kiwi, who is ranked 35th, so it will be either Chris Nesbitt from Balboa Yacht Club down the coast or Bob Hughes from Michigan's Macatawa Bay YC. Both are 6-4 overall through the quarterfinals.
said Ferrarese, who had just swept the overwhelmed and winless Mike Komar, 2-0.
A brisk and bone-chilling breeze blew southwest to west up to 14 knots through the afternoon, perhaps an encore to Saturday's forecast for rain.
Ferrarese beat Tiller by one and a half boat lengths in the closest match of the day but may have had a little help from an intruder along the way.
"A boat from another match took us out,"
Tiller said, and Ferrarese agreed.
Hughes drew a pre-start penalty against Australia's David Chapman but sailed a solid race to put himself in strong position to erase it at the finish line and clinch their quarterfinal sailoff. But as he was dropping his spinnaker near the race committee boat and starting his 270-degree turn, the plan went awry.
The on-water umpires quickly ruled that he hadn't completed his turn properly, and as he turned to re-cross the finish line he ran over the spinnaker and went dead in the water as Chapman breezed past for the win.
No matter. Hughes won the deciding race to reach the sailoffs.
Bob Hughes (USA) def. David Chapman (AUS), 2-1.
Chris Nesbitt (USA) d. John Horsch (USA), 2-1.
William Tiller (NZL) d. Dustin Durant (USA), 2-0.
Simone Ferrarese (ITA) d. Michael Komar (USA), 2-0.