The two teams had been tied for the overall lead heading into Thursday's race. However, because sailors drop their worst of five finishes today, the victory assures KUSZNIEREWICZ and ZYCKI second in the overall standings, six points behind PEPPER and GILES. Today was Pepper's only finish out of the top three this week.
''We're just gonna go for it tomorrow,' said LÖÖF. 'We hope the two top teams are so occupied with each other that we can surprise them both.'
Meanwhile, Australia's Iain MURRAY and crew Andrew PALFREY were disqualified for an early start Thursday and fall to fourth overall. Bermuda's Peter BROMBY a two-time Bacardi Cup champion who sails this week with crew Bill MCNIVEN, also was disqualified for an early start and remains in fifth overall.
PEPPER and GILES showed good speed off the starting line and rounded the first mark in the lead, just ahead of KUSZNIEREWICZ and ZYCKI. The Polish team proved faster downwind today and would round the remaining three marks ahead of PEPPER and GILES.
With a commanding lead heading into the final leg, KUSZNIEREWICZ and ZYCKI protected well against an aggressive attack from PEPPER and GILES, who made substantial gains upwind, but could not overtake the Polish team for the win.
'We're faster than PEPPER downwind, but he's faster upwind,' said KUSZNIEREWICZ. 'When there are no big winds and no big waves, like today, we can maintain good speed upwind. But it was the small things that played in our favor today; we were very tactical and our technique was sound.'
'I think we've secured a top three, but we want to win,' he added. Both [PEPPER] and [Loof] have a bad discard, so we have to be prepared for a good fight tomorrow. At least no one can sit out the final race.'
More than 75 teams representing 23 countries are competing in the 80th Bacardi Cup Star Class Regatta, one of the most competitive and highly anticipated Star Class events in the world.
The Bacardi Cup Star Class Regatta is co-hosted by the Coral Reef Yacht Club and the U.S. Sailing Center, both based in Coconut Grove, and is sponsored by BACARDI U.S.A., Inc.