Day 5 began in a deadlock between Defiant and Heartbreaker. The regatta has been a series of streaks and it looked like that would continue yesterday but conditions were much different with light and variable wind around 5-6 knots.
The start of Race 9 would be in slow motion compared to the rest of the races. The light wind would force the teams to set up early for the start and this would cause both boats to be over early for the first time of the regatta. Heartbreaker would get back to restart first as the two boats would split tacks on the first beat.
Defiant would have the lead at mark 1 by 11 seconds. They would extend on the downwind to 15 seconds at the leeward mark. Heartbreaker would cut the delta to 10 seconds at the second windward mark only to have Defiant gain again downwind for a 19 seconds delta. This is opposite from Wednesday where Heartbreaker gained on every downwind.
The last upwind would be a tacking dual at Heartbreaker would try to get closer Defiant. This would work, as the delta at the final mark would be 11 seconds. The final downwind would be a gybing dual. Heartbreaker would close the gap but couldn't past Defiant. This would be the closet finish of
the Canada's Cup as Defiant would win by a mere two feet. Defiant would now hold a 5-4 lead.
Heartbreaker was flying a protest flag at the finish. They didn't file the protest but Heartbreakers tactician, John KOSTECKI, would ask to meet with the judges and a Defiant representative to discuss the rule about hiking during role tacks and gybes.
The conditions for the start of race 10 would be similar to race 9, light and variable. The start would be very slow with Defiant winning and both boats eventually heading to the right side of the course. The wind would drop to 3-4 knots on the first beat. Defiant would round the first mark with 15 second lead.
With the light conditions the boats stayed close together with Heartbreaker getting to within 7 seconds at the last leeward mark. Defiant would increase the lead to 22 seconds at the final mark.
The last downwind would be a nail-biter as the wind almost completely died. Both teams struggled to keep their spinnakers flying until the wind finally filled from behind giving Heartbreaker fans hope but Defiant would hold on to the lead for a 22 second delta and a commanding 6-4 lead in the Canada's Cup.
Day 6 could be interesting as the wind is supposed to increase. Heartbreaker has been better in the breeze but the pressure is on since Defiant needs to only win one more race to defend the Canada's Cup.
For more information on the last races of the Canada's Cup log onto canadascup.org for up to the minute mark rounding coverage.