Fortunately, pitman Wally Henry saw Fennelly's predicament and kept him from going overboard by grabbing the only appendage he could get a grip on—Fennelly's head. Bowman Jerry Kirby, while holding on to the rail with one hand, jumped into the water with his knife, preparing to cut the sheet. "If you scream, I'll cut it," he told Fennelly. Both of them knew that if the sheet was cut, it would almost certainly cost A³ the race. So Fennelly gritted his teeth, and the trimmers at last eased the sail enough for Kirby to unwrap the sheet from Fennelly's ankle.
By comparison, Saturday's clinching race was a Kochwalk. Dellenbaugh again got the favored left side of the course at the start. Melges took over the helm and steered America³ to an 18-second lead at the first mark; Koch maintained it through the reaches; and then Melges fended off a late Cayard charge. As their boat crossed the finish line for the last time, Koch and Melges pretended to fight for the wheel like a couple of kids.
"Was it worth it? Would I do it again?" Koch later wondered aloud. "I don't know. Not if it cost $64 million."
However, Koch's face showed a satisfaction that hinted that he had, in fact, gotten a helluva bang for his buck. And, yes, there was some relief in his face too. For if he had been a fool to rush in where corporate angels feared to tread, at least he had been a successful fool. "Everybody in the world thought we couldn't do it," said Koch. "But we did it, dammit."
Did that make the victory sweeter? Koch smiled. He had done it his way, start to finish. "You bet your ass," he said.