According to custom, the Americans were provided with a local pilot as a "courteous assistance." Courtesy or not, Cap'n Nat resented this form of interference to the depths of his maverick soul. On the last leg of the race Vigilant was well up on Britannia and the issue seemed decided when the British pilot cautioned Herreshoff to keep his vessel well offshore. There were dangerous rocks and shoals along the coast, he said.
Nat Herreshoff was bound to accede. The instant he pulled off course, however, Britannia slipped shoreward, taking advantage of a breeze well known to local sailors, and won the race with authority. Vigilant was beaten and the pride of the royal family salvaged in the nick of time. The English pilot had done no more than his loyal duty.
In his elation, Albert Edward was moved to a generous gesture. He signaled that he was coming over to shake hands with his opponent. That was the last straw. Fuming, Nathanael Herreshoff lied below decks and hid there until the prince had left.