Despite an eighth-place finish in the seventh race, Payton, with one first, four seconds, one sixth and one eighth, held on to his point lead till the very last day. Ficker, despite his disqualification, had climbed back into second place with three firsts, a third, a fifth and a seventh. If Ficker could put three boats between himself and Jim Payton, the Mallory Cup would stay in California. All Payton had to do to be sure of the cup was to finish fourth or better.
The next morning, as the boats jockeyed before the start, Payton looked back to find Bill Ficker's boat directly on his stern. Payton tacked. Ficker tacked. Payton sailed around the committee boat. Ficker stayed with him. The start was postponed twice, and through it all Ficker stayed on Payton's tail. Then the starting gun went off.
Ficker was not sailing to insure his second place. He was sailing to win, and moments after the start it became readily apparent that his position was impossible. If he drew Payton out from the fleet, Payton would cover him. They might finish up on top or down in the middle; it made no difference to Payton. If, however, Ficker drove back into the pack, he stood to be covered by Gardner Cox, the New Jersey contender, or Florida's Paul Schreck, both of whom could improve their positions by knocking Ficker down. Ficker tried both and both failed. As Payton said afterward, "We sailed his race: we didn't sail our own." The gamesman, game to the finish, acknowledged the horns and cheers at the end of his race with a wave of his own white sailing hat.
Payton, lucky blue hat shading his sunburned nose, sailed over to the committee boat to accept a tow back to port, and promptly fell off the bow into the Pacific. "That hat's getting kind of shaggy," he said later, beaming at the 150-year-old cup on the banquet table. "It turned all green out there."