JPN v. FRA. SoftBank Team Japan v. Groupama Team France. Dean Barker (NZL) v. Frank Cammas (FRA). It's the last race of Round Robin 1, and the last race of only three races today. It's FRA's second race today due to a quirk in the schedule while the others had only one race or, in the case of OTUSA, none – they had three races yesterday. As exciting as the previous NZL-SWE match was, this is sheer boredom. It was over at the start which JPN won handily and literally flew away with 10 knots more boat speed.
The TV commentators were reduced to talking about whether or not JPN could maintain their Foiling Percentage (brought to you by BMW!) at 100%. Up the second weather leg JPN are judged, by whomever in the TV booth is in charge of this stat, to have fallen off their foils for a split second, dropping their percentage to 99. Oh dear. Not to mention that they are more than a kilometer ahead of the French by then, make that a mile.
Later in the race FRA dialed it back, so the final delta is not all that meaningful: 2m34s, from memory the biggest delta of RR1 by a second or two. A moral-boosting win for Dean Barker and the boys, who must have been wondering what they'd be up against after seeing what FRA did to GBR in the first race of today.
The take-away from today? No, the French aren't getting better despite having beaten the Brits in today's first race; it's that, as many suspected pre-regatta (including SAILING ILLUSTRATED), the Brits are pretty bloody awful.