AC35: Day 3, Race 13 (RR1) - GBR lose another, to FRA no less; are the wheels falling off?
GBR v. FRA. Land Rover BAR v. Groupama Team France. Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR) v. Frank Cammas (FRA). Can Cammas et Cie win another against the struggling British team who lost two races yesterday after that horrific crash with JPN on Saturday, for which they were penalized by the on-water-umpires and disqualified after the race by the jury for failing to avoid a collision resulting in serious damage. The DSQ was window dressing as it had no real affect given that JPN was able to complete the race and win.
As we said in our post earlier today with the weather forecast, it's a bit breezier than yesterday – 13 knots gusting to 17. FRA has struggled in windier conditions with foiling stability, looking as I said on Day 1 like a child's hobby horse. But so, too, has GBR. Today's on-the-water reporter for NBCSN's coverage is Christian Kamp (DEN) of Artemis Racing.
Cammas pooches the start and GBR launches to a big early lead, ahead by 15 secs at the first leeward gate. Groupama is already looking unstable and buries their bow while rounding up to begin Leg 3 upwind. Once again, NBCSN cuts away to commercials, and when they come back the teams have split, and FRA and GBR are nearly even on Virtual Spectator half-way up Leg 3. FRA passes just astern of GBR at the cross. Again, sideline-to-sideline drag racing, no match race covering. Coming into the top gate, FRA is on starboard, GBR on port tacks to ahead and to leeward of FRA to round the port end of the gate. FRA blows by them to windward. Lead change.
Down the run it's close. FRA pooches their second jibe, and it looks like GBR are gaining until they, too, crash off their foils during a jibe. FRA goes through the leeward gate ahead by 10 seconds. They take opposite ends and split. Ainslie has a bad tack and has fallen 200m behind half way up the 2nd windward leg. At the Leg 5 gate, FRA is ahead by almost 300m and stretching, the delta an astonishing 53 secs.
FRA are notably more stable today than on the first day of racing on Saturday, and they win by 53 secs. Are we witnessing the wheels fall of of yet another British AC campaign, or can the famously tough and tenacious four-time Olympic medalist rally his troops for a charge of the foiling brigade? Have FRA gotten that much better? If they keep this up, having shocked SWE yesterday, perhaps we'll start giving them more respect. Franck Cammas knows how to win in multihulls, and he appears to be figuring how to do it in the AC. Or are the Brits even worse than most think. We'll know more when FRA race JPN in today's third race.
FRA skipper Franck Cammas high-fiving his crew after another big win, this one over Ben Ainslie's GBR.