SoftBank Team Japan v. Emirates Team New Zealand. Dean Barker (NZL) v. Peter Burling. For a change Deano loses a start. Burling is to leeward and hits the line nearly at full speed just a fraction of a second after the starting signal. Barker is uncharacteristically late by a couple seconds. NZL lead at the bear-away mark, and gradually speed away – less due to going faster, more so because of their incredibly stable foil-borne flight.
According to the NBCSN coverage, excellent again today, the Kiwis are maintaining 100% Fly Time (brought to you by BMW!) through the midpoint of the race, with JPN only on 98%.
So now with a 700m lead down the penultimate Leg 6, can the Kiwis maintain 100% Fly Time to the finish, making them the first team to do so? They round the final gate and...oops, did they splash down just before the finish? Oh, damn, yes, it looked to your Ed. like they did. Where's the stat, Ken? Yep, the final Fly Time stat for NZL is 99.6%. Kenny is talking about "judges" making the call on Fly Time, which seems to confirm what I said a few days ago that there is human involvement in the TV booth with this stat. A few days one of my FB friends said, no, there's a sensor on the boat and it's automated. We'll find out.
Either way, it was an amazing performance by the Kiwis. I suspect they splashed the boat on purpose to stop it from running at speed beyond the finish line, and they may have thought they had in fact already finished.
JPN finishes a massive 50 seconds behind, massive considering how much breeze there is.
As I noticed yesterday, I am pleased to see that: 1) ACTV have stopped taking so many annoying crowd shots, but then one suspects there is not as large a crowd in the grandstands now that we are a week into the series, and 2) they are not going to commercial breaks during the racing, but waiting until the race finishes and having more of them between races. JPN starting to look like soggy sushi when compared to the other teams save FRA and GBR.
Oops, I take it back on the annoying crowd shots – they're back.