Stuart Alexander

Stuart Alexander is Sailing Correspondent for The Independent.

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Tension on board as Ben Ainslie (right) and Paul Goodison suffer a disappointing final day of the Extreme Sailing Series in Muscat, Oman, on the 40-foot catamaran J.P.Morgan/BAR

Sailing: Sir Ben Ainslie faces a struggle as America's Cup venue is yet to be announced

San Francisco has been dropped as the host

Sir Ben Ainslie played a role in Oracle Team USA's victory last year

America’s Cup 2017: Summit sees Sir Ben Ainslie join US talks

A busy weekend for Olympic champion and America’s Cup challenger Sir Ben Ainslie includes a flight to Los Angeles for a summit meeting at which all the potential challengers for the next cup, scheduled for 2017, will discuss problems with the current developments.

Bjorn Hansen on his way to the Alpari World Match Racing Series

Alpari World Match Racing Series 2014: Bjorn Hansen wins the Stena Match Cup on the waters of Marstrand to pip Ian Williams and his crew in best-of-five final

To the delight of his thousands of fellow Swedes watching from the cliffs all around the bay, Bjorn Hansen won the Stena Match Cup on what are as good as his home waters of Marstrand. That he should still be topping the table after two rounds of the Alpari World Match Racing series was of limited consolation to four times world champion Ian Williams and his GAC Pindar crew, who went down 1-3 in the best of five final.

Britain’s Ian Williams (left) and GAC Pindar crew Gerry Mitchell (centre) and Chris Main sit at 1-1 in the semi-final of the Stena Match Cup in Marstrand, Sweden

Stena Match Cup: Ian Williams and GAC Pindar pulled back from lead after penalty

It was honours even in both semi-finals of the Stena Match Cup in Marstrand as four-time world match racing champion Ian Williams and his GAC Pindar crew at first taking the lead against Italy’s Francesco Bruni, carrying Luna Rossa America’s Cup colours, but going into the clubhouse, which is a castle, 1-1.

Williams keeps up the pressure in Marstrand

Ian Williams and his GAC Pindar crew continued their impressive form on day three of the Stena Match Cup, part of the Alpari championship in Marstrand, Sweden, winning both his races and retaining his position at the top of the leader board, with 10 points.

There was plenty of spectacle in St. Petersburg as Switzerland’s Alinghi notched up another win in the Extreme Sailing Series

Extreme Sailing Series 2014: Leigh McMillan faces battle in his own head if he is to clinch third straight title while Sir Ben Ainsle enjoys successful Russian experience

McMillan took the series in 2012 and 2013 but Morgan Larson is determined to overhaul the British sailor this time around

Extreme Sailing Series 2014: Leigh McMillan’s end of day shocker hands Extreme Series advantage to Morgan Larson

Better, faster conditions saw the personal battle between Britain’s Olympian Leigh McMillan on The Wave Muscat and the American Morgan Larson on Switzerland’s Alinghi heat up as they stretched away from the other 10 catamarans contesting the Extreme Sailing Series regatta on St. Petersburg’s Neva River.

Out on its own, defending champion The Wave, Muscat, skippered by Leigh McMillan and with double gold medallist Sarah Ayton in the crew, trounced the opposition on the first race of the day in the Extreme Sailing Series on the Neva River, St. Petersburg.

Extreme Sailing Series 2014: America’s Cup cost concern is undercurrent in St Petersburg

Running the next America’s Cup in two venues half a world apart could cost Britain’s challenger, Ben Ainslie Racing, and others an extra $5m. One of the sticking points in the negotiations between the Australians, who helped draw up the rules, was an insistence by the American defender that the qualifiers should be staged early in 2017, and that means finding a southern hemisphere venue.

Flat conditions did not prevent spikey action between Team New Zealand and Red Bull on St. Petersburg’s Neva River on the opening day of the Extreme Sailing Series. The cathedral of St. Isaac stands quietly in the background.

Extreme Sailing Series 2014: Leigh McMillan and Morgan Larson renew their rivalry as the latter takes opening victory in capricious conditions

Constinency over the four days will determine the winner as last year's top-two with Sir Ben Ainslie lying in sixth

St. Petersburg sees Ben Ainslie face Leigh McMillan in full pursuit of a third Extreme Sailing Series title

The last time the fast-running waters of the Neva Riva played host to a successful invasion of the Winter Palace was at 21.45 on the 25 October, 1917. A blank round was fired from the cruiser Aurora signalling the storming of the palace, which also houses the Hermitage Museum collection, the start of the revolution which overturned Tsar Nicholas, and heralded the start of over 80 years of communist rule.

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