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.

Sam Matson leads rookies as Yann Elies clinches second leg victory in the Figaro Solo Race

Matson finished the leg the third of this year's debutants but held onto his lead while Fabien Delahaye, Jérémie Beyou and Alexis Loison fill the overall top three

The Figaro solo race has experienced a slow start with two sailors battling for the lead

Sailing: Lead for Figaro Solo Race disputed but no British sailors in the top 10

An agonisingly slow slog out to the Fastnet Rock was testing the Figaro Solo Race fleet as it passed Land’s End. There are no British/Irish sailors in the top 10 where the lead is being disputed between Gildas Morvan and Yann Elies, who had to retire when leading leg one from Deauville to Plymouth. He was dismasted at Wolf Rock.

The Figaro solo race will begin its second, 540-mile leg from Plymouth out to the Fastnet Rock off the south-west corner of Ireland

Figaro solo race begins

Good weather could be bad karma for the fleet of 38 as the Figaro solo race begins its second, 540-mile leg from Plymouth out to the Fastnet Rock off the south-west corner of Ireland then back to the finish in the fishing and ferry port of Roscoff on the northern tip of Brittany.

Figaro Solo Race 2014: Young Briton Sam Matson comes twelfth in first leg

His mother looked on proudly, his father was on his way back from the round Britain and Ireland yacht race to join the celebrations, but the smile on 23-year old Sam Matson’s face lit up the whole of an already sunny Plymouth Sound at the end of the first leg of the Figaro Solo Race.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Sir Ben Ainslie at National Maritime Museum in Greenwich for the Ben Ainslie America's Cup Launch today

Sir Ben Ainslie announces British bid to win the 35th America's Cup

A lord, three knights of the realm, and a core fund of £32m. underpinned, at Britain’s naval heart, the claim that they were “absolutely confident we can win it, we wouldn’t be standing here if we didn’t think that.”

Sweet success for, left to right, Ian Williams, Gerry Mitchell, Bill Hardesty, Mal Parker and Matt Cornwell as Team GAC Pindar wins the opening German march race event of the Alpari season at Langenargen

Match Race Germany: British sailor Ian Williams wins with Team GAC Pindar at Langenargen

An emphatic start to his bid for a fifth world title was made by Ian Williams as his Team GAC Pindar plundered a runaway win at Langenargen of Match Race Germany.

No help for Rich Mason of Weymouth as one of eight Brits starting the first leg of the Figaro solo race from Deauville to Plymouth.

Figaro Solo Race 2014: Sam Goodchild leads the British charge as frustrating conditions and fierce competition lie ahead

Goodchild made a strong start to the Figaro but admits his own expectations mean he has a lot to live up to

Four-time world champion Ian Williams’ GAC Pindar topped the qualifying stage of the opening Alpari 2014 event at Langenargen, Germany

Team GAC Pindar’s skipper Ian Williams finishes top of Match Race Germany qualifying

Williams scores 10-1 to finish first with Phil Robertson in second

Boats float along the shoreline of the polluted waters of Guanabara Bay

Olympic Games 2016: Rio's sailing test event to be held in polluted Guanabara Bay

30 sailors will race in all 10 classes against their international rivals on the same racecourses which have been designated for 2016

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

Olympic golden boy Sir Ben Ainslie lines up £50m America's Cup gamble

Competitors for an at least £50m. assault on the America’s Cup may not even make it to the final shoot-out under the new rules issued months after they were expected for the next event in 2017. Nor do they know where the racing will be staged, but they do know they have to stump up $2m. in entry fees, to be paid in two instalments this year, and find an additional performance bond of $1m. plus guaranteeing to insure all their team members and be responsible for their safety. This is consequential on the death of British gold medallist Andrew Simpson while training with the Swedish challenger Artemis on San Francisco Bay in May 2013.

Team GAC Pindar skipper Ian Williams, four-time winner of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, starts his quest for a record-breaking five card trick in Germany next week

Ian Williams prepares for Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Fighting fit and raring to go, four times world match racing tour champion Ian Williams has stepped up the intensity of his crew’s preparations as he bids for a record-breaking fifth title in Germany next week.

Solo sailor Sam Goodchild (centre) hopes there will be more champagne moments for Team Plymouth next month’s Figaro Race

Sam Goodchild targets success for Team Plymouth in next month’s Figaro Race

The Vendee Globe solo race is the young man's dream

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