Ainslie and Williams dominate in St. Moritz

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The Independent Online

While the scramble for the final place in the quarter final of the St. Moritz regatta in the World Match Race Tour went down to the wire, standing dominant at the top were the two British contenders, America's Cup skipper and triple gold medallist Ben Ainslie and former double world champion Ian Williams.

Williams' GAC Pindar team had a nine wins to two losses record while Ainslie's Team Origin, which yesterday confirmed it will compete at the Dubai regatta for America's Cup teams in November, posted 8-3.

The quarter, semi and final matches will all be staged on Saturday and Sunday in conditions that remain unpredictable and testing.

In San Francisco, with two days to go, Britain's Ed Wright and Giles Scott retained first and third in the Gold Cup world championship for the Finn singlehanded class.

As the lighter Olympic singlehander, the Laser, moved into the gold and silver fleets of the world championship in Hayling Island, the reigning world and Olympic champion Paul Goodison had a dark day, black-flag disqualified from the first of two races in a near-perfect 12 to 15-knot breeze.

Things improved only marginally in the second race after a more cautious start left him struggling and a collision with a French competitor incurred a penalty turn pushing him down to 17th.

That left Goodison lying fifth overall, 23 points behind the Australian leader, Tom Slingsby, with four races to go. But second equal on points with New Zealand's Andrew Maloney, is Goodison's young rival Nick Thompson.

The company behind Ellen MacArthur's round the world and Atlantic sailing records, the Isle of Wight-based Offshore Challenges, which became the OC Group, has merged with the Swiss-based ThirdPole adventure sports and event group.

Dame Ellen no longer has any financial interest in the group, but her business partner and OC boss, Mark Turner, will be executive chairman of the newly-formed sports management company and the OC staff will remain on the Isle of Wight.

Highest profile current activities include the organisation of the Extreme Sailing Series in Europe, with the expectation that this will extend to the Middle East. It also runs the Artemis short-handed sailing academy in conjunction with the Open 60 which this week won the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race and has been in charge of the Open 60 Singlehanded Transatlantic Race from Plymouth.

Turner had been front runner to become chief executive of the next America's Cup management organisation. The latest move precludes that appointment, but would not prevent ThirdPole, through its OC Group partner, from providing a range of services to the Cup management company when it becomes operational.