Origin end on a high note in Sardinia

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The Independent Online

The notorious Mistral blew the Audi MedCup off its Sardinian track on Saturday, but not before a boisterous finale saw Britain's Team Origin bring the curtain down on a high note and Emirates Team New Zealand, with back-to-back championship wins, confirm its place as the world’s top sailing outfit.

Ben Ainslie steered Origin into the lead of the only race of the day, the boat revelling in the downhill sleigh rides as the wind, never below 23 knots, gusted to just below gale force.

At the finish they had to concede to the Franco-German All4One and were disappointed to be sixth in their final TP52 regatta, though fourth for the 44-race season. The team now hopes to move into America’s Cup mode. That will take finance of over £100m. Time is running out.

Both Ainslie and his tactician Iain Percy are adamant that the circuit has provided top class racing and has been important to the development of Team Origin.

But it is highly unlikely that the boat, designed by Juan Kouyoumdjian and new this season, will race next in a series which confirmed three more years of sponsorship support earlier this week. It is expected to race in the Solent under new ownership.

The Sardinia event was won by the Argentinian team Matador, which is building a new boat for next season, with the American 2008 champions Quantum, also building a new boat, runners up.

Listen: Stuart Alexander talks to Iain Percy

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