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Emirates Team New Zealand Wins Louis Vuitton Cup, 7-1
Photo by Chris Cameron, Click on image for photo gallery.

America's Cup Emirates Team New Zealand won the 30th anniversary Louis Vuitton Cup with a 3:20 victory over Italy's Luna Rossa Challenge in the eighth and deciding race. The Kiwis, who beat Luna Rossa in the previous Louis Vuitton Cup in 2007, won the series 7-1.

The victory makes Emirates Team New Zealand the official challenger to ORACLE TEAM USA for the 34th America's Cup in the "September Showdown" beginning Sept. 7. It's the fifth time in the past six America's Cup Matches that the Kiwis will be a contestant in the match.

Emirates Team New Zealand led by 16 seconds at Mark 1, 1:31 at Mark 2, 2:58 at Mark 3, and 3:18 at Mark 4.

Race 8 Performance Data

Course: 5 Legs/10.26 nautical miles
Elapsed Time: ETNZ - 33:49, LR - 37:09
Delta: ETNZ +3:20
Total distance sailed: ETNZ - 11.9 NM , LR - 12.3 NM
Average Speed: ETNZ - 21.27 knots (24 mph), LR - 20.04 knots (23 mph)
Top Speed: ETNZ - 41.19 knots (47 mph), LR - 38.73 knots (44 mph)

Emirates Team New Zealand Crew List
Skipper/helmsman: Dean Barker (14), Tactician: Ray Davies (10), Wing Trimmer: Glenn Ashby (3), Trimmer: James Dagg (9), Bow: Adam Beashel (2), Pit: Jeremy Lomas (8), Pedestal 1: Chris Ward (7), Pedestal 2: Rob Waddell (11), Pedestal 3: Winston MacFarlane (3), Pedestal 4: Chris McAsey (5), Float/Grinder: Derek Saward (12)

Luna Rossa Challenge Crew List
Skipper/pit: Max Sirena (4), Helmsman: Chris Draper (11), Tactician: Francesco Bruni (9), Wing trim: Xabi Fernandez (4), Wing grinder: Lele Marino (13), Trimmer: Pierluigi de Felice (10), Pit/grinder: Freddie Carr (23), Bow: Nick Hutton (2), Primary grinder: Wade Morgan (88), Strategist/Grinder: Giles Scott (41), Freestyle: Marco Montis (51)

Switzerland and Oman Tied On Points Ahead of Cardiff Final Showdown
Photo by Mark Lloyd, Click on image for photo gallery.

Extreme Sailing Series As the public descended on Cardiff Bay in their thousands to watch the eight international Extreme 40 teams in action at the Extreme Sailing Series Cardiff presented by Land Rover, the intensity on the Extreme 40 playground couldn't have been fiercer as longstanding 2013 Series rivals Alinghi and The Wave, Muscat head into tomorrow's final showdown tied on points.

However victory is far from a forgone conclusion for either, with the Danish duo on SAP Extreme Sailing Team firing on all cylinders with the Swiss and Omani teams locked in their sights just two points adrift. And no one could rule out the Austrian double Olympic gold medallists on Red Bull Sailing Team who have had a return to their winning form in Cardiff, wrapping up proceedings on the penultimate day with a race win giving them a big psychological boost ahead of tomorrow's battle of the Bay.

The tight Cardiff Bay racecourse continued to test the teams with big gusts sweeping across the course from the surrounding buildings and very little room to manouvre.

In a fleet that includes Olympic heroes, America's Cup winners and world champions, it is no mean feat for a new team to step in and mix it up with the big players. But today, the three new teams competing in Cardiff proved they could do just that.

The final battle of the Bay will play out tomorrow from 1400 local time hosted by the Cardiff Harbour Festival with the final Act deciding races including the all-important double-pointer streamed live from 1600-1700 BST.

Position / Team / Points

1. Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey, 166 points
2. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Ed Smyth, Pete Greenhalgh, Musab Al Hadi, Hashim Al Rashdi, 166
3. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Kostner, Pete Cumming, Mikkel Rossberg, Nicolai Sehested, 164
4. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Matthew Adams, Simon Cooke, Graeme Spence, 157
5. Realteam (SUI) Jerome Clerc, Bruno Barbarin, Tanguy Cariou, Cedric Schmidt, Thierry Wassem, 130
6. ChinaSpirit (CHN) Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, William Wu, James Williamson, Nick Catley, 115
7. GAC Pindar (NZL) Brad Farrand, Ian Williams, Thomas Hedegaard, Thomas Bentham, Tom Blampied, 98
8. Team Wales Land Rover (GBR) Dave Evans, Chris Grube, Bleddyn Mon, Tudur Owen, Trystan Seal, 89

Gazprom International Dragon Gold Cup
Photo by Jacques Vapillon / Sea&Co, Click on image to enlarge.

Gazprom International Dragon Gold Cup After six days of racing triumph at the Gazprom International Dragon Gold Cup for Ukrainian Markus Wiezer and his team (UKR 7) - a victory pieced together one day at a time with true consistency and spirit. The racing finished beautifully on the Bay of Douarnenez and proved to be much more invigorating than on previous days. The virtuoso of the day was Marcus Brennecke (GER 11) who won the last race of the Gold Cup with apparent ease, by leading

Not one faux pas for Bunker Queen on their road to victory, in fact their performance in this year's Gold Cup has been magnificent; finishing in the top ten boats throughout the week, with the exception of today's race where they crossed the line in 28th position. At some time or other during the week all the favourites have stumbled and seen their victory slip from their hands. Unable to withdraw a race from the rankings the Gazprom International Dragon Gold Cup allows no margin for error.

A careful Markus Wieser crossed the line in the middle of the fleet. Despite a clear 36 points advantage over Bunker Boys (UKR 8), the Bunker Queen boss (UKR 7) was not intending to take even the slightest risks, "I'm happy. I'm not going to put myself under any pressure but I'm well aware that the Gold Cup is far from finished," he claimed this morning before heading out to the start area.

His direct pursuer in the overall classification Yevgen Braslavets, seemed determined to snatch as many points of possible from them, passing the windward mark up with the first ten, whilst Markus Wieser was back in 25th position. It was Marcus Brennecke's (GER 11) Dragon that set the pace from the first mark rounding and maintained the pressure as each mile passed, followed by Jose Matoso (POR 55) who sailed a fabulous race. Likewise Thomas Muller (GER 1133) made a spectacular come back of 10 positions and in just a few miles sailed into his third-place and podium position.

Final top five:

1. Markus Wieser, UKR7, 54 points
2. Yevgen Braslavets, UKR8, 74
3. Pieter Heerema, NED412, 75
4. Thomas Muller, GER1133, 83
5. Anatoly Loginov, RUS27, 86

Complete results (PDF)

Paralympic World Sailing Championships
Glorious sunshine and 10-12 knot winds welcomed the 120 sailors from 19 nations to Kinsale for the practice race in advance of the start of the Cork County IFDS World Championships.

In the Sonar class, London 2012 Bronze medallist Norway's Aleksander Wang-Hansen did not compete in the practice race however the London 2012 Gold medallist Udo Hessels started and finished mid-fleet. Corkman Paul McCarthy on IRL697 had a good race finishing in second place but the race was won by USA's Rick Doerr and his crew. Irish Paralympian John Twomey, Anthony Hegarty and Ian Costello on Providence Team IRL finished in 7th place.

On Course B, in the singlehanded 2.4mR class, 39 of the 46 competitors took part in today's practice race with Germany's Heiko Kroeger, who won silver at London 2012, getting the bullet. He was followed by Damien Seguin from France and Italian Antonio Squizzato in third. Helena Lucas from the UK who won Gold in Weymouth did not participate in today's race.

Also on Course B the nine Skud 18 sailors completed their race with John McRoberts from Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Canada taking line honours. The Netherlands' Vera Voorbach was second and Italy's Marco Gualandris third.

The championships will get underway Monday at 12 noon with two races planned daily until Friday. As predicted the wind died off this afternoon to around 4 knots with just 2-3 knots expected for tomorrow's racing.

J24 Worlds
Photo by David Branigan, Click on image for photo gallery.

J24 Worlds The BMW J24 World Championship, which has attracted 40 entries form 10 countries, gets underway in earnest at Howth Yacht Club tomorrow (Monday 26th) with the first two races in the week-long event.

A practice race today on the water's between Lambay Island and Ireland's Eye in light northerly/north-westerly winds saw half the fleet fail to complete the course, as is customary, while former Irish Champion JP McCaldin from Lough Erne took line honours ahead of Japanese entry Koji Matsumoto and G. Bonanno of Italy.

Among the favourites for the World title are defending champion Mauricio Santa Cruz (Brazil), Ian Southworth (GB), Tim Healy (USA) and Luis Olcese (Peru). Eleven Irish crews qualified for the event, with the young Howth U-25 crew on 'Euro Car Parks Killcullen', the new Irish champions, heading the local challenge.

End of an Era
Today we bid farewell to the Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship, an event that helped establish so many reputations, careers, and friendships. And though I mourn the end of a great era, what a relief it will be if "women's sailing" can just be "sailing" going forward.

Many of us who made "the Rolex" (as it was known to the sailing world after its former title sponsor) a biennial fixture in our sailing calendars can barely remember a world with only one women's Olympic class, no women's keelboat sailing, and no women's match racing—which is where we stood in 1985, when regatta founder Helen Ingerson brought female sailors from around the world together for a new event in Newport, RI. Sailed in J/24s by teams of six (and, in some cases, seven) women, the classic conditions of Newport in September called us back every other year, between babies and sometimes husbands, to catch up with old friends, make a few new ones, and test ourselves on the international stage.

The regatta aged well for its first few decades, moving into J/22s for three rounds in Annapolis (where in 2003 the fleet topped sixty boats). Then it moved again, to Houston in 2007, and then on to Rochester, NY for the most recent events. Many of us kept showing up, partly out of habit and partly to renew acquaintances from around the country and the world. But entry numbers were declining, and in 2011 only two international teams showed up.

This year's regatta (scheduled to take place in a few weeks, out of Marblehead's Eastern Yacht Club) was cancelled "due to lower than expected registration numbers," which at last count were a dozen or so. The press release goes on to say "We are looking ahead to the 2015 event," though no location (or boat) is specified yet. -- Carol Cronin in

Finn Gold Cup
The Finn Gold Cup opening ceremony took the sailors to the fascinating Seaplane Harbour. One of the highlights of the evening was Gus Miller receiving the badge of honour by Estonian Yachting Union to celebrate his contribution to Estonian Finn sailing during the last 35 years.

Estonia holds a special place in the hearts of Finn sailors and the opening of the 58th Finn Gold Cup in Tallinn this Sunday, 25 August, will be a momentous occasion for many reasons, and for many people.

It has been 19 years since the Finn Gold Cup was last, and first, held in Estonia. In 1994 it was sailed at Pärnu, but next week it heads to the country's capital to be raced from the Tallinn Olympic Yachting Centre at Pirita, which was originally built for the 1980 Olympics. Estonia has only ever hosted four Olympic discipline world championships, and two of those will have been in the Finn.

The large pre-entry list includes 97 sailors from 30 nations and is the first time that virtually all the top Finn sailors have raced together this year. With last year's winner Ben Ainslie (GBR) leaving the class and the 2011 world champion Giles Scott (GBR) sailing on Luna Rossa in San Francisco, the only former world champion competing this week is the 2010 winner Ed Wright (GBR), who is on top form after picking up the silver at the European Championships last month.

Wright leads a strong British team that have won all the major European events in the early part of the year and includes Mark Andrews (GBR) and Andrew Mills (GBR), as well as the young Peter McCoy (GBR) who will be looking to capitalise on his recent Junior European title win. However he will now have to reckon with Jorge Zarif (BRA), who won the Finn Junior world title in July.

Bramble Bank Cricket Match
'Quintessentially English madness on a beautiful summer's evening', in the words of Royal Southern Yacht Club team captain Mark 'Tommo' Tomson, is as good a description of the Bramble Bank cricket match as you'll find.

Played this year in conditions most generously described as 'moist', the Hamble club emerged triumphant over arch rivals the Cowes-based Island Sailing Club - it being their turn to win the annual mid-Solent encounter under the even-handed umpiring of Philip Gage.

It was one also enjoyed by hundreds of spectators who gathered at the Bank to share the Royal Southern YC's team victory in 2013

'We went out there and assessed the wicket,' said Tommo, a 15-year veteran of the match, seven as captain. 'We won the toss so put the opposition in to bat and we bowled very well. We got a bit of reverse swing with all the moisture in the air - they found that tricky and really didn't score many runs.

'My men went in to bat and batted with true gusto and spirit, a bit like the Australians at The Oval today. There were a couple of half centuries by Hugo (Morgan Harris) and Mike (Ewart-Smith) and then we had knight of the realm Sir Robin (Knox-Johnston) coming in at the tail end, and we really hammered them - a bit like the Ashes series this summer; just gave them a proper thrashing, 318 runs to their paltry 60.'

The instigation of the eccentric event is credited to legendary Cowes yacht designer Uffa Fox, though precise historical details are thin on the ground. Suffice to say the Royal Southern took up the cudgels over 30 years ago in an event which is now a summer fixture.

Updated America's Cup World Series Standings
America's Cup Race Management has released revised scoring for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 America's Cup World Series championships.

This follows ORACLE TEAM USA, JP Morgan BAR and HS Racing retiring from World Series events from the Newport regatta onwards.

With ORACLE TEAM USA Spithill renouncing points earned in the Newport event, which was the final regatta of the 2011-12 season, Emirates Team New Zealand now becomes the winner of the inaugural America's Cup World Series season championship.

ORACLE TEAM USA Spithill/Slingsby, JP Morgan BAR and ORACLE TEAM USA Coutts also retired from all three events in the 2012-13 season while HS Racing retired from the only event it sailed, the final regatta in Naples.

The revised 2012-13 standings see Luna Rossa Piranha at the top of the combined season championship table, followed by Artemis Racing White and Emirates Team New Zealand.

ISAF Athletes' Commission Confirmed
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) is pleased to announce the sailors who will serve on the ISAF Athletes' Commission for 2013-2016.

Five sailors have been elected to join three who remain on the Commission to complete their second term.

The three members who remain on the Commission are: Ben Barger (USA) Men's Windsurfer competitor in 2008; Malcolm Page (AUS), Men's Two Person Dinghy gold medallist 2008 and 2012; and Marcelien de Koning (NED) Women's Two Person Dinghy silver medallist, 2008 and Women's Match Racing competitor in 2012.

Joining them are Fernanda Oliveira (BRA), Sarah Gosling (GBR), Lijia Xu (CHN), Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) and Yann Rocherieux (FRA).

Between them, the members of the Athletes' Commission hold eight Olympic medals, five of them gold and 11 World Championship titles.

At the Athletes' Commissions first meeting which will be towards the end of September or early October their first task will be to elect a Chairman for a four year term.

The role of the ISAF Athletes' Commission is to act as the link between active Olympic sailors and the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).

The Athletes Commission will be able to elect members to sit on Events, Equipment and Race Officials Committees as well as receiving invites to Working Parties considering Olympic sailing matters, and selection of ISAF World Championships venues.

The members of the Athletes' Commission are expected to represent the interests of Olympic sailors to ISAF, and to encourage open communication and feedback from the sailors.

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The Last Word
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