Stellar Starts Spark Victory in San FranciscoFor the fifth time in as many stages, the World Match Racing Tour crowned a first-time winner. On Sunday, Ben Ainslie won the Allianz Cup in San Francisco by defeating Ed Baird 3-1 in the finals.After losing the first race, Ainslie, a 29-year-old helmsman for Emirates Team New England, dominated Alinghi’s Ed Baird in each of the last three starts and never looked back. In the second race, Ainslie shut Baird out at the committee boat and worked a two boatlength advantage to victory. In the third start, Ainslie got to leeward and sped away from Baird; in the fourth, he took advantage of a bad tack by Baird’s team and slipped away to the favored left side. Ainslie was duly pleased with his performance. “The last three starts we shut him out in one, got him late, and the last one we wanted the left and got that,” Ainslie said. “Ed and his team are bloody good…It was great to beat someone of that caliber.”Ian Williams, who finished fourth behind Jesper Bank, remains on top of the Match Racing World Championship standings. The tour resumes in late November with the Monsoon Cup in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia.For the latest news from the World Match Racing Tour, click here.Campaigns Hinge on Olympic Pre-Trials WestUS Sailing’s Olympic Pre-Trials West continued last weekend in Long Beach, Calif., with regattas for the men’s and women’s 470 and men’s and women’s RS:X windsurfer.In the 470 regatta, where men’s and women’s teams raced together, relatively light breezes helped to even out the playing field. In the overall standings, Stuart McNay placed first, Amanda Clark, second (first women’s), and Erin Maxwell, third (second women’s). Another U.S. Olympic hopeful, Mikee Anderson-Mitterling, finished seventh overall after missing the first three races.Ben Barger won the men’s RS:X windsurfer with nine straight bullets, and Nancy Rios won the women’s RS:X with six firsts. Barger and Rios’ victories qualified them for the 2007 Pan-American Games.For all the winners, success at the Pre-Trials is more than an encouraging step towards the 2008 Olympics in Beijing- the resulting number one rankings help secure additional campaign funding from the US Sailing Team and from the Olympic Sailing Committee.For more about the Pre-Trials for all Olympic classes, click here.Two Mornings Later, Glory Comes to Morning Glory Forth-eight hours after finishing the Rolex Middle Sea Race in Valleta, Malta, the Max Z86 Morning Glory was declared the overall winner after two smaller, higher-rated boats failed to knock off the maxi on corrected time. Skipper Bouwe Bekking attributed the victory to divine intervention and the benefits of having a tall rig. “There are lots of tactical options. But a lot of this racing is down to whether you get the luck of the gods,” said Bekking. “We felt we sailed pretty well, but having a tall rig in light winds, that’s one of the advantages. You find wind up high that the smaller yachts will never get.”The two closest IRC challengers– the J/109 Artie, skippered by Malta local Lee Satariano and the J/105 Slingshot, sailed doublehanded by Shaun Murphy and Ric Searle–placed second and third overall, respectively. 64 boats competed in the 608-mile race around Sicily.For complete results, click here.Alison Outmatches Tunnicliffe at Osprey CupBetsy Alison won the 2006 Rolex Osprey Cup, an ISAF Grade 1 women’s match racing event held at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club earlier this month. The regatta was sailed in Sonars by 4-woman teams.After going undefeated in the semi-final and round-robin matches, Alison won the final round in three straight matches against Laser Radial Olympic hopeful Anna Tunnicliffe. Alison, who sailed with Nancy Haberland, Sarah Buckley, and Amanda Callahan, has won the Osprey Cup four times in its 10-year history, and credited her experienced crew for helping her defeat Tunnicliffe’s team.”We worked hard to get [Tunnicliffe] into down speed tacking duels,” said Alison. “We used experience to our advantage and were able to grind them down.”For complete results from the Osprey Cup, click here.Industry NewsColgate 26 Celebrates Hull 300To celebrate the sale of the 300th Colgate 26, Steve Colgate is rewarding buyers of hulls 280-300 with incentives such as free delivery, professionally-guided boat orientations, and specially-engraved half models. Colgate, who is also the founder of Offshore Sailing School, designed the 26-foot sport boat with with Jim Taylor back in 1996. In the decade since, the Colgate 26 has become popular as a one-design racer, a learn-to-sail platform, and a family daysailer. For more about the Colgate 26, click here.