Minister praises Portsmouth securing races before America’s Cup

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THE minister for Portsmouth has welcomed the announcement that part of the America’s Cup World Series will be staged in Portsmouth.

And Matthew Hancock said it showed the government’s decision to provide £7.5m towards the creation of a race base for Sir Ben Ainslie’s British sailing team in the city was ‘worth every penny’.

It comes after sailing leaders met in London this week to celebrate the news that the regattas leading up to the historic competition will be held in Portsmouth from July 23 to 26 next year and again from July 21 to 24 in 2016.

Mr Hancock said: ‘The America’s Cup all started in the waters off Portsmouth and we’ve been working hard to back Sir Ben Ainslie and the city to make it the perfect host venue.

‘There can’t be many places in the world more fitting to host the America’s Cup World Series, and today’s great news shows our £7.5m package to support Sir Ben Ainslie Racing in Portsmouth was worth every penny.

‘Portsmouth has a proud maritime history and this is an exciting new chapter in that story.’

The regattas, which are also being held in Cagliari in Sardinia, and Bermuda, off the east coast of the United States, are expected to pump £120m into Portsmouth’s economy.

Visitors will be able to watch races for free from Southsea Common and tickets will be available early next year for access to a grandstand and VIP area.