SIR Ben Ainslie has spoken of his immense pride at seeing his vision for Portsmouth being made a reality.
The Olympic sailing legend is delighted his America’s Cup headquarters at the Camber has taken shape as the city gears up to host the World Series from July 23 to 26.
Yesterday marked the first day of operation at the Ben Ainslie Racing facility, and all the focus is now on preparing Sir Ben and his team for the first leg of the cup qualifiers.
Speaking to The News, Sir Ben said: ‘We are delighted to be here and it goes back to when we were looking at options for the base; it shows clearly Portsmouth was the right site for us with the Camber, and this was by far and away the best venue for the America’s Cup, given the proximity to the seafront and the harbour.
‘I am absolutely delighted that that vision has started to come to fruition, in terms of getting the base firmly here and getting the rights to the World Series.
‘It’s nice when these sort of longer-term visions come together and it was really important for us that the local people, Portsmouth people, got behind the team.’
World Series competitors from across the globe will begin moving their boats to the city’s naval base in the next few weeks.
Team New Zealand has already moored up in Southampton.
And Sir Ben said the mood in the BAR camp is ‘intense’ as the squad seeks to ensure it comes out on top in the contest and picks up valuable points leading into the next qualifiers.
Sweden welcomes the racing after Portsmouth from August 28 to 30. Sir Ben said: ‘There is an intensity to ensure we are as prepared as we can be.
It’s nice when these sort of longer term visions come together and it was really important for us that the local people, Portsmouth people, got behind the team.Olympic sailing legend and BAR team principal Sir Ben Ainslie
‘It’s a very intense period. Everyone is working flat out. There is a real drive and determination.’
Yesterday also marked the completion of a sponsorship deal between BAR and Jaguar Land Rover, that sees Sir Ben’s team renamed Land Rover BAR.
Mark Cameron, Jaguar Land Rover global experiential marketing director, said: ‘At Land Rover we have a long history in sailing.
‘This incredible partnership with BAR has given us the opportunity to showcase our world-class expertise in advanced engineering and innovative technologies, which lie at the heart of everything Land Rover does.’