Portsmouth council boss backs America’s Cup ambitions

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THE leader of Portsmouth City Council has endorsed plans to bring America’s Cup racing back to the Solent – and says preparations are well underway to help make it happen.

Sporting leaders have launched efforts to stage another World Series leg of the competition in the region following a shake-up of the competition.

This feeds into the council’s strategy of re-positioning Portsmouth as a leading city in the UK, and around the world as capable of hosting international sporting events.

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council

The America’s Cup finals will be held biannually instead of every four years after 2017, opening up the opportunity for more qualifying rounds to happen around the world, in a deal endorsed by Portsmouth sailing side Land Rover BAR and their captain Sir Ben Ainslie.

Portsmouth could be one of 12 destinations that holds another World Series, should the money be found to host it.

A range of wealthy stakeholders need to be brought on board.

Backing the plans, Tory Councillor Donna Jones said: ‘Hosting two events of the World Series has given Portsmouth an amazing platform around the world.

‘This feeds into the council’s strategy of re-positioning Portsmouth as a leading city in the UK, and around the world as capable of hosting international sporting events.

‘If the British team win the America’s Cup in Bermuda in June, this will afford the city the opportunity to host the final of the oldest sporting trophy in the world, and arguably one of the most revered sailing regattas of all time.

‘What we have learnt from the ACWS 2015 and 2016 is that in Southsea beach and the Solent, we have one of the best stretches of water for professional sailing of this kind.

‘I have already started working with the BAR team on the preparations and requirements for Portsmouth to host the ACWS final in 2019, should the British team win and Portsmouth be selected as the venue for the final.’

Cllr Jones added: ‘This is amazing news for the hotels and restaurants in the city who benefited from the last two years of world-class sailing.

‘I’m keeping everything crossed for Ben and the team.’