Sir Ben Ainslie praised for picking Portsmouth as base for Americas Cup bid

City council leader Donna Jones with minister for Portsmouth Michael Fallon and Sir Ben Ainslie at the top of the Spinnaker Tower today
City council leader Donna Jones with minister for Portsmouth Michael Fallon and Sir Ben Ainslie at the top of the Spinnaker Tower today
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The author of a report into the Solent’s maritime future has praised the arrival of Sir Ben Ainslie’s racing base in Portsmouth.

Retired Rear-Admiral Rob Stevens was commissioned by minister for Portsmouth Michael Fallon to find a path for the area’s marine and maritime industries in the wake of the BAE shipyard closure.

Earlier this year he launched a report which recommended, among dozens of key points, that the government finds £8m to support Sir Ben’s plans for an America’s Cup racing base in the city.

And as revealed by The News last week, prime minister David Cameron announced £7.5m to bring the base to Portsmouth.

Speaking at an event at the Spinnaker Tower today where Sir Ben spoke about his plans, Rear-Adml Stevens said: ‘I’m excited about it because it will be iconic for the area and it will bring in all the things we want here.

‘It will be great for this area to be part of a winning team.’

Work has already begun to clear the site at the Camber docks in Old Portsmouth, where Sir Ben’s base will be situated.

The Olympic sailing champion said: ‘I can’t tell you how excited we are as a team to be here in Portsmouth.

‘It is the spot to be in the UK and for us it is very important to be part of the community.’