HOPES are mounting that Portsmouth will become home to an America’s Cup sailing team.
Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie is renting a building on an industrial estate in Whiteley ahead of a bid to reclaim the converted sailing prize in 2017.
A staff member, who did not wish to be named, told The News the Whiteley site was not a permanent base for the team.
She said: ‘This is our temporary base at the moment.
‘Staff are based here.
‘Ben is putting together his America’s Cup team over the next couple of years, and he is using this at the moment as a base but it’s still very much early days.
The spokeswoman said the building housed the racing team’s commercial staff.
She said: ‘We manage Ben Ainslie Racing and all that goes with that.
‘It’s a team that can bring the America’s Cup back to Britain, and that’s the long-term plan.
‘The biggest thing we’re waiting for at the moment is the protocol, which basically sets out all the rules and regulations for the next cup.
‘We’ll know a lot more after that comes out.’
The protocol is due to be announced sometime before June.
Sir Ben, who used to train in Stokes Bay, Gosport, is the most successful sailor in Olympic history. He has won medals at five consecutive games and gold at the last four.
Sir Ben, who lives in Lymington, plans to compete in an Extreme Sailing Series later this year in preparation for the Cup.
Portsmouth City Council hopes to lure Sir Ben to set up a permanent base at the Camber dock in Old Portsmouth.
Council leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson has asked the Department of Business for £8m to support the team if it moves into the city.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson said BAE Systems told him it would also support Sir Ben’s team.
The America’s Cup trophy was originally used for Royal Yacht Squadron’s 1851 Annual Regatta around the Isle of Wight.