WE ARE missing out on trade as marinas in the area are getting full – that’s the message from a world-renowned sailor.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston told The News he wants to see new marinas built to create jobs as the ones in Gosport and Portsmouth are filling up.
Sir Robin said he anticipates more sailors will be drawn to the area with Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup base at the Camber Dock.
Sir Robin said: ‘They’re all pretty full. We’re going to see more people coming here.
‘We’re going to need to build some more.
‘It’s an opportunity we shouldn’t throw away.’
Sir Robin’s comments came as his Clipper racing yachts arrived back in Gosport for deep cleaning by their crews.
The fleet of Clipper 70 yachts finished an 11-month race across the globe.
But they aren’t the only sailing boats coming to Gosport and the Portsmouth Harbour area.
Ben Lippiett, manager at Haslar Marina, said trade has got better since the recession and the marina is close to full at around 90 per cent capacity.
He said: ‘We’ve felt the recession but I think – without sounding complacent – we are all on the up again.
‘We appreciate (the recovery) is fragile but demand is definitely on the up. We’re certainly in the high 90 per cent.’
Another marina in Gosport said it has turned people away in the summer months when it reaches capacity.
Both Mr Lippiett and Sir Robin said finding the sites is difficult but it could be done.
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has been lobbying defence ministers to free up Ministry of Defence land, including the oil fuel depot near Royal Clarence Marina.
She said she has seen three proposals for new marinas.
Ms Dinenage said: ‘We’ve got over 2,000 berths in Gosport alone. I know at the moment they’re pretty full.
‘The key thing is 21 per cent of Gosport borough is in the hands of the MoD.
‘There are bits of it that can be brought back into use to help regenerate the local area.’