Prestigious races will be a showcase for our city

HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in Portsmouth            Picture: PA

RICK JACKSON: The patriotism inspired by HMS Queen Elizabeth is wonderful

0
Have your say

Hi-tech boats that are to sailing what F1 cars are to motorsport, battling it out at high speed just 50m from hundreds of thousands of spectators lining Portsmouth’s seafront.

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

This was the vision outlined yesterday when it was officially announced that the America’s Cup World Series is heading to the city in July 2015 and 2016 – and we can’t wait to see the action unfold right on our doorstep.

Over the years Portsmouth has proved itself an excellent host of major events such as celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and the annual televised spectacle of the Great South Run.

But staging two of the international four-day regattas leading up to the famous America’s Cup finale (the others will be in Italy and Bermuda) promises to shine a spotlight on our city like never before.

We’re talking about one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events taking place right here.

Sir Ben Ainslie, whose team will challenge for the America’s Cup from their new base in Old Portsmouth, looks forward to ‘a carnival atmosphere’ being created.

While sailing enthusiasts will want to come and see the racing, there’ll be music and entertainment on Southsea Common to make it a family day out.

What a great opportunity to showcase all we have to offer, from our trio of historic ships and excellent museums to the modernity of Gunwharf Quays and the iconic Spinnaker Tower.

The boost to the local economy also promises to be huge, with an estimated £120m being generated. But the benefit will be felt by the whole region, not just Portsmouth.

From retailers to taxi drivers, restaurant owners to hoteliers, everybody’s in line for a boost as spectators and crews spend and stay.

Meanwhile firms across the area can win contracts to supply event material, equipment and services or get involved in sponsorship.

So we say roll on next July (just eight months away) and a feeling of enormous pride as Portsmouth goes global.

To read the full story click here.