Regattas will bring kudos and a boost to economy

Rick Jackson believes Big Ben's bongs should not be silenced

RICK JACKSON: Our las total eclipse was typically British – cloudy

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Imagine the scene. Tens of thousands of people lining the waterfront, eyes glued to sleek, multi-million pound ocean racing yachts cutting through the Solent waves in a dash for the finish line.

This is just the kind of exciting spectacle we can look forward to after it was revealed that two pre-America’s Cup regattas are to be held in Portsmouth.

We’re already the proud home of Ben Ainslie Racing’s new race base, a futuristic building at Camber Dock in Old Portsmouth that will be the hub of our nation’s £80m challenge for one of the greatest prizes in sailing.

Now we’re going to host prestigious races involving teams from five countries that will provide a further boost to our profile and economy.

Each competing country gets to host two regattas called the America’s Cup World Series, which will determine who gets to take on defending champions Team USA in Bermuda or San Diego in 2017.

It was already great news that Britain’s America’s Cup challenge was to be based in the city.

But think of all the extra kudos and attention we’ll enjoy as a city by having Formula One racers of the sea from other nations coming here to take on Sir Ben’s boat.

Portsmouth will enjoy media exposure around the world, plus local businesses, from hotels and B&Bs to restaurants and shops, will see the benefit of competitors and spectators alike staying and spending.

When four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie first came here to outline his vision of a city HQ for his America’s Cup bid, there was strong support from the local community.

Now we look forward to the day when residents from across the Portsmouth area descend on the seafront along with visitors to witness one of sailing’s greatest sights.

And, who knows, come 2017 we could be celebrating a history-making America’s Cup victory for Sir Ben and Britain.

How proud would we feel to know that Portsmouth had played an important part in such a sporting success story?

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