America’s Cup Portsmouth races - Ben Ainslie Q&A

Sir Ben Ainslie
Sir Ben Ainslie
Picture: Isle of Wight Radio/PA Wire

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SIR Ben Ainslie has answered our questions about the America’s Cup World Series races that will be held in Portsmouth.

It will be announced today that America’s Cup racing will return to British waters when the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) takes place in the city in July 2015 and 2016.

- So what’s it all about?

The America’s Cup World Series is the preliminary race of the America’s Cup.

It consists of 8-10 regattas taking place around the world involving competing nations. All teams compete in the series and the overall placement affects the seeding and starting score that the challenger teams take into the America’s Cup qualifiers in 2017.

The Great Britain team is backed by sailing great Sir Ben Ainslie and will be based in Portsmouth.

- What will be happening in Portsmouth?

The main event race village will be found on Southsea Common which directly overlooks the race course. This area will be full of attractions, information and entertainment for everyone to enjoy as well as large screens and live commentary. Additional entertainment and activities are being planned for this four-day extravaganza.

- What will this cost taxpayers?

Nothing. The events will be funded by private investment, sponsorship, suppliers and media partnerships.

n How many people will be there?

The last series of events saw the numbers of spectators range from 120,000 up to one million live spectators. 160,000 people attended the event that took place in Plymouth in 2011. Organisers hope to reach a similar number in Portsmouth.

- Do I have to pay to watch?

There will be free-to-view areas in the race village where you can enjoy the atmosphere, watch the racing, take part in the activities and enjoy the weekend. There will also be additional opportunities to buy tickets for specific attractions, grandstand seating areas, exhibitions and hospitality.

- Can local businesses get involved?

Yes. Organisers say they want to engage as many local businesses in the event as possible to increase the economic benefit of the event for the area.

They need suppliers of a range of event material, equipment and services and the events team will be reaching out to business in the area to secure the necessary services.

- Can I volunteer to help?

Yes. There will be an official volunteer programme for the event and details will be announced in January.