Ben Ainslie will stay in Portsmouth for three sets of the America’s Cup

Work has already begun on the site of Sir Ben Ainslie's America's Cup base at the Camber docks in Old Portsmouth. ''Picture: Lt Cdr Shamus Roster
Work has already begun on the site of Sir Ben Ainslie's America's Cup base at the Camber docks in Old Portsmouth. ''Picture: Lt Cdr Shamus Roster
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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SIR Ben Ainslie will call Portsmouth his racing home for three cycles of the America’s Cup, it has been revealed.

Minister for Portsmouth Michael Fallon announced it at a meeting of maritime firms at the Spinnaker Tower.

The minister was in Portsmouth yesterday to unveil a £124m funding package for the Solent area, as reported on the front page of The News.

Olympic sailor Sir Ben and his racing team also attended and spoke to those who gathered about his under-construction racing base at the Camber docks in Old Portsmouth.

It comes after prime minister David Cameron last week announced £7.5m of funding for the America’s Cup project in the city.

Minister for Portsmouth Michael Fallon said: ‘One of the reasons I was able to persuade my ministerial colleagues to cough up the £7.5m that Whitehall is putting into this was the longer-term nature of this commitment.

‘Of course we’re all hoping that Ben and his team will win, but he has committed to staying on here for three America’s Cup cycles.

‘This project has huge potential to bring significant economic and sporting benefits to Britain, to the Solent and to Portsmouth.

‘I hope this will be seen as just the start of a resurgence of the marine and maritime sector in Portsmouth and across the Solent.’

Portsmouth City Council received notification of Sir Ben’s intention to build an America’s Cup racing base somewhere in the area in February this year.

In the following five months, a planning application was submitted and attempts made to find funding from the government to help secure Portsmouth as the final location.

The News revealed last week that £7.5m had been found from different government sources and that Sir Ben had picked Portsmouth.

Al Harding, 17, of Spice Island in Old Portsmouth, voiced his support for Sir Ben’s plans at a neighbourhood meeting this year and was invited yesterday.

He said: ‘I was able to spend a day at their base in Whiteley and see how they work and it was fantastic.

‘I’m pleased there will be something for young people in there. It will do a lot to get young people involved in sport which I think is great.’

Sir Ben has said the base will offer an apprenticeship programme and will do outreach work within the community.

The America’s Cup takes place roughly every four years and is one of the most prestigious sailing competitions in the world.