About 200 young people have discovered the joys of sailing in the run-up to the America’s Cup.
An action-packed day of activities took place at the America’s Cup Race Village in Southsea today.
The event was organised by the 1851 Trust, the official charity of Land Rover BAR, which aims to inspire and engage a new generation through sailing and the marine industry.
Jo Stocks, chief executive of the 1851 Trust, said: ‘It is our role to ensure that there is a legacy for young people here in Portsmouth.
‘We have got 200 young people from various different schools, sailing clubs and youth clubs from the local area to come along to the Race Village.
‘We have exclusive access today, as the Race Village does not open until tomorrow, so we wanted to make sure local people had the opportunity to come along and get involved with what’s going on here.’
The youngsters learnt about the six teams taking part in the competition, as well as meeting sailors and learning about the environment and marine engineering.
They undertook contests and made their own ‘gutter boat’ from recycled plastics.
Ms Stocks said: ‘Getting young people engaged in any kind of sport is hugely positive. Sailing can often be seen as an expensive sport to take part in, or an elite sport, but that does not have to be the case.’
At the end of their activities, prizes were given out by sailors from each team on stage.
Ed Powys, the bow/trimmer on home team Land Rover BAR, proved popular among the crowd and stopped for countless selfies with fans.
He told The News: ‘Getting the kids down here and out sailing is a massive buzz and achievement.’
Zak Kay, 10, from Paulsgrove, was presented with an award for creating the winning trophy design.
Zak, from St Paul’s Catholic Primary School in Paulsgrove, said: ‘There’s no other word to describe how I am feeling than better. I liked going up on to the stage.
I like that Ben Ainslie is really going for it for Great BritainSavanah Gilaj, from Gosport
‘I want to wish Sir Ben Ainslie good luck and I hope that he wins the America’s Cup.’
Also taking part in the day were Charlie Gallant, 15, and Zac Elliott, 15, both from The Hayling College, on Hayling Island.
Zac said: ‘It has been great, I liked the activities and the boat building, and learning about Ben Ainslie Racing. It’s good that we have got a team in it.’
Nicola Gilaj was there with her daughter 15-year-old Savanah, from Gosport.
Savanah, who goes to Brune Park Community School, said: ‘It is really good, it’s been a great opportunity.
‘I like that Ben Ainslie is really going for it for Great Britain. He’s done well to set this up and I hope he wins it.’
GROUPS THAT TOOK PART
*Active Community Network
*Grafham on board
*Pompey in the Community
*University of Portsmouth
SCHOOLS THAT TOOK PART
*Park Community School
*Admiral Lord Nelson
*Brune Park Community School
*King Richards School
*The Hayling College
SAILING CLUBS/YOUTH GROUPS THAT TOOK PART
*Weston sailing club
*Hill Head Sailing club
*Lee on Solent Sailing Club
*Portchester Sailing Club
*Stokes Bay Sailing Club
The 1851 Trust is running a competition to win a holiday to Bermuda if you text Bermuda to 70660.
The text will donate £2 to the trust and go into a prize draw for five nights in Bermuda for two people.
Young people can visit the trust’s education centre at the Land Rover BAR base in Old Portsmouth and learn more about the technology involved in the America’s Cup.