Sir Ben Ainslie’s Americas Cup base rises on Old Portsmouth skyline

Picture by Shaun Roster Photography.
Picture by Shaun Roster Photography.
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THIS incredible aerial photograph shows the America’s Cup base dwarfing two Isle of Wight car ferries as they head out into Portsmouth harbour.

Sir Ben Ainslie’s huge, futuristic sailing base in Old Portsmouth is taking shape, with the highest point, the 85ft lift shaft, now in place. The total floor space is 4,000sq ft.

Jonathan Goring, team base project director, said: ‘The most important thing to remember is what it’s for.

‘The actual boat assembly area and the shore crew area have to be 12m.

‘The floors above are either offices or visitors’ space.

‘We all want it to be a transparent, accessible building. It’s important to us that we build a significant visitor centre as well.

‘We’re cracking along quite nicely. We’re at the point where the building is pretty much full height and the structure is nearly complete.

‘We start fitting out this month. We’re going to be occupying the office area and also the boat launch and assembly area in May. The rest of the space, including the visitors centre, will be ready for the World Series in July.’

Although there was some opposition, most residents are behind it.

Stuart Crow, of Clarendon Road, Southsea, said: ‘Although it seems big to the people who are there now, in terms of how the Camber area was when it was a working port and we had coal barges coming in the Camber, it’s not that big.

‘When I was a kid we had two tall chimneys and a big power station round where the Armoury estate is now. It was huge – the chimneys were 300ft and this is much smaller than that. In the modern setting it’s big, true, but we’re a living, working city, not a museum city. It’s a big economic and PR boost.’