Hopes for Portsmouth economy boost after Sir Ben Ainslie secures £110m backing

Sir Ben Ainslie with INEOs chairman Jim Ratcliffe
Sir Ben Ainslie with INEOs chairman Jim Ratcliffe
Benjamin Peace

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INVESTMENT of £110m for Sir Ben Ainslie’s Portsmouth-based America’s Cup team will see a welcome boost for businesses in the city.

Britain’s largest privately-owned company INEOS is teaming up with the sailor’s team in a bid to win the 2021 America’s Cup — spelling good news for the city economy.

Ainslie, whose team Ben Ainslie Racing is based at the Camber Dock in Old Portsmouth, is the most decorated sailor in Olympic history and was Oracle Team USA’s tactician when it staged a remarkable comeback from 8-1 down to win the 2013 America’s Cup 9-8.

The high-profile sailor’s status and pedigree has persuaded Lancashire-born industrialist Jim Ratcliffe, who owns chemicals giant INEOS — a global network of refineries whichposted annual pre-tax profits of £2billion last month — to back Ainslie.

It means businesses, workers, charities and a host of organisations stand to benefit from the push to win the America’s Cup in three years.

‘A high number of our workforce live locally while we also do a lot of work with businesses in the city so there will be increased opportunities especially as we now have a budget for two boats rather than just one,’ INEOS Team GB spoksperson Jo Grindley said.

‘We already work with lots of local suppliers and the community and look forward to continuing this work that will inevitably benefit Portsmouth.’

Ainslie, the INEOS Team GB Team Principal and Skipper, said: ‘INEOS Team GB will remain based in Portsmouth, operating from our team HQ at The Camber and we have no intention of leaving the city.

‘It’s very much the home of the team, we have loved being here for the past three years and we really appreciate all the support we have received throughout our last challenge and into the next.’

MP Stephen Morgan voiced hopes for BAR’s future: ‘This is great news for Portsmouth. We’re all incredibly proud to be home to Ben and his team, and it’s fantastic to see our city retain its place on the international sporting stage.’

Leader of the Portsmouth Liberal Democrats, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, agreed said: ‘It is great that it gives a long-term future for BAR to stay here and continue to represent the country.

‘It’s good news for Portsmouth, not just for the large numbers of people who work there but for the potential America’s Cup could take place here one day.’