Laying the foundations of an exciting future

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In just five weeks, hundreds of thousands of people will be gathering on Southsea seafront to watch the action in the America’s Cup World Series.

For three days we’ll once again be the centre of attention as the world’s top sailors aboard hi-tech catamarans compete in this first stage of the 35th America’s Cup.

We know from last year’s World Series racing here in the Solent that it will be quite a sight as Sir Ben Ainslie and the Land Rover BAR team go for glory in their home race.

But today the event’s chairman, Sir Keith Mills, explains that his vision is for it to be much, much more than that.

On page seven, he talks about Land Rover BAR going far beyond being a short-term sports team.

It’s part of a 25-year plan that includes its Old Portsmouth base and making the city a technological leader.

But on top of that, Sir Keith’s really big ambition is to see us hosting the America’s Cup itself.

He says: ‘This is a foundation for what we hope will be a revolution in Portsmouth and on the south coast.’

It’s exciting stuff, isn’t it? Of course, in order to host the America’s Cup, there is the small matter of Land Rover BAR needing to win the trophy next year.

But Sir Keith is nothing if not confident.

His bullishness is great to see. He’s also a realist, though, and knows that there is a lot of work to be done in collaborating with the city council if a permanent home for the event is to be found.

For now, we look forward to Sir Ben and co entertaining us with a sailing spectacle next month.

But, like Sir Keith, we also have one eye on a future that, if it comes off, will have a huge and lasting economic benefit to the city.