No America’s Cup racing is a double blow to city

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CLIVE SMITH: More people in Portsmouth simply means even more problems

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News that Portsmouth is unlikely to host a regatta during the next America’s Cup series is a blow to the city on many fronts.

Sailing legend and multiple Olympian Sir Ben Ainslie, admitted the city is not likely to feature next time in an exclusive interview with The News.

Ainslie is team principal of Land Rover BAR who are based in the city, and he said the decision to race in Portsmouth was out of his team’s hands.

He said that the challenger – Circolo della Vela Sicilia from Italy – and Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron – the defender – are ‘holding all the cards’ in terms of deciding how the event is organised.

But what a shame Portsmouth could miss out.

Portsmouth did a magnificent job when America’s Cup racing came to the city in July 2015 and July 2016.

It was a global sailing spectacle and firmly put the city on the map in terms of world class yacht racing.

In 2016 more than 130,000 people turned out to catch a glimpse of the sailing, a sight those fans are likely going to be denied next time around.

And while it is a blow that our city, steeped in maritime history, could be missing out on the racing itself, the event last time also had a huge financial boost.

A report claimed that more than £33 million worth of economic benefits were brought to the city in 2015 and 2016.

That is an amount of money not to be sniffed at.

If there is one good thing, Sir Ben has reiterated his desire to keep the Land Rover BAR team based in the city for many years to come.

‘We made a commitment to the maritime industry here in Portsmouth and we stand by that,’ he said.