So now we know – the government is stumping up £7.5m to get Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup sailing project off the ground here in Portsmouth.
Although the news was expected, it’s fantastic to hear the prime minister himself at pains to show his support.
Of course cynics may say it is a low-cost way for the government to make some sort of amends to Portsmouth after last year’s hammer blow announcement that shipbuilding in the city would be ending.
But we welcome Mr Cameron’s enthusiastic backing for Sir Ben’s team HQ to be based at The Camber.
He, like us, was clearly taken with artists’ impressions of how the waterside base will look when it is built next year.
Together with £1.4m from Portsmouth City Council, the government cash will enable Sir Ben’s racing team to forge ahead with a headquarters that will bring cutting edge architecture, prestige and additional employment to our city.
The third benefit is a very important one. Because this is not just about preparing for a yacht race. The building will initially employ about 90 people, with many more potential jobs in the local supply chain.
Then there’s the legacy that could be left, with young people inspired to get into sailing by this hugely exciting project.
We should all be proud that Sir Ben picked Portsmouth and that the city council and the government have shared and supported his vision.
Although Southampton made a late bid to tempt him away along the coast, there was only ever one location that Sir Ben wanted as a team base.
Now the race is on to get private investors on board to help pay the rest of the considerable costs of construction.
But we share Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt’s optimism that they can be found.
After all, what’s not to like about being associated with a world-class facility that could help to bring home the America’s Cup and develop some sailing stars of the future?
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