Plans unveiled for '˜world class' America's Cup UK headquarters in Portsmouth
A GRAND plan has been unveiled to create a lasting America's Cup legacy in Portsmouth.
The man in charge of the city’s sailing spectacle has announced a bold bid to provide a permanent ‘world-class’ event sports base to serve as the UK’s official home for the historic competition.
The lucrative move has been proposed by Sir Keith Mills as his Team Origin events team begin talks with the city council to hold more World Series-style qualifiers in the city after the finals of the competition in 2017 in Bermuda.
The News can reveal ‘several’ sites across Old Portsmouth, Southsea and Gosport are being considered to create the ‘super facility’, where competitors would be based out of.
Stadium-style seating could also be built into the attraction overlooking sailing action across the Solent and activities around the theme of the America’s Cup would be laid on for visitors during future World Series events.
That would include the next America’s Cup final should Sir Ben Ainslie’s British side win next year as choose Portsmouth to host the event.
The proposed venue would complement the Olympian’s Land Rover BAR base at the Camber, which would carry on as the training hub for the British team and be developed into a centre of maritime excellence.
Speaking to The News, Team Origin chairman Sir Keith said: ‘This is just the beginning, not the end.
‘We are now starting to look past 2017, because we want the America’s Cup to be here for the foreseeable future.
‘We want Portsmouth to be our home.
‘And if we win the America’s Cup, we need a permanent home. So we have been working with the council, looking at different options.
‘We have a permanent base for Sir Ben Ainslie’s team, but we need a permanent base for the event.’
Sir Keith said the new headquarters would need financial support from the government.
He added: ‘Any world-class sporting event of this scale will demand significant investment in infrastructure – everything from transport access, public viewing facilities, competitor technical base facilities, hospitality facilities and the key is to ensure significant economic impact to the city, region and country.’
It comes after Tory council leader Donna Jones said she spoke to culture secretary John Whittingdale about the desire for Portsmouth to hold the America’s Cup final in 2021.
Cllr Jones said: ‘Team Origin is an essential partner that will help the city position itself as a world-class city that is able to hold international sporting attractions.’
SIR KEITH: ‘THIS EVENT IS FOR YOU’
n Pages 10-11
RACE BASE UP FOR AWARD n Page 13