Wavemakers return to kickstart America's Cup in Portsmouth
Hundreds of wavemakers cheered with delight to kickstart the America's Cup.
Around 350 people have volunteered to help the Portsmouth event run smoothly over the next four days.
They all received specialist training from official event suppliers HTP to ensure they deliver an excellent experience to all.
The wavemakers will be taking roles on information desks, gates, walkways, and at strategic locations to advise people on any queries, and support any needs.
People have travelled from all over the world to take part.
Ross Sweeney, 68, came from Perth in Australia with his wife Jill, 64.
Their daughter Jessica Sweeney, 33, is the chief meteorologist with Portsmouth-based Ben Ainslie Racing and they wanted to support her, as well as helping the event to take place.
Ross said the family got into sailing when Australia won the America’s Cup in 1983 and brought it to Freemantle.
He said: ‘I love events like these as there’s so much goodwill. People are happy because they want to be here.’
They are staying in Southsea for two weeks and are loving their first visit to Portsmouth.
He said: ‘It is stunning. The weather has been fabulous, it is great with the history and the ships roaring past. You can almost touch the ships as they go past and there’s so many boats out on the water. The entrance to the harbour is quite remarkable.
‘It should be a spectacular event. The layout is very good as are the facilities. And to have a Henry VIII castle as part of a race course is fantastic.’
Also volunteering is retired policeman Terry Farley, 74, from Eastney.
Mr Farley, a security consultant, said: ‘Portsmouth is very fortunate to have secured the event over two years and hopefully it will be a long-term thing.’
Glyn Powell, 55, is volunteering with his wife Karen, 53, and son Jonathan, 21.
The family had travelled from Bedford to take part.
Glyn, who works for BT, said: ‘I am really excited. We signed up as a family. We have been following Ben Ainslie Racing since they set up and we really want him to do well and want him to win last year.’
Also helping were University of Portsmouth students Mae Webb, 20, and Ruta Kairyte, 20, both from Southsea, who are studying degrees in television and broadcast.
Miss Kairyte, who is originally from Lithuania, said: ‘It is great experience. I’m excited, not nervous, it’s going to be great fun.’
Miss Webb, originally from Horsham, said: ‘It is a big event around the world so it’s great to be part of it.’
The wavemaker programme, which has returned for the second year, was sponsored by defence and space company Airbus.
James Hinds, director of strategy development space systems at Airbus, thanked all the volunteers.
He said: ‘Airbus is really proud to be the presenting partner of this event, but most of all we are really proud of everyone here.
‘A huge thank you to all of you for taking the time, you all have busy lives and we really appreciate it.’