Thank you for your unbelievable support - that’s the message to the people of Portsmouth from the crew at Sir Ainslie’s BAR team, as they prepare to battle it out for the America’s Cup.
The team are currently in Bermuda for a month of sailing, and have called on the city to get behind them.
Isle of Wight-born crew member David ‘Freddie’ Carr said the whole team are ‘very excited’ ahead of the first race.
The 35-year-old, who learnt to sail as a youngster on Hayling Island, said: ‘There’s a mixture of pre-race nerves, and making sure the crews are really ready to go.
‘We’re in a happy place right now.’
The team has spent the last few months out in Bermuda, where the final event is being held.
Freddie said: ‘We’ve had a very busy six months out here.
‘It has been pretty inspirational to see how hard the whole team have been working.’
For BAR it will represent the culmination of two years of qualifying events - which also included two action-packed displays of sailing in Portsmouth.
Thousands of people lined the Southsea seafront in July 2015 to cheer on Sir Ben and his crew.
Freddie said: ‘The support from people in Portsmouth is huge for us, for me the highlight from the last two years has been the two events being held in the city.
‘It’s amazing when you walk out with your boat and you see thousands of people who have come out to support you.
‘You can see what it means to people in the city.
‘The home support has been unbelievable, and we get that vibe even when we’re out in Bermuda.’
It’s amazing when you walk out with your boat and you see thousands of people who have come out to support you.David ‘Freddie’ Carr
A giant screen is being installed in Gunwharf for people to watch the first three days of racing.
The action starts from 9pm tomorrow night.
Fans are encouraged to draw up a deckchair and cheer on the team.
Speaking about the support in Portsmouth, Freddie added: ‘We do feel really part of the community here, we have a fantastic facility in the city.
‘We are so proud to represent our country and specifically Portsmouth.’
The final event will take place over the next month, with BAR battling against five other teams - including defender Team Oracle USA - for the title.