Sailing teams back bid to get Sir Ben to city

Leigh McMillan announced as Helmsman onboard Land Rover BAR Academy. Picture: Alex Palmer

Leading sailor back at Land Rover BAR

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SAILING organisations have backed a proposal to build Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup headquarters in Old Portsmouth.

As revealed in The News, the four-time Olympic gold medallist is looking to base his racing team in the Camber.

Up to 100 jobs could be created, with the most successful sailor in Olympic history also drawing huge attention to the area.

Now, local sailing groups including Victory Class and the University of Portsmouth Sailing Club have backed the idea.

They hope to work with Ben Ainslie Racing to develop youth sailing in the city and ensure the new facility has maximum benefit.

As reported, Ben Ainslie Racing already has permission for sites in Woolston and at ABP Docks in Southampton and is looking to put a planning application forward to Portsmouth City Council.

Veteran sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who lives in Portsmouth, said: ‘Everyone must welcome Sir Ben’s challenge for the Americas Cup, which represents Britain’s best opportunity to win since Tommy Sopwith in the 1930s.

‘This is a great opportunity for Portsmouth to play a part in bringing the cup back to Britain after 163 years.’

It comes after an exhibition of the plans was held at the Royal Naval Club.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said that while the base in Old Portsmouth would take out 80 parking spaces, more than that total would end up being created.

And he said it was good news because residents would be able to use those spaces.