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Portsmouth chase the Ainslie factor

Nothing has yet been decided on the next America's Cup - not the event venue or the boat design and Sir Ben Ainslie and his BAR team has not yet raised the money for a bid, but city's on the south coast of England are queuing up to woo Britain's most successful Olympic sailor to their town.

At a recent presentation at the Royal Naval Club & Royal Albert Yacht Club in Old Portsmouth, the public was shown some of the ideas being considered for a base in the Camber dock area of Old Portsmouth.

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

The proposed centre would apparently incorporate the team’s sailing operations, research and development, boatbuilding, sports science and fitness facilities, along with a visitors centre.

Some might wonder at the reality of a sailing base for 60ft multihulls in the crowded Old Porstmouth dock area, which is a small part of the larger commercial and naval harbour, with channel ferries and naval shipping using the narrow entrance to the harbour.

Not that it seemed to worry the designers or the councilors hoping to get a government grant for the centre. A decision on an £8m bid by the council to the government for the team will be made next month.

Ben Ainslie Racing has stressed it has not made a decision about where its new base will be. The likely venue for the next America's Cup is San Francisco in the USA although other venues being considered are Newport, Chicago, Honolulu and Australia.

A round of the preliminary series for the smaller 45ft multihulls is being considered for the UK, if the Ainslie challenge goes ahead. Plymouth hosted a successful event in 2011.

Ainslie's BAR team is renting a building on the business estate in Whiteley as a temporary base while they wait for the decision on the venue and rules of the next America's Cup.

The Ben Ainslie Racing team - Ben Ainslie, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell and Nick Hutton are competing in the latest round of the Extreme Sailing Series on the waters of Qingdao, China this week.

Ainslie sets-up America's Cup base in Whiteley

G New
1 May 2014 6:33 GMT


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