What to expect at the America’s Cup

Pictures: Lloyd Images
Pictures: Lloyd Images

Portsmouth’s waters will see high octane action again this summer, as Miles O’Leary reports.

It was a huge summer spectacle that took the wider Solent region by storm.

2016 Louis Vuitton Americas Cup World Series. LandRover BAR skippered by Ben Ainslie (GBR) shown here celebrating after winning the first event of 2016 Pictures: Lloyd Images

2016 Louis Vuitton Americas Cup World Series. LandRover BAR skippered by Ben Ainslie (GBR) shown here celebrating after winning the first event of 2016 Pictures: Lloyd Images

Now Portsmouth is once again hosting the America’s Cup World Series, a round of sailing qualifying events in the lead-up to the sailing competition’s elite finals in Bermuda in 2017.

All eyes will be on Portsmouth side Land Rover BAR, with Olympic legend Sir Ben Ainslie at the helm, as it looks to breeze through and go on to bring the illustrious trophy back to Britain.

Portsmouth’s 2015 World Series was the first regatta of the 35th America’s Cup, and saw huge crowds turn out to watch Sir Ben take victory on UK waters for the first stop in the series.

The World Series then moved on to Gothenburg, where Emirates Team New Zealand soared to the top of the leaderboard.

Pictures: Lloyd Images

Pictures: Lloyd Images

As the 2015 action drew to a close, Artemis racing took victory in Bermuda.

In the first event of the 2016 season in Oman, Land Rover BAR were once again victorious.

A nail-biting final day saw the team come from behind in all three races to snatch victory by just two points from Oracle Team USA.

This was the first time America’s Cup racing had come to the Middle East.

From there, the race took place in New York and Chicago, before arriving in Portsmouth between July 21-24, where Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing look to defend their title in front of their home crowd.

According to the chief executive of Portsmouth City Council, David Williams,

the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series is hugely important to Portsmouth for two key reasons.

Firstly, as last year’s event proved, it brings a massive, immediate boost for the city’s economy as spectators, team members, sponsors, investors and technical crew arrived in force boosting the local economy by £9m over

three days.

A substantial amount of money was spent in Portsmouth, not just in hotels and B&Bs, but in local shops, restaurants, bars and visitor attractions.

Secondly, the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series adds to Portsmouth’s reputation as the Great Waterfront City.

However, it’s not just Portsmouth that benefits from its association with the America’s Cup – the Solent region does too.

A wave of changes have been made to the 2016 World Series in a bid to improve the visitor experience.

Spectators can show up to watch the action in the Solent from Southsea Common for free and won’t have to buy a ticket in advance or on the day.

Gone too are any restrictions on food and drink, which means families can turn up on the common with picnics to enjoy a day out.

Those looking for more of an in-depth experience can buy tickets to a separate Race Village around Southsea Castle.

There’s more than just sailing happening – world-class BMX champions will also be performing in Southsea skatepark with Red Bull bringing their DJ truck and playing music.

Tickets for children under five to the Race Village are free, and these younger fans can enjoy the Kids’ Zone which will include Longdown Activity Farm, Top Banana Circus training and face painting.

If the adults want to wind down after the racing, the Moet Champagne bar will be serving fizz, or go nautical in Goslings Dark and Stormy Rum bar.

There will be preview match racing on the Friday, providing exciting duels for the spectators, as well as the all-important warm-up matches.

The official racing is geared around the Saturday and Sunday, during which at least two exciting races will take place each day.

The teams all have their sights set on the 35th America’s Cup, but only four will make their way to Bermuda and the qualifiers in 2017.

Hosting this event is a real coup for Hampshire and with the prospect of the area becoming a centre of excellence in this high-tech area of sport - sailing’s equivalent of Formula 1 racing - is a very exciting opportunity.

America’s Cup Portsmouth Timetable

FRIDAY 11am-6pm

Preview racing will take place on this first public opening day as the teams showcase their skills and fine tune their manoeuvres and boat handling, flying past the shoreline at exhilarating speeds.

Features of the day include:

n Red Arrows Aerobatic Display Team

n Youth sailing displays

n America’s Cup practice racing

n Dock out show

n Dock in show

n Poster signing – meet the teams

n Apres Sail entertainment

SATURDAY 11am-6pm

It’s the first official day of racing, and six teams are raring to go, who will be the first off the start line?

Features of the day include:

n Official opening ceremony

n The Blades Aerobatic Display Team

n Youth sailing displays

n Official America’s Cup racing

n Dock in show

n Poster signing

n Post-racing interviews and analysis

n Apres Sail entertainment

SUNDAY 11am-6.30pm

Day 2 of official America’s Cup racing and every second counts as six teams battle it out on the water to secure a podium position.

Features of the day include:

n Red Bull Matadors Aerobatic Display Team

n Youth sailing displays

n Official America’s Cup racing

n Dock out show

n Poster signing

n Post-racing interviews and analysis

n Official awards ceremony

How to watch

Race Village – Family-friendly features and exciting interactive live content focused on the sport of sailing. Watch the spectacular racing action as the best sailors in the world race on the fastest boats.

Day ticket price £25 (Adult) / £12.50 (Junior) / FREE (Under five years)

Premier Grandstand – Upgrade your Race Village ticket with a dedicated grandstand seat located in an elevated position offering unparalleled panoramic views over the race course.

Day ticket price £60 (Adult) / £47.50 (Junior)

Sailors Lounge – Watch the racing in an area dedicated to those who want the full sporting experience. Includes Race Village entrance, Premier Grandstand seat, access to a private bar with special guest speakers and lunch and drinks voucher.

Day ticket price £120 (Adult)

To book or for further information,

visit www.lvacwsportsmouth.com/ticket

FREE TO VIEW AREA

Southsea Common outside of the Race Village will be unrestricted for public to access during the event with views of the racing from the shoreline. For those wishing to experience the racing from the water, there are two options.

Firstly you can use one of the events preferred charter partners to gain access into the marshalled ‘official sponsor boat’ zones.

Secondly, if you are a private boat owner you can register your details with watchonwater@teamorigin.com to be sent the official on-water viewing pack guide. For those unable to join the action at every venue, tune in to live coverage with BT sport.