Portsmouth – HRH Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, visited the America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth (ACWS Portsmouth) display at the London Boat Show, to support Ben Ainslie Racing and the America’s Cup World Series events planned between 23 – 26 July 2015.
The ACWS Portsmouth events will be managed and delivered by TeamOrigin Events, a company set up and chaired by Sir Keith Mills, the man central to the delivery of some of the UK’s greatest sporting events, most recently as Deputy Chairman of London 2012 and Chairman of ‘Invictus Games’.
During HRH Princess Anne’s visit, Sir Keith Mills outlined details of the Portsmouth event: “The ACWS Portsmouth will be a spectacular event for Britain. One of our main aims is to provide a sporting event that will benefit Portsmouth by bringing huge visitor numbers into the city to experience the racing. To bring in the masses, we have to provide cost effective entertainment for all budgets and we have been working hard to firm up the event schedule and ticketing structure.”
Mills continued, “Portsmouth will become a hive of activity with its key locations such as the Spinnaker Tower and Historic Dockyard incorporated within the event to showcase the city in all its glory. The event officially starts on Thursday 23rd July with the teams taking part in a F1 style paddock day. All ACWS teams will set up their boats in a publicly visible area inside the Historic Dockyard and Royal Navy Base. This is a fascinating visible process and a fantastic opportunity to see the amazing race boats, teams and sailors close-up. Friday 24th July, is the official race training day and the first opportunity for the teams to test their skills on Portsmouth waters. Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th July is when the points scoring action begins with the official race days. Both days will count and be vitally important for the teams in their quest for glory in the 35th America’s Cup. This will be a unique opportunity for the British public, Portsmouth is truly opening its doors to local and visiting public and all sporting fans.”
A key ethos for the ACWS Portsmouth team is bringing the action closer to the fans. This includes a full entertainment programme which will run throughout the event days alongside live broadcasting of the racing. For those that really want to come and immerse themselves in the sailing and racing action and everything that goes on in the world of America’s Cup, there will be a dedicated and ticketed ‘fan zone’ and a world class ‘hospitality pavilion’ where visitors, sponsors and guests can get truly involved and watch the racing close up with live expert commentary.
During the London Boat Show, ACWS Portsmouth Event Director, Leslie Greenhalgh outlined the ticketing, hospitality and commercial plans: “The best possible viewing and engagement experience will be watching the racing from the ‘race village’ on Southsea Common and the dedicated ‘fan zone’ and ‘hospitality pavilion’. This is all about “America’s Cup racing coming to shore”. There will be giant screens, live commentary and the racing will be literally metres off the Common. Racing will take place in the main shipping channel in an area of water carefully managed by the Queen’s Harbour Master. For safety and traffic management reasons, there will be a tightly controlled exclusion zone around the race course and so we will be designating various levels of ‘spectator boat’ zones. The spectator boat packages, access flags and options will be published alongside the land based ticket and hospitality options. We urge any visitors not commit to any packages that are not endorsed by TeamOrigin/ACWS Portsmouth. All details and tickets will go live in February 2015.”
Greenhalgh added: “An event of this magnitude offers numerous opportunities for brands and businesses to become commercially involved and we are currently in discussion with a number of partners interested in the event sponsorship and supplier partnerships. This is an amazing opportunity for UK brands and businesses to associate their brand with this exciting event. We urge attracted parties to get into touch with our commercial team.”
Rob Andrews, the London 2012 Sailing Venue Manager, has taken on the role of Race Director for the ACWS Portsmouth and will work alongside the America’s Cup Event Authority to deliver the racing. Rob provided a preview of the exciting racing coming to Portsmouth: “The first difference people will notice, since the last ACWS events, is that the AC45 boats will now be foiling – literally flying above the water. The vulnerability of the foils makes margins between getting it right and wrong on the race course very small. This means numerous position changes during racing which creates lots of excitement. My role is to deliver good, solid races for the sailors whilst also giving the viewing public action-packed entertainment 50-100 meters from the shore. We learned a lot from the London 2012 Olympic Sailing medal races and how close we could get the racing to people on shore without being detrimental to the standard of racing for the sailors. The Portsmouth course and proximity of the race village on Southsea Common is the perfect solution for this type of racing and we cannot wait to deliver it to the fans and spectators. Whether you are a sailing fan or just coming down to join in the festival atmosphere and to take a look at these boats, it will be exciting and you do not want to miss it.”
Over 500,000 visitors are expected to visit Portsmouth during the event and TeamOrigin are looking to secure volunteers to ensure they deliver a tremendous experience for all involved. The Event Volunteer Engagement Programme will be launched in February 2015. TeamOrigin will be looking to engage around 60 people in ‘on water’ delivery and a further 300 volunteers to ensure local people get involved and help to deliver this spectacular event.