America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth: Why you can’t afford to miss the action
With America's Cup World Series Portsmouth about to hit global headlines, we’re taking a detailed look at the significance of this incredible historic event, asking why the world is so fascinated by America’s Cup - the oldest major sports trophy in the world – and what spectators in Portsmouth can expect this July.
Our infographic below will put you in the picture about what's happening during America's Cup World Series Portsmouth.
It all began on the Isle of Wight in 1851, so the fact that America’s Cup racing is coming back to the waters of the south coast is very big news for British sailing. The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) takes place in Portsmouth in July 2015 and July 2016.
The Portsmouth regattas taking place from Thursday July 23, until Sunday July 26 2015 are part of a host of ACWS regattas that will culminate in the 35th America's Cup race in Bermuda in 2017.
For people who love sailing, this event presents the rare chance to see the best sailors in the world competing on AC45s – 45 ft foiling catamarans. The America’s Cup is considered the oldest and most competitive sailing competition in the world, and the city of Portsmouth is poised to host a key part of this incredible event.
America's Cup Portsmouth: What's happening?
The ACWS is a series of regattas which sees racing teams compete for points to set their placement in the eventual 35th America’s Cup events in 2017. Half a million spectators are expected to watch racing in Portsmouth this July, with around 160,000 people heading to the city for each regatta. They will enjoy world-class, family-friendly sporting action. The boats will be racing in front of spectators within 50m, at close to 45mph.
During the four days, visitors can see racing teams from around the world, including Portsmouth-based Land Rover BAR - Olympic champion Sir Ben Ainslie's team. He hopes to make history by bringing the cup back to Britain for the first time.
There will also be a host of entertainment including Portsmouth Live! on Saturday night, which will feature McBusted, Carly Rae Jepsen, Spandau Ballet and Wet Wet Wet, plus the South Coast Proms with Massed Bands of Her Majesty's Royal Marines.
How many teams will be racing?
Six teams have so far taken up the challenge of racing for the next America’s Cup, the oldest trophy in international sport.
The defending champion is Oracle Team USA, which won the last event with a spectacular comeback over Emirates Team New Zealand, who return as a challenger, along with Artemis Racing (SWE), Land Rover BAR (GBR) and Team France. SoftBank Team Japan announced in April this year that it would also challenge for the 2017 America’s Cup.
The ‘foiling catamarans’ are powered by highly-efficient wingsails and designed to fly above the water on foils at speeds approaching 45 mph. Super-fit sailing teams will battle it out to secure vital points ahead of the cup.
When is the racing?
Spectators in Portsmouth will enjoy three days of breath-taking racing this July, including practice sessions on Friday, July 24, and then two races on Saturday 25th and two races on 'Super Sunday Final' 26th. Tickets are also available to for Thursday July 23rd to see the official opening of the Race Village, presentation of the skippers and a spectacular parade of sail.
If you miss the chance to watch the action this year, remember that ACWS racing returns to Portsmouth in July 2016, with lots more happening around the event then too.
Four days of action packed entertainment
The official Race Village for the events will be based on Southsea Common, Portsmouth, but there will be extensions of the festivities - entertainment and activities across Portsmouth’s naval base, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf Quays between Thursday 23rd July and Sunday 26th July.
There will be a full evening programme of entertainment during the event, organised by TeamOrigin Events. The fun kicks off on Thursday 23rd July with an opening ceremony and a parade of sail. This is a chance to see the competing teams and the boats out on the water followed by entertainment in the ‘Great Waterfront Festival’ Site and Race Village Area.
Why is Ben Ainslie Racing important?
Land Rover BAR is the British challenger for the 35th America’s Cup. The home base is in Portsmouth.
Former Formula One chief Martin Whitmarsh has joined BAR as the team’s CEO.
Team Principal, four-time Olympic gold medallist, Sir Ben Ainslie has said: “The new foiling AC45s are going to be faster and even more exciting than the previous generation and we promise to provide an event experience like you have never seen before – come and cheer us on!”
The government gifted £7.5m towards the creation of the BAR race base and Visitor Centre in the city.
Where are the best vantage points for watching?
There will be a ‘free to view’ area in the Race Village as well as paid for viewing.
Visitors can head to the Great Waterfront Festival Arena on Southsea Common, a free to view race village area, where pre-registered ticket holders can gain access. Here there will be live entertainment throughout the day, a chance to enter competitions, a kids zone, and a wonderful choice of Best of British food and drinks. This is the place to watch the racing live on screen, enjoy Southsea Common’s stunning greenery and stay to enjoy the early evenings excellent entertainment, all right next to the on water action.
The paid tickets will provide access to the official event ‘Fanzone Arena’, allowing up to 5,000 fans per day to get the best views and commentary of the America’s Cup. Here you can watch the racing from the comfort of a pre-reserved grandstand seat overlooking the race course. Support your team of choice and mingle with other sailing enthusiasts and sailors, with access to the Ben Ainslie Racing area and the America’s Cup Store
Beyond the Race Village on Southsea Common there will be extensions of the festivities - entertainment and activities and a 'festival feel' across Portsmouth’s naval base, Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf Quays.
How do I get tickets?
All tickets are only available through organisers Team Origin www.teamorigin.com
America’s Cup – Potted History
The famous trophy was first awarded to American sailors in 1851 after a race around the Isle of Wight in England, which was won by the schooner America.
Queen Victoria watched the race, marveling that the America so easily eclipsed the Royal Yacht. She asked one of her attendants to explain who was in second place. “Your Majesty, there is no second,” came the reply – and these few words still sum up the spirit of America’s Cup racing.
The trophy was renamed the America's Cup after the yacht America and was donated to the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) under the terms of the Deed of Gift, which made the cup available for perpetual international competition.
Since the 1920s the America’s Cup race has been between one defending vessel and one challenging vessel, both of which are determined during elimination trials. Each competing vessel must be designed, built, and outfitted in the country that it represents.
Today the America’s Cup is considered the most difficult trophy in sailing to win. Since 1851 only four nations have won what is often called the oldest trophy in international sport – America, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand. Can Sir Ben and his team finally bring the America’s Cup home in 2017?