by Dan Ibsen
This week another milestone was reached by Sir Ben Ainslie, as he gets big government funding boost for Porthsmouth base. The Prime Minister hope the whole of England will get behind Sir Ben’s campaign.
Sir Ben Ainslie met with Prime Minister, David Cameron, this morning at 10 Downing Street.
The British Ministers have announced £ 7.5 million of Government funding to support Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup team and their proposal to be based on the Camber in Portsmouth. The news follows on from Portsmouth City Council’s decision to give planning approval for the site of the new base for Ben Ainslie Racing. The announcement took place on Tuesday at 10 Downing Street in the presence of the Prime Minister.
David Cameron commented the support: 'Sir Ben Ainslie’s project is truly fantastic news for Portsmouth and the Solent. It will not only build on Portsmouth’s global reputation as a centre of marine and maritime excellence but will also deliver a real sporting and economic boost to the UK. It is a great example of our long-term plan – creating jobs as well as opportunities for young people to develop their skills through apprenticeships. This is an exciting and historic challenge and I hope the whole country can get behind Sir Ben’s campaign.
Read more about the fantastic BAR Team Base and Sailing Centre in Portsmouth at Sail-World.com/uk – the Centre is planned to be ready for May 2015, both as a training center but also for future Americas Cup events.
Extreme Sailing Series had some thrilling races finishing in Saint Petersburg Sunday on the very short and demanding courses at River Neva in the center of the old historical town. The series is now half way in 2014.
With 22 races in total over the four days, and six races on the final day. With the smallest race area so far during the series and up to four knots current, this was truly a demanding venue for the sailors. Each race was equally challenging, offering a different set of conditions for the 12 Extreme 40 teams. A full range of winds, from extremely light to a full on breeze, created its own set of unique challenges, even for the most experienced Extreme 40 teams.
Fighting it out until the bitter end, J.P. Morgan BAR finished the event fourth overall, with 120 points, to place their highest position of the global series so far. J.P. Morgan BAR Skipper, Ben Ainslie, expressed, 'It’s a better result for us than any of our previous events, and we’re improving which is great. With all of these events there have been pretty challenging conditions, so for all of the teams it’s about dealing with that and I think we’re slowly starting to understand a bit more about this type of racing, the demands and how to be successful.'
The 20th anniversary Stena Match Cup Sweden opened with a full day of racing and eight flights of Qualifying completed in near perfect 12-15 knot winds and brilliant sunshine. This is the second stage of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.
Ian Williams won the first in Germany a month ago, and four times World Champion and current ISAF World Ranking #1 Ian Williams (GBR) will be looking for his second World Tour victory in Marstrand, Sweden. There is a very strong line-up in Marstrand, where Ian is up against the other top five match race sailors: Taylor Canfield (ISV), Keith Swinton (AUS), Mathieu Richard (FRA) and Björn Hansen (SWE).
Some of the old 'rock stars' have also showed up, Ed Baird (USA) and Magnus Holmberg. Baird, the former 32nd America’s Cup winning helmsman for Alinghi and three time ISAF Match Racing World Champion (1995, 2003, 2004), has a powerful crew of former America’s Cup sailors competing with him. Local hero Magnus Holmberg, after retiring from professional sailing three years ago, is making a brief return to the Tour and to Sweden for this special birthday of the regatta he originally helped conceive.
When Jeremy Warren and Phil Kirk set off from Weymouth on 31st May, 2014, no one expected that they would be approaching the home straight a month later. The Round Britain sail was planned to take eight weeks, and beat the existing fastest time of 76 days by a couple of weeks or so. However, their 16ft Wayfarer dinghy was specially kitted out to enable them to stay at sea overnight, and this made a fast time achievable.
They sailed up the Irish Sea via Fishguard, Holyhead and the Isle of Man, before going through the Scottish islands, and then round Cape Wrath and Duncansby Head. Their trip down the east coast from Scrabster to Felixstowe Ferry took just over a week. They crossed Thames Estuary Sunday in daylight, and round the South Foreland before sailing for the finish at Castle Cove Sailing Club. If the weather stays fair they hope to reach Weymouth by the 4th July.
Stay up with the latest sailing news, as it happens, on our websites www.sail-world.com/uk and www.sail-world.com/europe
Dan Ibsen, Sail-World UK editor