Talks lined up about British sailing team for America's Cup

Bournemouth Echo: WINNERS: Oracle Team USA WINNERS: Oracle Team USA

SAILING legend Sir Ben Ainslie has confirmed Weymouth and Portland could host the America’s Cup if a British bid for the prestigious event goes ahead.

The four times Olympic champion inspired Oracle Team USA to one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history by winning the coveted trophy off San Francisco recently.

Now Sir Ben – who is a director of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy – is in talks about launching a British team with the borough as a possible base in a bid to bring the prestigious trophy home for the first time since 1851.

Sir Ben, 36, who returned to the UK on Monday, told the Echo: “Yes there is the possibility of a British team for the 35th edition of the America’s Cup.

“It’s a matter of weeks, literally.

“I’ve got some key meetings with some of these people and we’ll talk pretty honestly about whether we think it’s realistic to get a campaign together.

“I cannot say yet where the base would be if we could get a British team together, everyone would expect Weymouth and Portland to be up there.

“The next few weeks will tell a lot about a potential campaign and moving forward”.

The possibility of a British team being based in the borough has been welcomed – particularly at the Royal Dorset Yacht Club which in 1996 won the rights to host the event.

Commodore Leighton Grey said: “I am sure we would be fully behind it.

“We would do whatever we could to help in that respect.”

Mr Grey added: “Certainly we have the history to help back any sort of bid and would use any contacts that we have to support a bid.”

In 1996 the Royal Dorset Yacht Club, which has a replica of the America’s Cup, won the right to host the event.

The aim was for a British team to win the trophy – sport’s oldest – in New Zealand in 2000 before defending it off Weymouth and Portland four years later but the syndicate behind the bid was forced to back out because it could not drum up enough sponsorship.

More recently, businessman Sir Keith Mills launched a British challenge under the Team Origin name with Sir Ben and fellow Olympians Iain Percy and the late Andrew Simpson but pulled the plug on the bid by 2010.

Peter Allam, who is chief executive of the sailing academy, said: “It would be a wonderful opportunity for Weymouth and Portland if it could happen.

“It depends on what format the cup evolves into. The type of boats are changing each time.”

He added: “I was astounded at the number of people who don’t normally watch sailing who tuned in.

“It wasn’t just because of Sir Ben but was also because of the type of boats they were sailing and the coverage.”

Team Oracle founder Larry Ellison will decide the venue and date of the next Cup but it is likely to be in 2016 and in America although the type of boats may change to make the contest more affordable to more challengers.

Coun Ian Bruce, who is the borough council’s tourism spokesman, said that Portland might also be the base for a foreign team if not a British team.

He added: “It is the best place for people to come and train.

“Our profile would go even higher.

“We should welcome anyone who wants to come along and utilise our unique facilities at Portland.”

History

The Royal Dorset Yacht Club, on Custom House Quay in Weymouth, has a replica of the America’s Cup.

Members of the different sailing clubs in Weymouth crewed Britain’s 1958 America’s Cup reserve team off New York.

They sailed under the burgee, or flag, of the Royal Dorset Yacht Club and were presented with the replica trophy after beating the American reserve team.

A team from the Royal Yacht Dorset Club also battled through the final of the Mini-America’s Cup off New Zealand in 1997 in the build up to the 2000 America’s Cup but lost to the hosts.

Comments (13)

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7:55am Tue 1 Oct 13

arlbergbahn says...

"Coun Ian Bruce, who is the borough council’s tourism spokesman, said that Portland might also be the base for a foreign team if not a British team.

He babbled: “It is the best place for people to come and train.

“Our profile would go even higher.

“We should welcome anyone who wants to come along and utilise our unique facilities at Portland.”"

Seriously, Coun. Ian? Surely W & Hopeless BC aren't intending to claim the credit for this if it does come to pass?
"Coun Ian Bruce, who is the borough council’s tourism spokesman, said that Portland might also be the base for a foreign team if not a British team. He babbled: “It is the best place for people to come and train. “Our profile would go even higher. “We should welcome anyone who wants to come along and utilise our unique facilities at Portland.”" Seriously, Coun. Ian? Surely W & Hopeless BC aren't intending to claim the credit for this if it does come to pass? arlbergbahn

9:32am Tue 1 Oct 13

Wrinklyrod says...

Looking forward to the Motorway signs warning how crowded Weymouth & Portland will be, allowing us locals two rare summer weeks of having the place to ourselves??? Sorry hoteliers.
Looking forward to the Motorway signs warning how crowded Weymouth & Portland will be, allowing us locals two rare summer weeks of having the place to ourselves??? Sorry hoteliers. Wrinklyrod

10:25am Tue 1 Oct 13

rodwell-t-rail says...

Having sailed for the American's then I don't believe that Sir Ben should be allowed to sail for the British team. TRAITOR!!!!!!!
Having sailed for the American's then I don't believe that Sir Ben should be allowed to sail for the British team. TRAITOR!!!!!!! rodwell-t-rail

11:13am Tue 1 Oct 13

satisfecho says...

Good luck to all in bringing the America’s Cup to Weymouth & Portland.

Will be great to see our wonderful coastline being advertised around the world again.
Good luck to all in bringing the America’s Cup to Weymouth & Portland. Will be great to see our wonderful coastline being advertised around the world again. satisfecho

11:57am Tue 1 Oct 13

IDONTKNOWIFITISTRRUE says...

In the picture, it looks like one of the crew is having a fag!
In the picture, it looks like one of the crew is having a fag! IDONTKNOWIFITISTRRUE

4:37pm Tue 1 Oct 13

Wrinklyrod says...

IDONTKNOWIFITISTRRUE wrote:
In the picture, it looks like one of the crew is having a fag!
No. It is a microphone. With the wind noise these fast vessels create it is the only way to all communicate with each other!
[quote][p][bold]IDONTKNOWIFITISTRRUE[/bold] wrote: In the picture, it looks like one of the crew is having a fag![/p][/quote]No. It is a microphone. With the wind noise these fast vessels create it is the only way to all communicate with each other! Wrinklyrod

4:56pm Tue 1 Oct 13

Dave Aitch says...

Doesn't the challenge for the trophy have to take place in the present holders country ?
Doesn't the challenge for the trophy have to take place in the present holders country ? Dave Aitch

7:01pm Tue 1 Oct 13

misterm says...

Dave Aitch wrote:
Doesn't the challenge for the trophy have to take place in the present holders country ?
That is how I understood it to be too. That means that before we can host the event, we must first win it: and we haven't even got a boat yet.

Some years ago I was in Auckland when they hosted the event. On the quayside there were perhaps a few dozen people watching on the big screen, there was nothing to see out to sea, it was all too far away. Most New Zealanders who watched at all did so from home on TV. No different to the Olympic Sailing last year really.
[quote][p][bold]Dave Aitch[/bold] wrote: Doesn't the challenge for the trophy have to take place in the present holders country ?[/p][/quote]That is how I understood it to be too. That means that before we can host the event, we must first win it: and we haven't even got a boat yet. Some years ago I was in Auckland when they hosted the event. On the quayside there were perhaps a few dozen people watching on the big screen, there was nothing to see out to sea, it was all too far away. Most New Zealanders who watched at all did so from home on TV. No different to the Olympic Sailing last year really. misterm

8:47pm Tue 1 Oct 13

rjimmer says...

More dossers with big ideas on how to spend other peoples' money.
More dossers with big ideas on how to spend other peoples' money. rjimmer

8:41am Wed 2 Oct 13

tackleberry says...

PLEASE NO NO NO, The Olympics done enough damage to the area, we cannot have another big event to drive people away from the town. It is going to take us years to recover from the Olympics, don't this traitor Ainsile idiot realise we have families to support.
PLEASE NO NO NO, The Olympics done enough damage to the area, we cannot have another big event to drive people away from the town. It is going to take us years to recover from the Olympics, don't this traitor Ainsile idiot realise we have families to support. tackleberry

12:31pm Wed 2 Oct 13

elloello1980 says...

Do we not celebrate people like Sir Ben Ainslie? One of many british sporting heroes!

Good to see so many 'thumbs down' on the negative comments
Do we not celebrate people like Sir Ben Ainslie? One of many british sporting heroes! Good to see so many 'thumbs down' on the negative comments elloello1980

5:24pm Wed 2 Oct 13

bootedsw says...

i tend to wonder is this about the sport or the sponsorship?
i tend to wonder is this about the sport or the sponsorship? bootedsw

6:59pm Wed 2 Oct 13

bootedsw says...

rodwell-t-rail wrote:
Having sailed for the American's then I don't believe that Sir Ben should be allowed to sail for the British team. TRAITOR!!!!!!!
No way as there was no british boat!
The americans did what they always do, get their big wallet out and get the best from around the world to support them.
[quote][p][bold]rodwell-t-rail[/bold] wrote: Having sailed for the American's then I don't believe that Sir Ben should be allowed to sail for the British team. TRAITOR!!!!!!![/p][/quote]No way as there was no british boat! The americans did what they always do, get their big wallet out and get the best from around the world to support them. bootedsw

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