Following the success of 2015’s inaugural Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth, the Royal Navy have once again pledged their support to the prestigious sailing event.
Sir Keith Mills, Chairman of ACWS Portsmouth, has expressed his delight at securing the backing of the Royal Navy asOfficial Stakeholder for the second year.
He said: “Ever since our meeting two years ago with the then First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, and Naval Base Commander Commodore Jeremy Rigby, we have enjoyed the utmost commitment and support from the Royal Navy.
“We are proud to be able to call the Royal Navy an Official Stakeholder of this year’s event. It would be difficult to think of anywhere in Great Britain that has a stronger affiliation with the maritime world than Portsmouth, and it is very important for the international teams to have access to the city’s naval dockyard within Her Majesty’s Naval Base in Portsmouth.
“We share similar goals, passions, and synergies across a number of key areas — maritime history, marine development, supporting innovation and technologies for the future, and contributing to significant business opportunities in Portsmouth.
Through our close association with the 1851 Trust, we are creating many maritime career and apprenticeship opportunities for young people in the area.”
Commodore Jeremy Rigby, Commander of HM Naval Base Portsmouth, said: “Great Britain is a maritime nation and the Royal Navy continues to be at the heart of protecting and promoting our prosperity on the high seas.
“We are doing everything we can to help facilitate this exciting maritime competition in the spiritual home of the Royal Navy, noting the huge benefits it brings to the UK, and to Portsmouth in particular.”
The Royal Navy’s Queen’s Harbour Master will provide berthing and technical facilities on-site, and will prove instrumental in clearing a safe unobstructed race course for the event. Last year’s racing attracted thousands of spectator vessels, lining the course out in the Solent.
The technologically-advanced carbon-fibre AC45 catamarans which race in the World Series are capable of speeds in excess of 40knots (roughly 46mph). With the six international crews travelling at such high speeds in close proximity to the Southsea shoreline, careful stewardship of the race course is vital.
The event is well-served by a large number of Royal Navy vessels, including the 436ft frigate HMS Kent, which will act as official Guard Ship.
Planning for both the maritime and onshore activities for this major sailing event is focused on the safety of competitors, spectators, and other water users. Clearly-marked race marshals, safety craft, police boats, and the Queen’s Harbour Master will be on hand to safely shepherd non-participants away from the high-speed yachts in the racing area.
The Queen’s Harbour master is urging visitors to familiarise themselves with the marine traffic restrictions set in place for the busy periods that the large high-tech catamarans will be in operation, racing or transiting in and out of Portsmouth harbour.
Aiming to minimise the disruption to other boat users and scheduled ferry services within the channels, the Queen’s Harbour Master will issue a detailed Notice to Mariners on their website to advise all mariners of traffic and anchoring restrictions in place.
Detailed information will be published at regular intervals, taking account of the prevailing wind and weather forecasts that will influence the arrangements for marine traffic management.
Leslie Greenhalgh, Event Director of ACWS Portsmouth, said: “As we saw last year, the support we have received from the Royal Navy is fundamental to the successful hosting of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to display the tremendous maritime and naval heritage of the city. I’d like to thank the hard-working team in the Naval Base, for giving their time and energy.
“The event offers ‘something for everyone’ and we encourage fans from around Britain to visit Portsmouth and support Land Rover BAR on home waters and experience the spectacle of the America’s Cup.”
The ticketed Race Village on land will also feature a Royal Navy presence, with spectators able to meet Royal Navy service staff and take a look around offshore craft and vehicles, and take on the Marine climbing wall challenge.