Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Sir Ben Ainslie confirms America's Cup HQ Solent plan

Sir Ben Ainslie Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Sir Ben Ainslie was part of Oracle Team USA which won the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco last year

Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie has confirmed he plans to bring an America's Cup team to the south coast of England.

It follows a bid last month to attract a team to the Solent as part of a plan to boost the marine industry.

The Lymington yachtsman is putting together a UK team to challenge for the prestigious sailing prize.

He told BBC Radio Solent he was looking at a number of sites around Southampton and Portsmouth.

"We're waiting for the reports to come though in terms of planning and funding before we make that final decision, but we will be based somewhere in the Solent area which is great," he said.

He said it would "boost the marine industry in this area, which is great for the local economy".

Last week, his Ben Ainslie Racing company submitted a planning application to Portsmouth City Council to build his team HQ on East Street in the city.

Navy shipbuilding

Sir Ben won the America's Cup as navigator on board the US boat Oracle last year and has previously said he would like the British challenge to be based in the south of England.

The competition first took place off the Isle of Wight in 1851, but it has never been won by Britain.

In November, BAE announced shipbuilding would cease at its Portsmouth yard, with the loss of more than 900 jobs.

All Navy shipbuilding is set to move to Scotland this year.

BAE has said 940 staff posts and 170 agency workers will go at the Portsmouth site, which will retain repairs and maintenance work.

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