Portsmouth does not realise just what is in store when it plays host to one of the biggest events in its history.
With just a week to go until global attention is on the city and the America’s Cup World Series, sailing leaders say it will be a spectacle like no other and live up to everything it’s been hyped up to be.
It comes as British contenders Land Rover BAR, led by Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie, make final preparations at their Camber base and international
teams move into the region ready to compete.
Hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to make up the Southsea Common race village where all of the action can be viewed from.
There’s an action-packed programme of activities on top of the races over the four days, as well as a VIP guestlist.
And yesterday crew and maritime bosses came together as the third of BAR’s support boats, built by Lymington firm Scorpion Ribs, was delivered to its Camber headquarters.
All three will aid Sir Ben’s team as they practice in the Solent.
Speaking during a presentation at the state-of-the-art Old Portsmouth facility, Sir Ben said spectators should gear up for a ‘very special’ occasion.
He said: ‘There’s a real buzz when you see the teams we have got here.
‘We’ve got Oracle Team USA, the defending champions, Team New Zealand, as well as Artemis and the Japanese team.
‘They are all out on the water, and have all contributed to the buzz that has been created.
‘We were down at the event site earlier and you can see how the whole naval dockyard area is going to be fantastic for people.
‘They will be able to walk through and meet the teams and help create that amazing atmosphere.
‘It’s going to be a pinnacle event.
‘It’s the first time we are going to see six foiling yachts close together.
‘It will be something very special.’
Scorpion boss Patrick Byrne said: ‘I don’t think Portsmouth knows what is going to arrive.
‘I went to the last World Series in Naples, and they had one million people.
‘It was a fantastic event.
‘It’s a unique occasion and the good and greats of the sailing world will be here.
‘It’s a massive event and until recently, the need to make sailing a spectator sport was always difficult.
‘It wasn’t until the most recent World Series you saw just how close the action was to the shore. You can see who is winning and losing.’
Meanwhile, thousands of free tickets over the four days from Thursday to Sunday are still up for grabs, with more than 10,000 already been sold.
Separate paid-for tickets are required for the Portsmouth Live! show, featuring Carly Rae Jepsen, McBusted and Wet Wet Wet.
The Massed Bands of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines kick off the entertainment schedule with two nights of classical, contemporary and military music.
To buy tickets, visit ticketmaster.co.uk/acwsportsmouth