Portsmouth America's Cup Sailing Attracts 245,000 Spectators
4 August 2015, 10:18
Organisers of the America's Cup World Series in Portsmouth have revealed 245,000 people went along to watch - despite the bad weather.
108,000 spectators took in the racing from within the Southsea common event site, 25,700 went out on the on the water themselves and 111,000 watched the action from sites around Portsmouth including the Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf Quays.
Big Saturday (25 July) saw 67,000 spectators onsite, 22,000 on water and a further 49,000 off site all enjoying the action.
The final day of racing had to be cancelled on the Sunday because of the awful weather, with the Waterfront Festival Arena and Fanzone Arena closed and the public asked to leave the event site.
Winds along the coast reached 30 knots - if it goes above 25 racing has to be cancelled.
It came after Sir Ben Ainslie's British team had a cracking Saturday, ending in front of the other teams in the World Series in the Solent off Southsea Common. That meant his Land Rover BAR won the weekend's racing by a point.
Despite the weather on Sunday 26 July, the event welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Portsmouth who braved the elements, meeting the teams and attending and presenting the prizes to the competing teams.
Earlier in the day, The Duke and Duchess showed their support for the event and the British America's Cup team when they met youngsters from the 1851 Trust, the official charity of Land Rover BAR and the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series, Portsmouth event, which seeks to inspire and engage a new generation through sailing and the marine industry
British fans came out in huge numbers to support home team Land Rover BAR as they made a winning start to their 35th America's Cup journey, the team used the crowds to spur them on during the two races on 'Big Saturday'.
Sir Ben Ainslie, Team Principle and Skipper, Land Rover BAR said:
"In my sailing career, I've never seen anything like that. The amount of people that came out on the water, on the shore line, supporting the event and supporting us as a home team, all of us as a team were completely blown away."
Sir Keith Mills, Chairman Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series, Portsmouth said:
"On behalf of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series, Portsmouth, we would like to thank all the spectators that came from around the world to be part of this iconic sailing event. Despite the weather, the event delivered and the Saturday was a particular highlight, with over 60,000 people visiting the on-land spectator arena and over 22,000 watching the action from the water.
"The America's Cup teams delivered spectacular racing on the water and with home team Land Rover BAR winning the event making it extra special"
"In addition to the amazing atmosphere created by the spectators, the feedback from our corporate partners and the media in attendance has been very positive, this is despite losing an event day due to the extreme weather on Sunday 26th July.
"We will be providing a full event economic and media impact report by the end of August to highlight the benefits of the event to the Portsmouth area and the initial results are hugely positive reading.
"We are now straight into planning mode for next year's event, scheduled to be held between 21st and 24th July 2016, and there is little doubt that this event is now a must-attend event on the British sporting calendar."
Planning now starts for 2016 with last month marking the first of two years in which Portsmouth will host the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series with the next year's edition also scheduled to take place in July.