Olympic yachtsman Sir Ben Ainslie is leading the British challenge for the trophy, having won it for the USA last year.
Ben Ainslie Racing was yesterday granted £7.5m of government money towards construction of the new base on the Camber in Portsmouth from which his challenge will be mounted. Portsmouth City Council gave planning approval last month for the site of the new base.
In charge of construction is Jonathan Goring, former managing director of Capita Symonds. The team developing the base includes: HGP Architects (already responsible for Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quay); Allied Developments as main contractor; structural engineer Reuby & Stagg and environmental consultant Couch Perry Wilkes.
According to the architects, the building provides three key functions: team headquarters for design/training; boat building; and public visitor centre / VIP hospitality. Using modern methods of off-site construction the fabric and technologies incorporated into the design will need to provide carbon neutral credentials, HGP said. The concept of the building has been developed around a stepping façade comprising of a semi transparent PTFE fabric stretched around a robust base structure of polished concrete with the fabric having the capacity to be externally backlit.
Completion is scheduled for May 2015.
Prime minister David Cameron said: “Sir Ben Ainslie’s project is truly fantastic news for Portsmouth and the Solent. It will not only build on Portsmouth’s global reputation as a centre of marine and maritime excellence but will also deliver a real sporting and economic boost to the UK. It is a great example of our long-term plan – creating jobs as well as opportunities for young people to develop their skills through apprenticeships. This is an exciting and historic challenge and I hope the whole country can get behind Sir Ben’s campaign.”
Sir Ben Ainslie said: “Portsmouth has a great maritime heritage and we felt it was a natural home for the team’s permanent base in the UK. There is excellent access to the water for the team’s training and to host future America’s Cup events, with fantastic spectator viewpoints. We hope through our journey to bring the Cup home to Britain we will inspire more young people to get involved in the sport, along with supporting the growth of the marine sector in the Solent area to match the country’s F1 innovation hub.”