Flying high on Friday
An action packed first day of practice racing kicked off this morning (Friday) with thousands of visitors flocking to enjoy a day of interactive and exciting fun in the Race Village. The crowds then watched the six elite sailing teams taking part in the practice races just metres away from them on the Solent.
The day began with all of the sailors at the Dock Out Show, sharing their hopes for the weekend ahead of racing. Sir Ben Ainslie, Principal and Skipper of Land Rover BAR said: "It's awesome for us as competitors to race in front of our home crowd, our home city, Portsmouth; it's what it's all about. It's awesome to see so many people already turning out and the weather looks great for this weekend. We really want to put on a good show."
Land Rover BAR had a visit from HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, as Prince Phillip enjoyed a tour of their base and met with Sir Keith Mills, Chairman of TEAMORIGIN, organisers of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Portsmouth and key personnel from Land Rover BAR. The Duke then ventured out on to the water to meet with Sir Ben and the team.
The afternoon began with a flying start thanks to the Red Arrows, who put on a spectacular display for the crowds. The next two days of the event will also see aerial displays at 12pm, with the Blades on Saturday and the Red Bull Matadors on Sunday.
The official practice races started soon after the Red Arrows and Team Land Rover BAR was triumphant in the first two races delivering on his earlier promise to "put on a good show" for the home crowds. At the post-race Dock In Show, Sir Ben said: "It was quite light winds, with tricky conditions, but still a good race course. We were happy with how we sailed today. We made a few small errors that we need to go and iron out for the rest of the weekend, but we're really excited about the days to come.
Paul 'CJ' Campbell-James, Wing Trimmer for the team added: "We had a great day. Ben is absolutely on fire, he's obviously got 'Dad Power' and we're keeping up. In terms of the results it was really good, the boat was going fast and we were sailing well. The highlight of every race was coming down the last reach with all the crowd shouting. Definitely, the louder they shout the faster we go. The more shouting the better!"
Softbank Team Japan won Race Three with Land Rover BAR taking a solid third place. Dean Barker, skipper of Softbank Team Japan, said: "Last year the crowds that turned up on the Saturday were just unbelievable. It seems the momentum is starting to build around BAR and the America's Cup being here, so I think it's going to be huge tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to it." 'Spectacular Saturday' is the first day of Official Racing with the Race Village opening at 11am. At 11.30am the Official Event Opening Ceremony will give the crowds the opportunity to see the arrival of the America's Cup and meet the six teams competing. Tickets are available from: www.lvacwsportsmouth.com/tickets