The scene has been set for a great weekend!
There is just one day to go until the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series (LVACWS) begins in Portsmouth and the excitement has been building both on land in the Race Village and on the water.
Early this morning (Thursday) the team of fully trained Airbus Wavemaker volunteers wearing their distinctive blue t-shirts and caps were welcomed to the event. The group of 350 volunteers have been recruited to enhance the experience of visitors to the event with local knowledge and information about what is on offer. Look out for their distinctive blue t-shirts and caps over the weekend in and around the Race Village.
More than 200 children visited the Race Village with the 1851 Trust for a day of games, challenges and activities. The children from the local community were invited to spend the day at the event as part of the charity's drive to enable young people from a variety of backgrounds to engage with sailing and the marine industry. The children enjoyed making boats out of recyclable items, gutter boat racing and using interactive equipment to learn more about the technology behind sailing.
The event also welcomed the six teams of elite sailors competing in the World Series and saw the AC45 catamarans ('speed machines') craned into the Solent ahead of the practise racing tomorrow (Friday), with the teams enjoying practise sessions in the glorious sunshine.
The skippers from each team attended a press conference packed with media from across the globe to offer an insight into their preparation and tactics ahead of the races. Sir Ben Ainslie was greeted by a spontaneous round of applause due to the announcement earlier in the day of the arrival of his first child, a baby girl called Bellatrix.
Sir Ben, Principal of Britain's Land Rover BAR team and challenger for the America's Cup explained how important the support of the home crowds attending the event over the weekend is: "The biggest advantage for us is the home crowd. You can hear them from the water and that's what makes it so special to be racing in Portsmouth."
James Spithill, skipper of the defending Oracle Team USA, added: "We're setting up for a great weekend's racing. Let the best team win!"
Tickets to watch the world's fastest flying boats and the best sailors taking to the water in Portsmouth for the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Portsmouth 22 – 24th July are available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk/acwsportsmouth