Your guide to the Emirates America's Cup World Series Portsmouth

Unfortunately the America's Cup World Series Portsmouth has had to be cancelled due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. We hope to welcome another event back to the city in future.

The America's Cup World Series features the most exhilarating racing and the world's fastest boats - and this year, it's coming back to the most iconic and historic venue of them all.

The Solent was the setting for the very first America's Cup, as sailors from across the globe headed here for a race around the Isle of Wight. This event, back in 1851, gave the tournament a great many things - not least its name. A schooner that went by America won the inaugural event, meaning the cup was named for being in its possession (which is also responsible for that apostrophe in America's Cup, which often catches grammar fans off guard!).

The 1851 event also gave rise to the tournament's motto, which is still in use today. The (possibly apocryphal) story goes thus: as Queen Victoria watched America romp to victory - some eight minutes ahead of her nearest rival - the monarch asked an aide who had come in second. "Ah, Your Majesty" came the droll response, "there is no second".

There's also the trophy - variously called the America's Cup ewer, or pitcher, but most commonly (and indeed colloquially) the Auld Mug. It remains the oldest trophy still contested not just in sailing, but in the entire world of professional sport.

Despite all this great history, the America's Cup has never been won by a British team. Yet.

Sir Ben Ainslie is determined to change this, and has built a team based right here in Portsmouth to try and bring the cup home. He's amassed the best sailors and engineers, to design, build and then race one of the most technologically advanced boats to ever take to the water. Under the Ineos Team UK banner, Sir Ben aims to launch a campaign to win the trophy from current holders New Zealand in 2021.

Before that, however, there's qualifying events as part of the Emirates America's Cup World Series. These three regattas will see participating nations head to Cagliari in Sardinia, then Portsmouth, before finishing at Auckland, New Zealand. Finally, March 2021 will see Auckland host the main event, the Prada America's Cup itself.

Qualifying events give teams the chance to properly test their vessels in a live race environment, and give fans a unique insight into how the challenge could develop.

Portsmouth is gearing up to host four days of racing, all of which will take place close to the shore - meaning fans can feel part of the action right the way through each and every race. What’s more, with these foiling monohulls being tipped as the fastest and most advanced boats ever made, there's every chance a brand new America's Cup speed record could be set right here on the Solent!

Sir Ben said of the event: “We are really looking forward to competing in front of our home crowd again. The 2015 and 2016 America’s Cup World Series events in Portsmouth saw an estimated 250,000 fans line the Southsea waterfront. It’s so great that Portsmouth has been chosen as only one of two locations outside of New Zealand where people can watch the AC75 foiling monohulls in action. We are confident the racing will deliver a true spectacle.”

Emirates America's Cup World Series Portsmouth

Four of the biggest names in America's Cup racing will contest the World Series event: New Zealand, America, Italy and - of course - Ineos Team UK.

Visitors to the event won't just be able to get up close to the racing action, but also the sailors themselves, with daily 'dock out' shows and live talks on the main stage. There will also be big screens showcasing all the action, so you can see the workings of each monohull (and the 11 sailors crewing each one) up close.

There will be plenty of drama to catch, with a change to the format for 2020 bringing with it more heart-stopping racing than ever before. This year will see the teams compete one-on-one in a match racing format - to make for a series of fascinating duels. Of course, the start and finish lines will be positioned as close to shore as possible, so spectators don't miss any dramatic finishes.

Around the area

The area around Castle Field will be turned into a Race Village for the event. Inside will be tents with interactive displays from all the competing teams, as well as global street food available and bars selling all manner of food and drink.

The Race Village will be open from 10.30am to 6pm each day with an action-packed programme to be announced. There will also be a Premier Grandstand set up on the Bandstand field (unfortunately not called the Bandstand Grandstand), offering elevated seating for the best views of the action, jumbo screens nearby and the clearest commentary. A Grandstand ticket gets you a guaranteed seat for the day, plus entry to the Race Village.

For a truly luxury experience there's the Emirates Lounge set up at the Pyramids. A ticket to the Emirates Lounge gets you entry to the private viewing area, a reserved Grandstand seat, complementary food and drink vouchers, fast track entry, dedicated experts to cover the action and a whole load more.

Tickets for the event are now on sale via Ticketmaster and more details can be found at: americascup.com/acws/portsmouth.

Get involved

Following on from its successes in 2015 and 2016, the Wavemakers programme will be back for ACWS 2020. The scheme will see around 150 volunteers help deliver the World Series event, through a number of different roles.

Volunteers will assist with everything from general event support to TV production, stage management, event control, media, hospitality and more.

If you want to get involved in the event, have local knowledge to share with visitors, or want some valuable work experience, registration is now open here.

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