America’s Cup: Britain gets early taste of event drama

Published on June 3rd, 2014

Britain’s Ben Ainslie has given his country Olympic fulfillment for the past five consecutive Summer Games, with Sir Ben’s collection of four gold and one silver medal earning him knighthood

Last summer, the Brits saw him as savior to the America’s Cup defense team, coming onboard to mastermind one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history.

Sir Ben rolls with royalty and dates celebrities. He is charitable. He is the latest recipient of the Leadership in Sport Award in Britain. And now he wants to win the America’s Cup for his country.

Ever since a USA entry won the inaugural competition off the Isle of Wight organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron back in 1851, it has never been won by a British entry. Sir Ben believes that bringing the trophy, affectionately known as the Auld Mug, back to Britain would cap anything he has achieved in his career.

He appears to have the funding. Heck, Sir Ben even has the Duchess of Cambridge attending the official launch of his America’s Cup bid on June 10, which follows one day after the opening of the entry period on June 9.

Amazingly, however, with Sir Ben’s bid not yet formally launched, the sporting hero has already upset people.

Sir Ben has sailed into stormy waters with his plans to build his sailing headquarters in Old Portsmouth, Hants. The development would include offices, meeting rooms, training and medical facilities and a car park. But the proposal has upset residents of the waterfront area.

Opponents consider the size and design of the facility to be out of character with the area, conflicting current zoning rules, and criticize the town council for rushing the planning permission process and keeping the public at distance from the process.

With the desire for the America’s Cup to propel itself as a marketable entertainment and sporting event, perhaps it needs to first figure out how to spend less time infuriating people as a news event.

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