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Sir Ben's team maintains lead in the America's Cup

Toulon played host to the weekend's America's Cup races

Sailing fans from Hampshire were in Toulon in France over the weekend to show their support for the Portsmouth-based Ben Ainslie Racing team.

The Land Rover BAR crew won the second race on Sunday, and came third overall in the weekend's events at Toulon. Sir Ben Ainslie's team still lead the America's Cup World Series event as a whole. The next leg will be in Japan in November. Sally Simmonds sent this report.

Supporters from home travel to France to see Portsmouth-based team

Successful first day for America's Cup - will it continue?

Credit: Ricardo Pinto

The first day of racing at the America's Cup in Portsmouth saw huge crowds watching the action on the water as Sir Ben Ainslie's team Land Rover BAR won two out of the three races in the summer sunshine.

Speaking before the three official races began, Sir Ben Ainslie said: "Other than actually winning the America's Cup, this is by far and away the biggest deal for us. Winning last year in front of guys was incredible for all of us. That's why we compete; we want to do it in front of our home crowd. It looks like great racing and we're going for it!"

The Blades aerobatic team put on a stunning aerial display at 12pm and racing then kicked off at 1.30pm.

The first race proved to be a tough start for Land Rover BAR, with a photo finish seeing them end in fifth place.

The team regrouped and then stormed to victory in races two and three to applause and cheers from the home crowds waving Union Jack flags.

Watch all the highlights of Day One below:


Sir Ben gives Portsmouth something to cheer about!

The hero of the home crowd certainly gave his fans something to cheer about yesterday. Sir Ben Ainslie won the first day's racing of the America's Cup World Series in Portsmouth in front of tens of thousands of spectators. Former Wimbledon Tennis champion Maria Sharapova took to the water to see Great Britain win the day - Sally Simmonds was watching.

Sailing success for Sir Ben's team in America's Cup

Sir Ben won two out of three races this afternoon Credit: PA Wire

After a modest start, Sir Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR team managed to claw it back to win the next two races in today's sailing of the America's Cup.

The tournament is being held at Portsmouth, just around the corner from where Ainslie's new training facility was built in Old Portsmouth.

Credit: PA images

And Ben Ainslie wasn't the only familiar sporting face at the event this weekend - tennis star Maria Sharapova also took to a boat to watch the sailing action up close.


Fast and furious: The sailing that's bringing in millions for the South

Now, if the city of Portsmouth had any doubts about the economic impact of being the home of Sir Ben Ainslie's dream to win the America's Cup - this week they got reassurance in abundance.

Figures show the team - plus the World Series Event - in July - will bring in over one hundred million pounds. This fast and furious racing is captivating the crowds - and therefore bringing in the cash.

Sally Simmonds has caught up with Sir Keith Mills, Chairman of Portsmouth ACWS Event, Sir Ben Ainslie and Freddie Carr, crew of Land Rover BAR.

Local economy boost for America's Cup bid

Four-time Olympic champion Sir Ben Ainslie has spoken of his desire to get the country behind his ambition to bring the America's Cup to Britain.

Land Rover BAR Team Principle Sir Ben Ainslie poses for a photograph after a media briefing at Land Rover BAR Headquarters, Portsmouth. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Archive/PA Images

The 38-year-old said gaining the support of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for his Land Rover BAR team, earlier in the year, was a boost to the plan to broaden the appeal of sailing.

His comments come as Land Rover BAR announced a £47 million boost for the UK economy created by the 2015 Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series held in Portsmouth this July, with a greater boost expected for the second event next summer.

Sir Ben was supported by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at a meeting in July Credit: Ian Vogler/The Daily Mirror/PA Wire/Press Association Images

America's Cup sailor looking forward to Great South Run

America's Cup sailor Iain Percy from Emsworth is taking part in the Great South run on Sunday in aid of the Andrew Simpson foundation - the charity set up in memory of "Bart', his lifelong friend and sailing parter. The skipper of the Swedish America's Cup team ,Artemis, and double Olympic medallist has been taking time out from sailing to train for the 10-mile race. But he says he's not expecting to run fast. Video shows sailing and interview with Iain Percy.

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