America's Cup: Portsmouth aiming to host World Series

Oracle Team USA

Portsmouth is hoping to play host to two preparation events for yachting's 35th America's Cup over the next two summers.

If successful, the world series event would be contested off Southsea seafront in June 2015 and July 2016.

The series helps the six teams entered for the next full America's Cup in 2017 to develop and test the catamaran boats - which will be used in the main event.

Portsmouth is also the base for Sir Ben Ainslie's British bid to win the Cup.

Ainslie was credited for inspiring Oracle Team USA to a dramatic win in the America's Cup decider in San Francisco last year.

The four-time Olympic champion, 36, was drafted in as tactician and helped reverse an 8-1 deficit against Team New Zealand.

Since then, officials have been working on the rules governing the next series of races.

In a new format, at least six America's Cup World Series events will be held in both 2015 and 2016 and each race will count towards qualification or points in the final America's Cup match in 2017.

There will be a new class of yacht, the AC62, for the final races. It will feature the hydrofoil technology, which raises the boats out of the water, creating high speed and dramatic racing.

At least 25% of crew members will have to be from the nation where the team comes from, under the new rules.

A venue for the deciding races in 2017 has not been decided yet, but will be announced before the end of the year.

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