INTERNATIONAL sailing events such as the America’s Cup could come to Falmouth if ambitious plans by the town’s oldest yacht club come to fruition.
The Royal Cornwall Yacht Club (RCYC), of which Sir Ben Ainslie is an honorary life member, says the town is missing out on major events because it does not have the right facilities.
The announcement came as Sir Ben said he is one step closer to entering a British team into the 163-year-old event after sourcing some of the £60 million finance for the challenge.
As part of a 10-year plan, the club wants to expand its ageing property at Greenbank to include extra storage, pontoon space, water access and training facilities.
Vice commodore Bob Collings, who represents the club’s maintenance and development committee, said it was time for the RCYC to expand for the benefit of Falmouth and Cornwall.
“We are trying to bring prosperity to Falmouth and the business people of the town with these sailing events but, unless we have got the facilities they just won’t come.
“There is only one place for the public to launch dinghies in Falmouth. If we put an international sailing event we need a place to launch the boats.
Mr Collings said the club was looking to add more pontoons and space to launch dinghies.
“We are doing it for Falmouth and the whole of the county. If anyone should do it, it should be the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club.”
The 143-year-old club is sounding out Cornwall Council before it makes a formal planning application.
“At this stage we are just looking at what we are allowed to do, said Mr Collings. “We haven’t drawn up any plans yet. We haven’t even got the money.
“But we are being offered very large sailing events and we have not got the space or storage for it.
“Pendennis gave us permission to use 10 lasers to encourage young people to sail, but we have nowhere to store them.
“We also want a training room to teach youngsters.”
Sir Ben Ainslie added that the 35th America's Cup is likely to take place in San Francisco in 2017.
Sir Ben hopes to raise around half of the money required for a British challenge from private backers, with the rest from commercial sponsorship.
Sir Ben told The Guardian newspaper: "There's no fixed date for the publication of the rules but we expect some rough drafts in the next month or so and for that to be made public in the spring.”