PRIME Minister David Cameron heralded the Olympics as a ‘great advertisement’ for Weymouth and Portland that will inspire a new generation of sailors.

In an exclusive interview with the Dorset Echo, Mr Cameron cited the new Portland Marina at Osprey Quay and the Olympic Sailing Village – which will return to the market later this year and include affordable housing – as physical examples of legacy benefits but said the true worth would be far greater.

Mr Cameron said: “You can see quite a lot of legacy in terms of Portland’s great new marina, berthing arrangements and the athletes’ accommodation.

“Alongside the physical infrastructure invested and built, there’s the even bigger boost because the Olympics have given Weymouth and Portland great advertisement time.

“It will also inspire a whole lot of people to take up windsurfing and sailing.”

Mr Cameron watched Weymouth’s Olympian Nick Dempsey claim silver on home waters, to add to the Athens bronze in his collection.

Watching from a 52ft Beneteau Swift Trawler, one of the 23 motor yachts supplied by Beneteau to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog), with Team GB Olympians Ben Ainslie , Andrew Simpson and Ali Young, her Weymouth coach Hugh Styles and Royal Yachting Association performance director John Derbyshire.

Mr Cameron said: “It was great, I couldn’t have had a better guide than Ben Ainslie to explain the racing to me.

“Nick did a brilliant job, I could see what a great race he sailed, it was very exciting to see a silver medal won here in Weymouth.”

Mr Cameron flew into Portland from Wales by helicopter at midday yesterday as part of a tour to promote sport around the United Kingdom.

He has already been in Scotland and Northern Ireland over the past week.

After visiting Portland, Mr Cameron visited the Nothe ticketed spectator site where he could be seen cheering on Dorset’s Match Race Girls in their quarter final race.

British Sailing Team leader Stephen Park, who accompanied the Prime Minister through Portland Marina, said the Prime Minister seemed ‘very bright’.

He said: “As is often the case, the same with Princess Anne, he was very well informed, he knew the format of the races and the scores.

“He had an understanding of what was going on.

“He seemed relaxed, he was chatting about his own sailing experience on Enterprise two-handed dinghies.”

Mr Park said the Prime Minister was interested in how the visiting teams were feeling and whether the facilities had been adequate for them.

He added: “The response from myself, Ben and Andrew was the feedback from all our competitors is they think everything has been run well and the facilities have been fantastic.”

Sherborne’s double Olympic medallist Andrew Simpson tweeted afterwards: “Just met the PM!

“He came across really well and was loving the sailing. Go team GB!”

Cameron supports Echo’s campaign

THE Prime Minister praised the Bring on the Games campaign launched by the Dorset Echo with support from Weymouth and Portland Olympic Operations Team and Team Dorset NHS Challenge.

David Cameron said the campaign, which had funded more than 15,000 car window stickers to enable Dorset residents to show their support for the Olympic and Paralympic sailing events, had been ‘very helpful’.

He said: “Weymouth and Portland was the first venue to be completed, on time and within budget.

“The Olympics has been a great advertisement to Weymouth and Portland, it’s a lovely part of the world.”

  •  AFTER coming ashore, the Prime Minister met with representatives of the various armed forces involved in protecting the Olympic sailing venue around the clock.

Captain Charles Coventry, of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry, and Wey-mouth’s very own Commander Mike Toft, of the Royal Navy, who heads up the venue security cover, met Mr Cameron at Portland Marina.

They introduced members of 42 Commando, 30 Commando, the Royal Wessex Yeomanry and Royal Navy sailors.

Mr Cameron shook hands with everyone, saying: “Thank you for keeping us safe.”

Mr Cameron also praised the Games Maker volunteers and said: “Thanks for all you’re doing.”