35th Annual America’s Cup in Bermuda
Posted August 09 2017
2017 marked the 35th Annual America’s Cup (AC), a prestigious competition known to be the world’s oldest sailing event, dating back to 1851. It is a trophy awarded to the winner of a sailing match between two sailing yachts. One of the yachts is the AC holder from the previous year and the second yacht is the challenger competing to claim the AC. The challenger is selected from The Louis Vuitton Cup, which is a race series connected to the AC. Louis Vuitton is further associated to the AC as the official sponsor.
Bermuda was chosen over 11 candidates to host the competition, prompting the island to open its harbours and marinas for 445 boats, including 75 super yachts. With such a surge of visitors, Bermuda had the opportunity to showcase its island charm to spectators and participants who came for the occasion.
Bermuda was selected based on numerous factors including geographic location, sailing conditions, hospitable accommodation and financial capacity. The American firm Moody’s analytics predicts that economic growth will spurt to an average of 2.3% between 2016 and 2017 and rise an additional 1 and 2 percent three years after the wake of the America’s Cup.
The Hon. Dr. E. Grant Gibbons JP, MP Minister of Economic Development noted that the “island never has hosted an event of this magnitude”. In addition to the visiting spectators, the AC was also broadcasted to 162 countries by 29 broadcasters including BBC. Bermuda exhibited its aptitude to host events of this scale and is in a favourable position to host similar international sporting events. Presently, Bermuda is being considered as the venue for the World Triathlon Series with the ITU in 2018.
Team New Zealand took home the AC in the professional category. They defeated Great Britain’s Land Bar ROVER, an AC favourite led by Olympian hero Sir Ben Ainslie in the semi-finals. In the youth division, Bermuda’s Team BDA represented their island well. They were an assembled team of athletes who did not have previous experience sailing the type of boats used in the AC. They set the tone as the host nation of the cup in style by winning the first racing event of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.
The foil boat racing used in the AC is requires high performance sailing which made for a great display but action didn’t only take place on the sea. Other excitement could be found in the AC Village, which was the centre of the AC.
The AC Village was situated in Dockyard, a popular area for tourists and citizens, historically known as a British naval base. The AC Village was utilised as the hub for entertainment, activities, and merchandise. According to the ministry, there were more than 100,000 visits to the AC Village from residents and guests. 71% of those visits were from locals, emphasizing the support and interest shown by the island’s community throughout the 22 days of the AC duration.
There is an overall consensus in Bermuda that the AC was a positive experience for all those involved. Bermuda is pleased to have successfully hosted the AC and look forward to accommodating similar spectacles in future.