Bermuda Gearing Up To Host 2017 America's Cup

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Bermuda, a British Overseas Territory, located off the east coast of North America will host the 2017 America’s Cup presented by Louis Vuitton. Oracle Team USA, who are the defending champion, and thus according to the rules responsible for choosing the location and organizing what will become the 35th America’s Cup awarded Bermuda with the honor.

Aligned with the Caribbean region when it comes to culture and tourism, Bermuda was perhaps a bit of an underdog to host the 165-year-old sailing event and the world’s oldest continuous sporting event as billionaire Larry Ellison, Oracle’s team owner, lives in San Diego where the event has been held on three previous occasions. During the announcement, Harvey Schiller, the Commercial Commissioner for the America’s Cup said:

In Bermuda we have a perfect international venue to demonstrate the excitement America’s Cup boats and teams can generate. The sailing conditions are near perfect. The race course on The Great Sound is a natural amphitheater with room for racing and spectators, amid a spectacular backdrop of islands and beaches.

Bermuda - Aerial View. Photo Credit: ©Bermuda Tourism Authority.
Bermuda – Aerial View. Photo Credit: ©Bermuda Tourism Authority.

To capitalize on this global sporting event considered one of the most challenging, Bermuda is investing approximately US$70million and expects to see a return of at least US$300million. The long-term goal is to leverage Bermuda’s participation in the 35th America’s Cup to become one of the world’s top Superyacht destinations which in turn should help act as a catalyst to drive the yachting and marine sector in the Caribbean forward. To help achieve, some of the investments by Bermuda leading up to the 35th America’s Cup include:

* Redevelopment of the Royal Naval Dockyard into the spectator village, as well as shopping and entertainments center
* New Marina at Hamilton Princess
* Development of a 77 berth venture at Morgan’s Point
* New hotel developments including the Michael Douglas property at Ariel Sands
* Refurbishment of many of the hotels across the island
* Redevelopment of the Hamilton Princess Beach Club now a very stylish hotel with incredible views of the harbor, home to a fabulous contemporary art collection and two new restaurants

Beyond these infrastructure developments which are being funded by both government and private partners, plans are underway to introduce a Superyachts program, with the goal of welcoming at least 100 Superyachts for the 35th America’s Cup and encouraging them to keep coming back once they’ve had a taste of Bermudian hospitality.

Bermuda - Sailing via the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Photo Credit: ©Bermuda Tourism Authority.

Bermuda - Learning to sail via the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Photo Credit: ©Bermuda Tourism Authority.Bermuda - Learning to sail via the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Photo Credit: ©Bermuda Tourism Authority.

Bermuda – Sailing and learning to sail via the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Photo Credit: ©Bermuda Tourism Authority.

The 35th America’s Cup is sure to be exciting as Sir Ben Ainslie the most successful Olympic sailor of all time with four gold medals (and one silver) is leading the British team to challenge the defending American team who he helped win victory during the 34th America’s Cup. Ainslie being Skipper of the British team brings increased awareness of the event, scrutiny, pressure and of course the chance for glory as if they qualify for the final regatta and pull off the victory this will be their first America’s Cup win. Surprisingly, while the first America’s Cup was staged on the Isle of White on England’s south coast in 1851, Britain has never actually won the coveted trophy.

Bermuda Learn To Sail Program

To help dispel the elitist image around sailing and attract new fans in advance of the 35th America’s Cup which is named after the original winning schooner America and not the country which has dominated the race, Bermuda has launched a Learning to Sail Program. The program caters to experienced sailors who are seeking to improve their skills but more to complete novices like myself and it was through this program that I undertook my first proper sailing lesson. Specifically, I was an invited guest of the Bermuda Tourism Authority who sponsored the annual Travelmole Regatta to celebrate the launch of their new Learn to Sail Program and being the host of the 35th America’s Cup.

Now while I had previously watched America’s Cup and Olympic sailing races, I wasn’t prepared for the rollercoaster thrill and intensity of participating in four races after a safety briefing and sailing tutorial from Marine Events who organized the races. One minute the conditions were calm and pristine for relaxation and enjoying the beautiful scenery, the next, the winds quickly picked up and required rigorous tacking, jibing or scrumming from one side to the next of our Beneteau First 40 considered a thoroughbred cruiser/ racer. Talk about a workout and such an invigorating sport. No surprise then the day’s sailing event fostered teamwork and a sense of accomplishment. Heck, truth be told our last place finish despite a gallant effort after four races (4th out of 4 sailboats) didn’t damper our spirits. We had so much fun and just generally a good feeling about being out in the open waters close to the location of the first America’s Cup in near perfect sailing conditions.

Bermuda Learn To Sail event in Southampton. Photo Credit: @TravelMole.

Bermuda Learn To Sail event in Southampton. Photo Credit: ©Marine Events.Bermuda Learn To Sail event in Southampton. Photo Credit: ©Marine Events.Bermuda Learn To Sail event in Southampton - Kat Caprice & Ursula Barzey. Photo Credit: ©Kat Caprice.

Bermuda – Learn to Sail event in Southampton. Photo Credit: ©TravelMole, Kat Caprice & Marine Events.

Locals and visitors to Bermuda leading up to and around the 35th America’s Cup can also participate in the Learn to Sail program through the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dingy Club. Also, there will be an opportunity to learn about sailing at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series events which lead up to the 35th America’s Cup. Already there have been five World Series events with others to follow in Chicago, Portsmouth (United Kingdom), and Toulson (France), before the action heads to Bermuda.

For more information on Bermuda hosting the world’s premier sailing competition, watch the video below and visit the website for the America’s Cup. For general tourist information specific to Bermuda, which has daily nonstop flights from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, visit the Go To Bermuda website.

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Ursula Petula Barzey

Founder/Editor/Blogger/Digital Influencer at Caribbean & Co.
Ursula Petula Barzey is a digital marketing professional and Founder of Caribbean & Co. which has allowed her to reconnect with her Montserratian and Caribbean roots!