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America's Cup Challenge & Races in Bermuda 2017

World's most prestigious yacht race, finalists will be selected tomorrow Saturday May 27 after 24 hour weather delay, for June 17-18 showdown

By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online

Artemis Racing Emirates Team New Zealand  

Team Captains: Nathan Outteridge, Artemis Racing; Glann Ashby, Emirates Team New Zealand.

Groupama Team France LandRover BAR team

Team Captains: Franck Cammas, Groupama Team France; Sir Ben Ainslie, Land Rover BAR.

  Oracle Team USA SoftBank Team Japan

Team Captains Jimmy Spithill, Oracle Team USA; Dean Barker, SoftBank Team Japan. 

line drawing

The America’s Cup is the oldest international sport in the world and the globe's most exhilarating, fast-paced and prestigious yacht race. Only the best teams will qualify to challenge the holders of the trophy in the final showdown. They race their catamarans costing millions of dollars apiece across and around Bermuda's Great Sound harbor area at speeds of up to 50 mph (over twice the maximum land speed. Teams are shown below. 

See the official America's Cup website at https://www.americascup.com/en/bermuda.html

Oracle Team USA, current holders, plus crews from Sweden, the UK, France, New Zealand and Japan are due to take part. Italy was to have been included but withdrew in 2015. The America's Cup has been held in just eight locations. Bermuda now joins this distinguished group. In the last event, Team Oracle USA clawed its way back from an 8-1 deficit against Emirates Team New Zealand. On October 16-18, 2015, as shown below in more detail, the America's Cup World Series preliminary event were held in Bermuda, two years before the main event also to be held in Bermuda. It provided a three-day dress rehearsal of monster catamarans zooming up and down the Great Sound. The 45-foot wing-sailed catamarans have the latest in hydro-foiling technology.  Qualifiers and play-offs will determine the challenge to Oracle, with the final match over the best of 17 races, with the stakes raised even higher with the 62-foot cats, or AC62. In the right wind conditions, these boats could surpass the speeds that were reached in San Francisco Bay when the AC72 was the "weapon of choice." 

Oracle

Oracle Team USA, current holders

America's Cup in Bermuda 2017, 2016, 2015

America's Cup challengers in Bermuda

April 2017, America's cup challengers in Bermuda

2017. June 17-18. America’s Cup Match final racing begins. Bermuda hosts the finals of the 35th America’s Cup. The eyes of the world will turn to the iconic Great Sound where the best sailors on the fastest boats will battle for the oldest trophy in international sport. It will be contested in Bermuda between the winner, now on May 27, postponed from May 26 because of weather, of the 2017 Louis Vuitton Cup and Oracle Team USA. Best of 13 (first to seven points) Series. It will be Oracle's second defense of the America's Cup, four years after its first successful defense.

Today, May 27. The long-awaited day has finally arrived with as many as 10,000 people on land and on the water ready to witness the greatest sporting event hosted by the island. A forecast of high winds and rain delayed proceedings yesterday, scuppering the first races and Opening Ceremony, but today it’s all systems go — providing Mother Nature obliges. Early yesterday it was confirmed that every ticket had been sold for today’s activities, which include a ribbon cutting, roof wetting, a concert featuring Wyclef Jean and the belated Opening Ceremony — and, not least, a display of the fastest and most spectacular races in the history of sailing. Bermudians celebrated in December 2014 when the America’s Cup was awarded to the island, marking the first time that the Cup holders selected a venue outside their own country to defend the title, sparking an outcry from the likes of San Diego who had been favorites to host the event. Yet in the three years since, Bermuda has been slowly but surely endorsed as the perfect venue, the Great Sound providing a natural and picturesque amphitheatre. It has also boosted the construction business, increased tourism, lifted hotel and guesthouse bookings and left restaurant owners rubbing their hands in anticipation of a bumper summer. Sir Russell Coutts, America’s Cup Event Authority chief executive officer, has predicted the 35th edition of the spectacle will be the most successful of any previous America’s Cup. And should he be right, and defenders Oracle repeat what they achieved in 2013 in San Francisco, Bermuda could again be picked as hosts. Certainly the superstar sailors who will be on show over the next four weeks agree Bermuda has all ingredients to put on another showstopper. With thousands flocking to the America’s Cup Village this evening, the same scene is expected as the event progresses. America’s Cup Bermuda, the chief organisers, are expecting an unprecedented 2,000 boats surrounding the racecourse, among them the most expensive megayachts in the world. Those on board will include the likes of tycoon Sir Richard Branson and Larry Ellison, the billionaire owner of Oracle. Michael Douglas, the island’s celebrated ambassador, will also be out and about. And there’s speculation the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge could make an appearance, given their interest in the World Series racing in Portsmouth last year. While the opening races today will serve as the main course, the day will begin with ribbon cutting at 11.30am, followed by a traditional Bermuda roof-wetting ceremony at 1pm. Sir Russell said yesterday: “It is great that Saturday is sold out, and the weather is looking very good for Sunday and beyond, where a full schedule of races is planned. “It is shaping up to be incredibly competitive on the water, with the best sailors in the world going head to head, and the America’s Cup Village also looking magnificent. “For the people that have missed out on securing tickets for Saturday, there should be opportunities to attend one of the days next week.” People have been advised there will be no chance of buying tickets at the door if any one of the race days is sold out — and that’s more than likely. On days where the event is not sold out, this option will be available, although online sales can happen quickly so it is always recommended to pre-purchase,” said an ACBDA statement.

2017. Saturday, May 27. Bermuda hosts an important race after a 24 hour weather-related delay for the final qualifiers of the 35th America’s Cup. The America’s Cup Village will open for business at 3pm and will close at 10.30pm, half an hour after the opening ceremony and party ends. The eyes of the world will turn to the iconic Great Sound where the best sailors on the fastest boats will battle for the oldest trophy in international sport. Musical legend Gene Steede will star at the opening ceremony. A host of other local entertainers will join Mr Steede to set the scene on the first night of the month-long event that brings the eyes of the world on Bermuda. The band of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, H&H Gombeys and Gombey Evolution and the cast of Proud to be Bermudian will provide entertainment. Comedian and entertainer Nadanja Bailey and Bermuda Tourism spokesman Glenn Jones have been named the two emcees for the night, as well as for every day that the America’s Cup Village is open between May 26 and June 27. From 7pm until the opening ceremony starts at 8.30pm, a range of Bermudian musical talent will perform, including Cindy Smith, John Seymour, Liv MisLu, Desmond “Rivah” Smith, Live Wire, John Seymour and Aimee Bento and Quinn Outerbridge. The official band of the 35th America’s Cup, 4-Forty-1, will take to the stage to continue the party until 10pm with a spectacular firework display. Red Bull skydivers will also make an appearance, dropping in from the skies to join the party. Tickets for the first day of racing and the official opening ceremony are available from www.americascup.com/tickets for as little as $10 for general admission tickets at local pricing. The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers begin at 5pm with Jimmy Spithill and Oracle Team USA taking on Franck Cammas and Groupama Team France in race one, with the on-water action scheduled to end at 7pm. More local Bermudian musical acts will be announced in due course and will play on the main stage until the opening ceremony itself starts at 8.30pm.  Racing starts with the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers and the top Challenger will meet Defending Champions ORACLE TEAM USA in the 35th America’s Cup Match presented by Louis Vuitton (beginning on 17th June, 2017) .In today's spectacle, Live performers, fireworks and Red Bull skydivers will help generate excitement in the America’s Cup Village when the sailing showpiece’s opening races take place Racing will start at 5pm, with America’s Cup defender Oracle Team USA taking on Groupama Team France in the first match race. That battle will set the stage for races two, three and four of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers, when all six teams will take each other on the water on the first day of racing. Artemis Racing will race against SoftBank Team Japan in race two; Groupama Team France against Emirates Team New Zealand in race three; and Land Rover BAR against Artemis Racing in race four. With each match race scheduled to last approximately 20 minutes, day one of the race schedule is provisionally due to conclude at 7pm. Then, all eyes will turn to the main stage in the America’s Cup Village where the official Opening Ceremony of the 35th America’s Cup will begin. Russell Coutts, CEO of the America’s Cup, said in a press release: “This is the perfect way to start what I believe is going to be the best America’s Cup yet. " Existing ticket holders for the America’s Cup race village or any other purchased spectator experiences today will be able to access the Opening Ceremony at no additional cost. The America’s Cup Village, from $20 per person, for entertainment, sailor autograph sessions, a kids zone and the best of Bermuda’s food and beverage. will open to all ticket holders from 3pm. To book your place for any of the following, visit www.americascup.com/tickets. Grandstand seating within the America's Cup Village from $70 per person, dedicated big screens and unrivaled views of the finish line from the comfort of a grandstand seat. Gosling's Dark & Stormy Bar, from $150. Enjoy the lively atmosphere at the go-to bar in the America’s Cup Village, includes a delicious lunch and official America’s Cup merchandise. Official Spectator Boats, from $150 per person. Spectacular views of the action from a front row position on the Great Sound America’s Cup racecourse. Longtail Lounge, from $700 per person. The place to go in the America’s Cup Village for a full VIP experience including complimentary food and beverage.

2017. May 26. Race fans will have to wait a little longer for the start of the 35th America’s Cup, which has been delayed 24 hours because of a forecast for strong winds. The America’s Cup Event Authority and America’s Cup Race Management made the call late yesterday afternoon to postpone today’s opening day of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers and the Official Opening Ceremony because of an approaching cold front, accompanied by strong gales and the risk of thunderstorms. “We are obviously disappointed that the strong winds mean we have had to postpone day one of the 35th America’s Cup,” Sir Russell Coutts, the ACEA chief executive, said. “This is clearly a decision we have not taken lightly and appreciate the inconvenience caused to the sell-out crowd. Our primary concern, however, is always safety for everyone involved in the America’s Cup.” The opening ceremony and start of the qualifying regatta will now take place tomorrow instead. “We are adding an hour to the race window on both Saturday and Sunday to run extra races, with the aim of getting back on schedule,” said Sir Russell, the five-times America’s Cup winner. There are still tickets available at the weekend, although not in all categories, so we are hoping Friday’s ticket holders will still get the chance to enjoy what should be an incredible opening weekend.” Six races will be held tomorrow, with defender Oracle Team USA facing off against Groupama Team France in the opening match race, starting at 2pm in the Great Sound. Racing will continue until 5pm both tomorrow and Sunday. The opening ceremony will start at 8.30pm, following on the heels of a performance by three-times Grammy Award-winning entertainer Wyclef Jean on the main stage in the America’s Cup Village, which commences at 5.15pm. Gates open at the Village at 11.30am tomorrow and will close at 9.30pm. Because of today’s postponement, all ticket holders for the Village, grandstand seats, Gosling’s Dark ‘n Stormy Island Bar and Longtail Lounge, and Official Spectator Boat ticket holders will automatically receive a refund within the next ten days. Should those ticket holders wish to attend another day, tickets will need to be purchased separately via www.americascup.com/tickets. Ticket-holders for today’s ferry will also receive a full refund, while those who have tickets for tomorrow can rebook their ticket to a new time, should they wish. Direct ferry runs to the village before and after racing have been added to tomorrow’s schedule to increase capacity, and there are some updates in the existing timetable owing to the changes in the America’s Cup schedule, which will be communicated directly to those existing ticket holders, or can be found at www.acbda.bm. Additional ferry runs will also be added to the regular public schedule from Hamilton to the Dockyard ferry terminal tomorrow. From Dockyard, the public can either catch a free shuttle train from in front of the Clocktower Mall, or walk over to the America’s Cup Village. Mike Winfield, CEO of the ACBDA, thanked Marine & Ports for their flexibility and teamwork in accommodating event changes. “We recognise this is a late change due to weather, and it likely won’t be the last,” he added. Motorcycles and private cars are also available to spectators, but with Saturday a possible sell-out, guests are encouraged to take two-wheeled transport to reduce congestion. Motorbikes can also park for free, with spaces available at the Transportation Hub, near the village entrance. Meanwhile, the America’s Cup Park n Ride programme must be pre-booked at the Boaz Island sports field: $25 is charged per car for all passengers when booked in advance, and $30 if booked with 12 hours of use. Bookings can be made at www.americascup.com/tickets. Once parking is full at Boaz Island, additional spaces will be available at Warren Simmons Field near Somerset MarketPlace and Somerset Primary School. All locations will be serviced by minibus shuttles to deliver spectators to the Transportation Hub at the America’s Cup Event Village. For event updates, visit www.americascup.com, Twitter and Facebook @americascup. Transportation information and updates are available at www.acbda.bm/transport, with real-time updates accessible through the America’s Cup Bermuda Twitter feed @AC2017BDA.V

2017. May 25. As the America’s Cup Village will not open tomorrow, all ticket-holders for the America’s Cup Village, grandstand seats, Goslings Dark ‘n Stormy Island Bar and Longtail Lounge and Official Spectator Boat ticket-holders will automatically receive a refund within the next ten days. Should those ticket-holders wish to attend another day, tickets will need to be purchased separately for this day and can be booked at www.americascup.com/tickets.

2017. May 25. The opening of the America’s Cup could be blown back a day because of gale-force gusts expected tomorrow. Racing is scheduled to begin at 5pm, but organisers have warned that both racing and the event’s Opening Ceremony would be pushed back should strong winds bring unsafe conditions for sailors. A decision will be made at 5pm today. While the Bermuda Weather Service was yesterday forecasting clear weather today and this weekend, a cold front is expected to pass the island tomorrow afternoon, bringing unsettled conditions. In addition to showers and a chance of thunder, the BWS has forecast strong to gale-force gusts during the mid-afternoon to early evening period. According to a statement by the ACBDA, the opening races could be pushed back if gusts exceed safety limits. “The current forecast for Friday is showing wind levels to be gusting above 30 knots in the afternoon,” a spokeswoman said. “Whilst the wind may drop within the raceable limits of 6 to 24 knots later in the evening, the safety of both the sailors and spectators is always paramount, and a decision whether to open the America’s Cup Village or not will be taken accordingly.” Racing is scheduled to begin at 5pm tomorrow, with the Opening Ceremony starting in the America’s Cup Village at 8.30pm, however the spokeswoman said that should racing be cancelled, the America’s Cup Village would remain closed. “Racing would then be rescheduled for Saturday afternoon and the Opening Ceremony would also be delayed,” she said. Russell Coutts, CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority, said everything possible would be done to ensure the opening day goes ahead, with a “sell-out crowd. However, if the prudent decision is to postpone the start of the event, then racing will be rescheduled to Saturday, where the weather forecast indicates great racing conditions." An ACBDA statement said that should the America’s Cup Village not open, all ticket holders for the America’s Cup Village, Grandstand seats, Goslings Dark ‘n Stormy Island Bar and Longtail Lounge will automatically receive a refund. Should they wish to attend another day, tickets will separately need to be purchased for that day. For Official Spectator Boat ticket holders, should the boat be unable to leave the dock, they will also be provided with a refund. Event updates will be provided online via www.americascup.com, Twitter and Facebook @americascup. Meanwhile travel updates, such as ferries and buses, will be sent out on www.acbda.bm, Twitter and Facebook @AC2017Bda.

2017. May 25. BBC Television in the UK presenter and wheelchair athlete Ade Adepitan enjoyed a memorable encounter with the Gombeys during the May 24 Bermuda Day Parade. Mr Adepitan was on the island as part of the BBC’s Travel Show to catch the festivities and cover some of the America’s Cup buzz. All the island’s Gombey troupes came together for the parade, which Mr Adepitan called “an amazing time — the parade was spectacular and the people were super cool”. The Nigerian-born British TV personality and wheelchair basketball Paralympian was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2005 for services to disability sport. Contracting polio as an infant initially affected his ability to use his left leg and ultimately prevented him from walking.

2017. May 24. Sir Ben Ainslie admits that time has been the greatest enemy since he began his mission to halt a British losing streak that started at the very first America’s Cup in 1851. As Bermuda eagerly awaits the start of the “Auld Mug” — the oldest trophy in international sport — Ainslie would be quite happy if the clock quietly ticking on Front Street stood still, at least for a while anyway. For Ainslie, the Land Rover BAR skipper, the 3½ years since launching the team have been an “amazing journey”, although he is acutely aware that reaching the desired destination will be anything but plain sailing. “I think if you asked all of the teams they would like more time in terms of creating more speed from the boat,” Ainslie told The Royal Gazette. “But you have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. As a first-time America’s Cup team we’ve had a certain amount of challenges in terms of development time as opposed to the teams that continued from the last America’s Cup in San Francisco [in 2013]. It’s as much of a technical development race as it is a sailing race. Time will tell over the next couple of weeks how much we can improve the performances of the boat. But those are the same challenges for all of the teams.” Ainslie steered the six-man BAR team to victory in the 2015-16 America’s Cup World Series, a result which earned two points for the qualifying series that starts on Friday. Signs have not been overly encouraging in practice, however, with BAR struggling for straight-line speed, Ainslie crashing his boat into Emirates Team Zealand while “pushing the limits” at the start of a race last week. An honest mistake and part and parcel of racing is how Ainslie described the mishap in his apology to Team New Zealand, whose hull was punctured during the incident. Grant Dalton, the New Zealand chief executive officer, promptly stirred the pot by suggesting the frustration was getting to Ainslie and that the “red midst” had come down. “It’s part of the sport isn’t it?” said Ainslie, when asked about the incident. “From my perspective, we were pushing, I made a mistake, but that’s the nature of racing and you’re pushing it to the limit and sometimes you overstep that.” As for Grant’s mischievous remarks, Ainslie countered: “I think my team pretty much let our results on the water do the talking. Some other teams maybe don’t have the same approach and that’s up to them. You expect that at this level and I’ve been around for a long time and had plenty of ups and downs in my career. It’s something you roll off, keep going, and focus on what you can do.” One of the most intriguing narratives during the build-up to the qualifiers has been the decision to use pedal power by Team New Zealand, with Oracle Team USA also copying the Kiwis’ surprise move with a partial switch. While Ainslie believes that the radical cycle system could prove to be efficient, he is yet to be convinced it will translate to greater speed. “I think it’s fascinating that New Zealand have come up with a different concept and we’ve seen Oracle try to implement that in part,” added Ainslie, who worked hard in the corporate world to raise more than £90 million so his team could compete in the Cup. “Whether or not it turns out to be faster we’ll find out very soon. My gut feeling is that it’s more efficient but does it actually make the boat go faster? I’m not so sure. I think we’ll come away from this event with a much clearer vision of the physical challenges of sailing these boats and whether pedal power is the way to go.” Ainslie, 40, played his part in one of the greatest sporting comebacks after being brought in as a tactician by Oracle midway through the final series of the previous America’s Cup. His recruitment helped the defenders overcome an 8-1 deficit, with Ainslie becoming the first British sailor to be on board the winning boat since Charlie Barr, skipper of defenders Columbia for three consecutive regattas in 1899, 1901 and 1903. Much has changed for Ainslie since then: marriage, parenthood and the transitioning into the role of skipper and principal of his self-named British syndicate. “It’s been an incredible journey, starting a team from absolutely nothing,” he said. “It’s been a real challenge and I’m really proud of what we have achieved so far by winning the world series. Our technical programme is getting stronger each day. It’s the ultimate team sport and identifying the right people and supporting them in their roles has been the key for me. It’s certainly been a big learning curve from my perspective. What we’ve tried to develop for the long term, knowing the challenges and how hard it is to win the America’s Cup — certainly at the first attempt — is create an organisation that can continue, win or lose, for many America’s Cups to come, ultimately for as long as it takes to get that Cup back into British waters.” A renowned perfectionist, Ainslie and his team will continue to work 24 hours around the clock in their pursuit of victory on the Great Sound. Only time will tell whether he achieves his burning ambition sooner than perhaps even he expects.

2017. May 23. An increased ferry service will be implemented throughout the America’s Cup as thousands flock to Dockyard. The event gets under way on Friday with the first races followed by the official opening ceremony, for which tickets have already sold out. Government announced that additional ferries had been scheduled between May 26 and June 27 to manage the increased passenger traffic to Dockyard that is anticipated for the races. “Tickets for the dedicated ferry from Hamilton to the America’s Cup Village have sold quickly, and on some days, are sold out to and from the event,” said a Government statement. Transportation and America’s Cup tickets can be booked online at www.americascup.com/tickets where more information is also available. Travel by dedicated America’s Cup Village ferry is $5 each way per adult and $2.50 per child. In addition to the dedicated event ferries, the public ferry service has extra routes between Hamilton and Dockyard and between St George’s and Dockyard. The ferry times can be seen on www.acbda.bm/transport. For those who are not booked on the dedicated ferry on Friday, the public ferry will be available. The usual schedule applies with runs on the hour until 7pm, then hourly from 7.30pm going to Dockyard. Extra public ferry services will be available leaving Dockyard to Hamilton at 10.00pm and 11.00pm on Friday. On weekends, extra ferries will run at 12.00 noon from Hamilton and at 7.00pm and 8.00pm, and leaving Dockyard at 12.30pm, 7.30pm and 8.30pm. On Saturdays June 17 and 24, additional routes are scheduled to leave Hamilton at 8.00pm, 9.00pm and 10.00pm and leaving Dockyard at 8.30pm, 9.30pm and 10.30pm. On Tuesday and Friday nights an extra ferry will leave Dockyard to St George’s at 6.00pm. Those arriving at the Dockyard Ferry Terminal by public ferry will have the option to ride a free shuttle train from in front of the Clocktower Mall to the America’s Cup Village or to walk to the America’s Cup Village. “While these extra routes will increase capacity, the public is reminded of other transportation options for the America’s Cup, such as free motorbike parking and the Park n Ride programme,” added the statement. Motorists who drive their car will have to book their Park n Ride ticket online for $25 per car. The cost is $30 when booked within 24 hours of use. The online system will automatically book the closest available parking area. This includes all passengers and the return shuttle service to America’s Cup Village. Shuttle service is available from each area and runs on a 15-minute loop, either by ferry or minibus (includes accessibility). Park n Ride can be booked online at www.americascup.com/tickets. Additional parking lots are available once Boaz Island Sports Field is fully booked. These are:

Organisers anticipate that not all parking areas will be required and will only be opened as needed. Boaz Island Sports Field will be the primary parking area and on high traffic days the other fields will be opened as needed. People booked on spectator boats leaving from Dockyard are advised to travel by public ferry, bus, taxi or pre-arranged transport to Dockyard. They can also use the Park n Ride facility for the Village and take a free shuttle train to the Clocktower Mall in Dockyard. Spectator boat passengers are advised to be at their assigned dock 30 minutes before their scheduled departure time. The America’s Cup Village is open daily from May 26 to June 27 except for the following days when it will be closed: June 1, June 5, June 9, June 14, June 15, June 16, June 19, June 22 and June 23. Ongoing transportation information and updates are available at: www.acbda.bm/transport

2017. May 22. The 35th America’s Cup is fast approaching, and the biggest event the island has ever hosted will bring with it an unprecedented number of boats on Bermuda’s waters. Some 2,000 private and public craft have registered for spectator flags so they can watch the action on the Great Sound, making water safety even more important than ever. Caution on the water will be essential, with boat owners urged to be aware of their surroundings at all times, and to proceed in a sensible manner to and from the action. Previous events around the world with large numbers of boats in a confined area, have created a washing machine effect in the water, with the swirling wake proving particularly dangerous. There have been instances of severe injury and death, with the wake throwing people overboard when boats all attempt to leave an area at once at speed. So, please bear the following things in mind when out on the water between May 26 and June 27.

Other things to keep in mind for the next several weeks include:

2017. May 20. Racing in the America’s Cup 50ft catamarans is not all that is happening in Bermuda from May 26 through to June 27. Racing will also take place in O’Pen Bic, RS Feva and Hobie Wave America’s Cup Endeavour Junior Regattas, in AC45F catamarans for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup and in superyachts and elegant J Class yachts, too. Junior America’s Cup half-time racers will be the centerpiece in the two-person RS Feva and Hobie Wave catamarans and the O’Pen Bic, a nine-foot dinghy sailed by a single youngster. All the skippers and crew are under 15 years of age. Courses will be set in the Great Sound as America’s Cup half-time shows and also in the Little Sound for fleet racing. The boats are the three classes being used in the America’s Cup Endeavour sailing programme in Bermuda, the America’s Cup event legacy. The results of the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club’s O’Pen Bic Bermuda National Championship selected Bermuda sailors for that class. Three girls and three boys qualified for the Bermuda slots — Gabrielle Brackstone, Aiden Lopes, Sebastian Kempe, Genevieve Lau, Christopher Raymond and Jessie DeBraga. Lau, in Year 9 at Bermuda High School, said: “The America’s Cup regatta is not my first international competition. I just come back from opti racing in Lake Garda and the South American Optimist Championship in Paraguay, but I know this will be the most memorable one. I am a little nervous but it will be lots of fun and exciting to be able to sail in front of the big crowd at the AC village. The Un-Regatta for the Bermuda championship was one of the most fun regattas I have ever been to. I liked trying new tricks such as ducking under the ‘Bridge of Doom’ and not sticking by the usual race rules. I think the Endeavour programme and other junior sailing programmes have brought many more sailors and competitions to Bermuda, I am always seeing more new faces at sailing. I hope to meet new international friends through sailing and to let sailing take me to see the world as well as to have wonderful memories of my time in sailing.” Jessie DeBraga, who attends Warwick Academy in Year 7, added: “I have been sailing for four years. I started sailing Optimist sailboats then. Last year I started sailing O’Pen Bics. I feel proud of myself that I finished all of the races. The winds were very high which for me made it more enjoyable. It was my first time going through the ‘Bridge of Doom’. I feel that I mastered it in. It was a fun Un-Regatta. I sailed in the Opti Nationals back in November of last year and know the America’s Cup regatta is going to be an exhilarating experience. I can’t wait! This was my goal, to sail in the Americas Cup! I also would like to sail on a tall ship and travel the world one day, like my older sister. The Endeavour programme has given children a chance to learn how to sail. Not all children can afford to join these expensive sailing programmes. I hope that after the America’s Cup that someone will continue where they leave off.” The other 26 O’Pen Bic competitors come from Japan, France, New Zealand, Sweden, Australia, United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany each with one boy and one girl. North America will send nine youngsters including a minimum of two girls. The O’Pen Bic regatta will be the half-time show between the first and second races of the America’s Cup Finals June 17, as well as other O’Pen Bic Un-Regatta events being held on June 15 and 16. Fun is the main aim of Un-Regattas. They feature zigzag slalom legs and a passage under the “Bridge of Doom”. The AC half-time races will be sailed on a miniature America’s Cup course close to the village grandstand. The Endeavour RS Feva Regatta will be featured on June 18. They will also race on June 15 and 16. The RS Feva is a 12ft double-handed sailing dinghy. Bermudian juniors who have earned slots in the regatta are Helm Zaki Wolffe and Crew Teji Simmons, Helm Millie Lewis and Crew Laura Humpman, Helm Joanna Santiago and Crew Ruth Mello-Cann. International girls two-person teams will be representing the Netherlands, United States, and Great Britain. International boys teams will represent Guatemala, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Britain, and Canada. Mixed teams will represent Australia, Sweden, Britain, and New Zealand. The third Endeavour Junior Regatta will be held in the 13ft two-person Hobie Wave catamaran. They sail their half-time show race on June 24 and fleet race in the Little Sound on June 22 and 23. Each Hobie Wave will be crewed by two boys or girls, or a mixed pair. The goal is to have an equal mix of males and females. Countries represented are Australia, Britain, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Turks & Caicos Islands, the US and Bermuda. Sailing for Bermuda are two crews — Ocean Archeval with Nasya Russell and Katie Stevenson with Taylor White. “The Waves are just like the America’s Cup boats but smaller, so you can get to experience how the America’s Cup catamarans feel,” Rose, a Bermuda High School student said. “It takes a crew to go fast so you can build team work.” In addition to junior regattas, the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup takes place from June 12. They have been divided into two pools of six boats. The top four teams in each pool will move into the eight-boat finals. Pool B, which has elimination races June 12 and 13, features Team BDA (Bermuda), NZL Sailing Team (New Zealand), Land Rover BAR Academy (Great Britain), Spanish Impulse Team (Spain), Next Generation USA (US), and Candidate Sailing Team (Austria). Pool A, which has elimination races on June 15 and 16, has Artemis Youth Racing (Sweden), Team France Jeune (France), Kaijin Team Japan (Japan), Youth Vikings Denmark (Denmark), Team Tilt (Switzerland), and SVB Team Germany (Germany). As total opposites to the junior and youth regattas, spectacular big-boat racing in yachts manned by ball-team sized crews will compete in huge Superyachts measuring 80 to 288 feet June 13-15 and on June 16, 19 and 20 in majestic J Class sloops stretching 90 feet on the waterline and about 130 feet overall.

2017. May 19. Michael Douglas has made a second appearance today on NBC's Today show to extol the island, by the idyllic waterfront at the Hamilton Princess. “I had my first birthday here in 1945,” Mr Douglas told Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. “There weren't even cars back then ... I love this island; it's a stunning, gorgeous place. The proximity to the East Coast and New York is amazing.” Mr Douglas went on to thank the hosts “as a Bermudian” for bringing the spotlight to the island. “Love your beautiful island, Michael,” one guest quipped, asking him where was “the most romantic spot to kiss your sweetheart on the island”. “That's a dangerous question,” Mr Douglas responded, adding: “But my family and I have a hotel property here, called Ariel Sands. And it's down on the beach ... it's pretty spectacular, looking out on the South Shore.” Looking relaxed, the Oscar winner fielded a variety of questions from guests and cracked jokes, as part of the programme's run-up to the America's Cup.

2017. May 19. Bermuda is now just a week away from hosting its biggest ever international event — and the eyes of the world are on the island. Yachts have arrived in their dozens, noticeably growing numbers of tourists are on the streets and, with construction work nearing completion in Dockyard, the signs are clear: the 35th America’s Cup is nearly here. Yesterday, millions of viewers tuned in to watch movie star Michael Douglas showcase Bermuda’s charms on the popular NBC Today television show. Today broadcast live from the Hamilton Princess, with another show scheduled for today, and featured a prolonged segment of Mr Douglas showing host Kathie Lee Gifford some of the island’s attractions. Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, Horseshoe Bay and the Mid Ocean Golf Club all came under the spotlight, while Mr Douglas detailed some of his family’s history on the island. The pair enjoyed a codfish breakfast, learnt a touch of Bermuda slang from Twisted Spoon mixologist Stephan Gitschner and were introduced to island fashion with several local models donning TABS Bermuda shorts. Other local figures appearing during the broadcast were environmentalist Chris Flook and Jeremy Madeiros, who brought a cahow chick and a Bermuda skink among other examples of local wildlife. Ms Gifford and Hoda Kotb told The Royal Gazette they were thrilled to be in Bermuda. “We are excited about the America’s Cup being here, and I’ve been friends with Michael Douglas for a long, long time, but not been able to spend time with him for years, so it was so much fun to reconnect with him,” Ms Gifford said. “He took me out on a boat and gave me the official Michael Douglas Bermuda tour. Hoda joined us at the end and we had Dark n’ Stormies at the Harbourfront. I forgot where I was. It was like getting lost in paradise.” Ms Kotb added: “This is like a postcard. It’s like we are walking into a postcard and spending the day.” While both hosts have been to the island before, Ms Kotb said her visit took place when she was just a child. “You know when you don’t have really clear memories of something? Well, this trip just cleared up the memories for me. It’s spectacular, and the fact that you can get here lickety-split from New York surprised me so much. Everyone sort of lumps Bermuda together with the Caribbean islands, but you get on a plane and then 90 minutes later you’re here.” Both hosts praised the kindness of those they had met, with Ms Gifford noting that Peter Green, the owner of the Hamilton Princess, had personally brought her flowers. “It’s going to be pretty hard to go back to being with Al Roker,” she joked. Ms Kotb added: “Something about seeing Bermuda from a boat, it paints such a great picture of everything that goes on and everyone we met has been so happy and friendly, and Michael is calling them out by name. You feel like you are in a tiny town of friends.” Asked about the America’s Cup, the hosts said that they had not heard much about the event, but Ms Kotb added that it would be a welcome relief from political news. “It will be a welcome break from all of that,” she said. “It will be something fun to watch.” Mr Douglas is set to make a live appearance on the show today, which will air at 11am on NBC.

2017. May 19. Wyclef Jean will perform in Bermuda as part of the America’s Cup festivities. The three-time Grammy Award-winning entertainer, will be on the main stage at the America’s Cup Village in Dockyard, on Saturday, May 27, from 5.15pm. He said in a press release: “I had my first taste of the America’s Cup in Chicago in June 2016 at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event. I went out on the water while they were racing and nothing prepares you for just how fast, and how cool, those boats are. Now I’m coming to Bermuda where I’ll have the chance to be part of the America’s Cup show and I cannot wait! If you haven’t already, book your tickets now and I’ll see you in the America’s Cup Village.” All tickets that gain entry into the America’s Cup Village will give access to Wyclef Jean’s performance and the full day of racing and America’s Cup Village experiences on offer, according to a press release from event organisers. Wyclef Jean first received fame as a member of the acclaimed New Jersey hip hop group the Fugees, the trio that also included Lauryn Hill and Pras. Jean is Pras’s cousin and a fellow Haitian immigrant to the United States. The group’s debut album, Blunted on Reality, peaked at number 49 on the US Hot 100 and sold more than two million copies worldwide. Their sophomore album, The Score, sold more than 18 million copies worldwide, eventually becoming a multi-platinum, Grammy-winning album. Wyclef, or ‘Clef as he is known, went solo in the late 90s and released a series of eclectic albums that were both critical and commercial successes. Meanwhile, the America’s Cup Event Authority announced that nearly all America’s Cup Village spectator experiences are now sold out for day one of the 35th America’s Cup. There are still very limited numbers of Spectator Boat and Longtail Lounge tickets available for next Friday. Anyone considering attending the America’s Cup Village is urged to book their place now via www.americascup.com/tickets.

2017. May 18. A total of 25 Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers were last night sworn in as special constables. The troops from the Operational Support Unit, the regiment public order specialists, took the oath at the Bermuda Police headquarters, watched by family, friends and senior RBR and police officers. They will now be deployed as part of the massive joint security effort alongside police officers for the upcoming America’s Cup. “It’s a different opportunity — it’s something different from training wing, so it’s great development,” Sergeant Peter-Paul Taylor said. The truck driver in civilian life added: “It’s good working closely with the police and building that relationship with them.” Lance Corporal Leeann Medeiros, a 24-year-old pastry chef at Cambridge Beaches and one of a handful of women soldiers to complete the near-year long training course, said it was a good development of her existing service in the OSU. The Sandys resident said: “It seemed like a good fun opportunity to learn new things and help out wherever it’s needed. I’m looking forward to more training, but it’s good to have this on my plate now and be able to add to my list of accomplishments.” The soldiers trained in law and procedure, the use of officer safety equipment and conducted public order training exercises delivered by police experts before being sworn in. RBR commanding officer Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley said: “It’s a great and historic day. I’m very proud of what our soldiers have achieved. They have reached a very high standard and it’s taken nearly a year to get up to this stage. I’m very happy that they have accepted this challenge to become special constables in order to support the police. They will gain valuable experience and continue to work on joint operations. They will be tasked on various operations for the America’s Cup — we have a major role to play in the security plan. Our Boat Troop, some of whom were sworn as Special Constables two weeks ago, has already started working with the police marine unit in advance of the event.” Colonel Curley added: “We look forward to extending this working relationship with the Bermuda Police Service well into the future. It’s adding superior value to what the regiment does for Bermuda and its community.” Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva said, unlike larger countries, Bermuda could not call on neighboring police services for reinforcements in a crisis. “The idea is to be able to support the BPS in large scale public disorder because we only have finite numbers of police officers and we don’t have neighbours we can call on for assistance. For large scale public disorder — which we are not expecting — we must have contingency plans in place.” And national security minister senator Jeff Baron, himself a former police officer, said: “Today is an example of the sweeping changes and contemporary application of public safety. We have 25 soldiers who have just volunteered and committed to be sworn in as special constables and called to service. All pillars of the emergency services will be serving and playing a role for the America’s Cup and — as far as the commitment of troops — the regiment has pledged hundreds of people to the America’s Cup. This also coincides with hurricane preparedness season — these soldiers will be primed and if we have a weather event, these special constables, the soldiers of the regiment and the overall management of the Ministry will be ready to respond.”

2017. May 18. Tough restrictions on advertising and street trading will be put in place in Hamilton, the Great Sound and Dockyard for the America’s Cup — with fines of up to $20,000 for offenders. Front Street in Hamilton as far back as Reid Street, as well as Albuoys Point, Par-la-Ville Road and Bermudiana Road up to the junction with Church Street, are affected by the new rules. Mangrove Bay to Dockyard has also been named in the restricted marketing order published by Government, which means no new businesses can set up until after July 7 unless they have permission from the America’s Cup Event Authority. All on-water areas for the America’s Cup and the surrounds of Great Sound and the Railway Trail from the junction of Middle Road and South Road towards the West End and transport terminals including Hamilton’s ferry terminal and bus station are also covered by the order. The regulations also ban street trading in restricted marketing areas by new operators who have not obtained official permission. A spokeswoman for America’s Cup Bermuda said: “The primary reason for the order is to prevent ambush marketing and unauthorised commercial exploitation of the event by companies that have no official association with the America’s Cup, yet seek prominence during the events for their business. This prohibits attempts to position branding, signage and advertising in any locations where it will be in view of television cameras or spectator crowds, including aerial footage, as the races are broadcast from Bermuda.” The spokeswoman explained ambush marketing is where companies “unfairly advertise their products and services at the expense of official commercial partners and sponsors, who have paid for the official rights to promote their businesses in association with the America’s Cup”. She added: “It is important to note that the restricted marketing order has been designed so it does not impact on existing companies who are acting in the normal course of their business where there is no attempt to associate with the event and the street trading restrictions will not apply to existing street traders with already assigned locations.” The regulations also forbid the use of “America’s Cup” by any business or person and “any other words, logos or emblems related to the America’s Cup ... in any advertising without the express authority of the America’s Cup Event Authority. This is reserved for official partners and licensees.” The regulations, part of the 2015 America’s Cup Act, were first used in Hamilton when Bermuda hosted the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in October 2015. Kendaree Burgess, executive director of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said the organisation had no argument with the restrictions. She added: “We have had an explanation from ACBDA that satisfies us. I don’t anticipate any problems.”

2017. May 17. Emirates Team New Zealand broke a rudder again on Monday in a collision with what observers believed was a turtle. According to a confidential source, Team New Zealand were sailing at 49kts in the southwest corner of the Great Sound when the collision occurred. That did not deter the Kiwis since they had a spare back at their Dockyard base. They popped back in and installed a new rudder and headed back out for more practice. They sent a diver down where the mishap occurred yesterday and retrieved the elevator, the horizontal wing plate bolted on the end of the rudder which had been knocked off of the rudder stock with the impact. The elevator plate, like the foils on the daggerboard, provides lift and stability for the boats. Observers speculated yesterday that New Zealand sailed with a spare or alternate pair again while the other was being repaired and re-faired. Different rudders and even different-sized rudders can be built for different wind conditions as long as they fit within the specifications in the America’s Cup Class Rule. Each team have spare rudders, with no limit on the number except the team budget. According to Martin Fischer, of Groupama Team France, a rudder can cost up to 20,000 euros (about $22,000). The rudder mishap did not seem to slow down Team New Zealand yesterday. They were back out on the practice course, sailing smooth and fast, easily foiling all the way around the course in a west-northwest eight-knot breeze. Except for the direction, this is the kind of wind expected for the Cup matches. So, nine days from today, the real racing begins, qualifying matched to decide which four teams move into the playoffs for the knockout matches to decide which team will meet Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup Match. The roof is on the grandstand in the Cup village and all the festive America’s Cup flags are flying. On the water, Oracle and Artemis Racing continued to impress. Team New Zealand who were really untested in practice matches so far did not race on Monday. Yesterday, they were easy winners in races against Land Rover BAR and Team France. Team New Zealand were ahead in both of those races from start to finish. BAR did have a better day yesterday after looking pretty sticky on Monday, beating Team France in the first race of the day. Rumours that surfaced last week about Oracle adapting limited peddle power to a grinding position behind their helmsman still have not been substantiated. Yesterday, there was not a peddle grinder working behind skipper Jimmy Spithill. Practice racing continues through Friday this week. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday of next week are also race practice days, but participation next week is certainly questionable. Teams may not want to risk damage in that final few days before real racing starts. Matches on the first day will be Oracle v Team France, Artemis v SoftBank Team Japan, France v Team New Zealand and BAR v Artemis. The Village opens at 2pm. Matches start at 5pm, end at 7 and the opening ceremony is at 8.30.

2017. May 17. Speculation that Oracle Team USA have integrated a pedal-grinding system in their America’s Cup Class racing yacht ended after the defender of the “Auld Mug” was spotted racing with the new feature in the Great Sound yesterday. The team’s new grinding pedestal is located directly behind Jimmy Spithill, the helmsman, and is being used in addition to the four conventional arm-driven grinders. “Since we started sailing the new America’s Cup Class boat in February, we’ve explored a potential advantage in moving our tactician, Tom Slingsby, who also grinds, farther back in the boat at certain points in the race so that he is positioned immediately behind skipper Jimmy Spithill,” said Peter Rusch, the Oracle Team USA spokesperson. “To allow him to keep contributing power to the systems, we wanted to add a grinding pedestal. As there is no room for a traditional pedestal, we’re experimenting with a pedal station. This is just one of many tests we’re still making. Time will tell whether it ends up being a racing configuration.” Oracle, the two-times defending America’s Cup champions, are the second racing syndicate, behind challenger Emirates Team New Zealand, to use pedal grinders on their boat. The Kiwis raised eyebrows after photographs surfaced from Auckland in February revealing their boat fitted with four pedal grinders on each hull rather than the conventional arm-driven grinders. The grinders provide hydraulic power for the rigid wing-sail and various other systems, and the leg power is expected to ease the physical burden on the crew.

2017. May 17. America’s Cup challengers Emirates Team New Zealand and Land Rover BAR suffered damage to their racing yachts after colliding during practice in the Great Sound yesterday. The incident occurred during the pre-start of their match race when Land Rover BAR “ran straight into the back” of Team New Zealand, creating a “pretty good” dent on the inside of the Kiwis’ port hull. Land Rover BAR’s yacht, skippered by team principal Sir Ben Ainslie, suffered minor damage to its starboard bow, the latest setback to the British team who collided with a floating dock near their base in Dockyard in March. “It was a bit of a shame in the last pre-start we had the leeward end of the line pretty locked down,” Peter Burling, the Team New Zealand helmsman, said. “Ben was quite late and just ran straight into the back of us. Just unnecessary a week out from the America’s Cup. We are all here to learn and it’s a shame we have a pretty big metre dent now in the back of our nice boat. It went straight in under the media pod with his windward bow and right down the inside of the leeward hull, so there is a pretty good dent there. You can definitely see it has punctured right into the cockpit right around where my steering wheel is.” Grant Dalton, the Team New Zealand chief executive, added: “We know Ben well; he is a good guy, but frustration is obviously getting to him and the red mist came down. It’s a lot of damage in a time we can’t afford it.” Ainslie apologized for the mishap on Twitter, the social-media network. “Bit of a love tap racing hard with @EmiratesTeamNZ,” he tweeted. “sorry guys and hope you’re back on the water soon #AmericasCup. 1/2 Today, during a pre-start @LandRoverBAR bore away behind @EmiratesTeamNZ & clipped their hull, sustaining limited damage to our bow.” It remains unclear when or if both teams will take any further part in the latest series of practice races.

2017. May 16. Cameras, umbrellas, coolers and helmets will be restricted in the America’s Cup Village, according to a statement from the ACBDA. The statement lists a host of items that cannot be taken into the village according to the terms and conditions of each ticket purchase, with prohibited items liable to be permanently confiscated at the village entrance. “Aside from the obvious prohibited items such as weapons, other items are not allowed, also for safety reasons. They include motorbike helmets, bicycles, roller-skates, skateboards, scooters, wheeled footwear (including children’s shoes), luggage and suitcases. Branded umbrellas, sun parasols, clothing and other items are not permitted, nor are chairs or folded seating, coolers or other large containers. Food and drink are not to be taken in — there is a wide range of local vendors to provide refreshments in the America’s Cup Village. Photography enthusiasts should be aware that cameras and recording devices of any nature are prohibited, other than for recreational and personal non-commercial use. Camera lens larger than 200mm are not permitted, even for personal use.” Baby strollers meanwhile may be brought into the village, but they will be stored at a designated drop-off area “at the ticket holder’s own risk”. Meanwhile, the statement noted that the event is intended to be sustainable, urging the public to bring reusable water bottles which can be filled with filtered water at hydration stations at the village. Glass bottles, however, are prohibited. Signs reminding spectators what not to carry will be posted at transport points, upon boarding the dedicated America’s Cup Village ferries and at Park n Ride car parks,” the statement added. Prohibited items must not be taken on the ferry or the shuttle bus as there is no place to store confiscated items for later retrieval. The public is recommended that where there is doubt about an item, choose not to take it, i.e. travel light. The search and screening process at the America’s Cup Village entrance will be thorough and prohibited items will be removed. The fewer bags a ticket holder travels with, the faster and easier the entry process will be.” The full list of prohibited items include:

2017. May 13. Just over 1,000 work permits have been issued in connection with the America’s Cup, home affairs minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin has told MPs. In addition, the airport terminal development has been linked to 59 work permits to date, according to responses from parliamentary questions by Opposition MP Diallo Rabain. The figures do not reflect permit applications that did not specify if they related to either project, the minister cautioned. There have been 1,028 permits issued for the Cup, with 13 more applied for and awaiting decision.

2017. May 12. After years of practice in sailing fast foiling catamarans, just how stable are Oracle Team USA? How stable is 17, their America’s Cup Class catamaran? Oracle, comeback winners of the America’s Cup in 2013 and now the America’s Cup defender have capsized their America’s Cup Class 50ft catamaran again. It happened this time during a Wednesday afternoon practice session on the Great Sound. They are the only team to have capsized their ACC yacht. In a short statement issued on the team’s social media sites, Oracle commented on their second capsize in two months. They wrote: “Oracle Team USA capsized on Wednesday afternoon during a practice session focused on pre-start maneuvers. The boat was righted within three minutes and there were no injuries to the crew or damage to the boat.” Oracle were unlucky to capsize again, but lucky to come out unbroken. Equipment failure or extreme damage at this point would perhaps be fatal. Only two weeks remain until qualifying races start and only five weeks remain till Oracle will have to defend her title against the top challenger. Oracle and all five challengers will sail in the qualifying rounds. Oracle will have to be careful now as three times may be the charm. Repairing a broken wing, daggerboard or rudder could take weeks. And that could be weeks lost to good practice time in the approaching summertime conditions. All teams are concerned about potential collisions with debris and turtles in the Great Sound. Video shot by myislandhomeBDA’s Jason Smith reveals that the capsize appears to start as the team began putting crew across the boat in preparation to come up onto the wind in a pre-start maneuver, with the boat sailing close to top speed. After the turn started, 17 began a high-speed knock-down putting down the new leeward hull as the windward hull began to lift. Two of the crew had stopped grinding and crossed the boat. The pre-gybe helmsman was on the new leeward side with two grinders and another driver is at the windward steering wheel. Three crew per side. The new leeward daggerboard goes down and the windward board goes up. But 17 kept turning. In the windward hull and probably sensing the crash coming, only one of the grinders was working, another crew member was trimming the wing and a helmsman was also at the windward wheel. Down to leeward one grinder climbs out of his cockpit and up onto the trampoline net. He hangs on tight as the cat continues her slow death roll. The other grinder was in position. There was also a helmsman still to leeward. The top section of these wings is filled with some special type of flotation material to keep the cats from turning turtle and putting the mast top in the sandy bottom of the Sound. Oracle’s 17 quickly went over the point of no return and settled gently on her side in the 15-18kt breeze. Practice makes perfect … the boat was righted within three minutes and there were no injuries to the crew or damage to the boat.

2017. May 11. The Today show is coming to Bermuda next week in advance of the America’s Cup, putting Bermuda back in the international spotlight. Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, the hosts for the popular NBC morning show, are scheduled to film two one-hour shows on the island to be aired next Thursday and Friday at 10am. According to a Bermuda Tourism Authority spokesman, the “home base” for the broadcasts will be the recently renovated Hamilton Princess & Beach Club. “A Today show advance team and talent are on the island now to produce segments for the shows that showcase Bermuda’s beauty, culture, as well as its preparations to host the 35th America’s Cup,” the spokesman said. “The Today show is the top-rated US morning television programme among the valued 25 to 54 year-old demographic; the Bermuda Tourism Authority has been successfully targeting travellers under 45 years old in its consumer marketing strategy over the past three years. The 10am hour of Today typically attracts approximately 2.5 million daily viewers according to ratings agency Nielsen.” Kevin Dallas, CEO of the BTA, said the programme’s interest in coming to the island demonstrates the value of the America’s Cup for attracting mainstream media outside of typical sailing circles. “Equally importantly, it validates the hard work of our marketing team, led by Victoria Isley, our chief sales and marketing officer, to position Bermuda as a year-round destination for young adventure-seeking and experiential travellers which will continue to pay dividends well beyond this summer.” In order to secure the filming, the BTA has partnered with the Hamilton Princess, along with JetBlue Vacations and public relations agency Turner. The BTA also used the opportunity to note next week’s return of overnight cruise ship visits to St George’s and increased airlift to the island from Boston and New York on JetBlue.

2017. May 10. The high seas have long been a battleground for the world’s biggest oil traders as they spend millions of dollars chartering crude tankers in the quest for an edge in the market. This month, off the pink-sand beaches of Bermuda, top executives from oil-trading houses Vitol Group and Gunvor Group will bankroll a very different kind of sea borne combat: the 35th edition of the America’s Cup sailing race. Gunvor chief executive officer Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis Racing is an early favourite to win the right to challenge billionaire Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA for the world’s oldest sporting trophy. First, the Royal Swedish Yacht Club’s entry must beat teams from France, Japan, New Zealand and the UK. On May 26 — the day after Opec’s next meeting in Vienna — Artemis takes on Britain’s Land Rover BAR team, whose founding shareholders include Chris Bake and Ian Taylor, executives at the world’s biggest independent oil trader Vitol. “It is not surprising to see the highly competitive spirit of commodity traders venturing into sports,” said Jean-Francois Lambert, an industry consultant and former commodity trade finance banker at HSBC Holdings. “The America’s Cup is one of the most prestigious competitions and perhaps epitomizes most what commodity trading personifies: strong leadership over a highly professional and dependable team.” Billionaire Tornqvist, who controls about 61 per cent of Gunvor’s equity, is ambitious to topple Ellison, whose team is angling to become the first to win the cup three consecutive times. “Our long-term goal is to dominate the America’s Cup arena for the next decade and inspire a new generation of sailors,” Tornqvist said on Artemis Racing’s website. Tornqvist joins a list of race patrons that include legendary US financier JP Morgan, who co-owned a yacht that defended the three-foot silver trophy, known as the “Auld Mug”, in 1899 and 1901. In 1983 Australian billionaire Alan Bond’s Australia II ended the New York Yacht Club’s 132-year hold on the trophy, while Switzerland’s richest man Ernesto Bertarelli won the 2003 and 2007 editions of the cup for the Geneva yacht club. Financial backers need deep pockets. Ellison spent $115 million on his US team’s successful 2013 America’s Cup title defence, according to the Wall Street Journal. This year, Ellison is again bankrolling the American squad and has enlisted European plane maker Airbus Group SE to help with the design of the team’s carbon-fibre catamaran. Tornqvist’s Artemis is galvanised by the death of crew member Andrew Simpson during a training accident for its previous challenge in San Francisco in 2013. The team has been “dominant in high winds” in racing prior to the start of the regatta, according to America’s Cup Event Authority chief executive officer Sir Russell Coutts, a New Zealander who’s the most successful sailor in the competition’s history. Tornqvist said the large crews and support staff required for sailing competitions offer some parallels with a trading house, adding that the match-up with Land Rover BAR pits Sweden against another country with a long maritime history. Both British and Swedish cultures “have a seafaring heritage, which is of course, based in trade,” he said. Like Tornqvist, Vitol executive director Bake is an accomplished sailor, leading his Team Aqua to five championships on the RC44 tour. Vitol CEO Taylor is better known as a philanthropist and supporter of the arts, chairing the board of trustees of the Royal Opera House in London. Both Bake and Taylor declined to comment for the story. Rotterdam-based Vitol, which trades more than seven million barrels a day, is not a sponsor of the British team. The Land Rover BAR team is skippered by four-time Olympic gold medal winner Sir Ben Ainslie, who helped to mastermind Oracle’s comeback from 8-1 down to win 9-8 against Emirates Team New Zealand in San Francisco four years ago. The UK squad is trying to recapture yachting’s most prestigious race for the first time since the inaugural race was staged in 1851 off the Isle of Wight on England’s south coast. Land Rover BAR will be the first British team to challenge for the trophy in 16 years. Organisers claim it’s the hardest trophy to win in sports with just four nations having captured the prize: Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and the US. “We’re a new team and we’ve been on the back foot playing catch-up, but I believe we’ve really closed the gap on the others,” Sir Ben said in an April 26 statement. “We are in it to win it. Those are our expectations, but we know how tough it will be.”

2017. May 9. Want to watch the America’s Cup free? If so there will be plenty of viewing points where the public can do exactly that. 

America's Cup vantage points

While thousands are expected to converge on Dockyard, where the America’s Cup Village is located, others can witness all of the action without boarding a spectator boat or travel west. The Department of Parks has cleared several areas from which the public can enjoy unobstructed views of the races on the Great Sound. There will be no cost, and the public can use the areas on a first come first served basis. The specially cleared locations include an area of Spanish Point Park known as Pontoons, an area of the western Railway Trail near Five Star Island, and an area of the Railway Trail near Fort Scaur. Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Park will also be available. Environment minister Sylvan Richards said: “The America’s Cup races will be amazing to witness, and the Department of Parks wanted to make sure that everyone who wishes to view the races could do so. There is no charge and these areas are open to the public. In fact, unless major safety concerns arise, all our National Parks under the remit of the Department of Parks will be open for the entirety of the America’s Cup.” Meanwhile, the department has advised that from May 26 to June 28, it will not be issuing special permission permits for events in the national parks — Spanish Point, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, Fort Scaur and the Western Railway Trail. “This is to allow all patrons equal opportunity to enjoy the parks and view portions of the America’s Cup events from these key vantage points,” explained a statement. “As a reminder, under the protection of the Act and its regulations, parking along the Railway Trail is prohibited, as is motorized traffic. Parking in the vicinity is limited. The department would also like to remind the public to be mindful of the Bermuda National Parks Act 1986 and its 1988 Regulations while using our national parks. The public are advised that it is an offence to litter, park vehicles in unauthorised areas, destroy vegetation, play music or run loud generators to the annoyance of others enjoying our parks.”

May 9. Weekend passes for the America’s Cup are on sale for a special $17 price to celebrate 17 days to go before the sailing showpiece event. 

America's Cup racing

The tickets, for the weekend of June 3 and 4, are usually $34 but are being offered half-price today. According to a press release from the America’s Cup Event Authority, passes give access to the heart of all the sailing action for two days, the scheduled final day of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers on the Saturday and the first scheduled day of the Challenger Play-offs on the Sunday. Jimmy Spithill, skipper of Oracle Team USA, said in a statement: “With just 17 days to go, you can feel the excitement ramping up around Bermuda. “From taxi drivers, to people you pass on the street, everywhere you go these days there’s awareness, there’s excitement, there’s support. It’s massive to have that home support from the people here in Bermuda. Last time around it made a huge difference and I think it will be a key factor again. Bermuda feels like home to us, because it is like home to us. We’ve met so many great people here over the past two-and-a-half years and we want to reward people here for the support they’ve shown by getting a good result.” Seventeen is also the name of Oracle Team USA’s America’s Cup Class boat, the hydrofoiling catamaran that the defenders of the America’s Cup will use as they go for their third victory in a row. Tickets are available via www.americascup.com/tickets. When checking your purchase there is a promo code option, but you do not need a promo code to buy the $17 ticket today — just proceed to checkout. If you have any issues, e-mail tickets@americascup.com and you will receive help quickly.

2017. April 29. America’s Cup chief executive officer Sir Russell Coutts expects racing in Bermuda to be even better than in San Francisco four years ago. Coutts was interacting with fans on Twitter yesterday morning and said that Swedish challenger Artemis Racing had been “dominant” on the Great Sound, while outlining some of the changes that he hopes will come about for the America’s Cup after Bermuda. Responding to a fan who asked whether America’s Cup 35 would be “even better” than AC34 in San Francisco, Coutts tweeted: “Final match in SF was brilliant. Now, nearly all the teams are competitive, so race [should] be closer and more competitive overall.” And while praising Artemis’s strong showing on the Great Sound, Coutts intimated that does not mean that their dominance will continue when the real racing starts. “Artemis Racing has been dominant in high winds,” Coutts tweeted. “Still need to see light wind performance from all teams. Variable wind is a feature of BDA.” Coutts also was confident that racing would not need to pushed back into July because of the weather. “If delays happen, regatta director Iain Murray will need to schedule more races during each day,” Coutts said. “The races are 22 minutes so we should be able to make up time. So we should be OK.” When another fan asked Coutts “if you could create one boat design related rule, effective immediately, what would it be?”, he responded: “Next version of ACC should have gennakers for very light winds — for both upwind and downwind. And a smaller wing for stronger winds.” Coutts was not convinced that the challengers would “band together” against defender Oracle Team USA. “No doubt they’ll be more worried about beating each other at this point,” he tweeted. “There’s not much time to co-operate after teams have been eliminated.” He is also not expecting a repeat of the thrilling comeback in 2013, when Oracle overturned an 8-1 deficit to Emirates Team New Zealand to win 9-8. “That was an amazing comeback,” Kiwi Coutts tweeted. “Hard to imagine we will see that again in our lifetimes.”

2017. April 26. Safety officials have warned about potentially “catastrophic” consequences with Great Sound boaters getting too close to the America’s Cup teams. With more inexperienced boaters expected to hit the waters as the weather gets warmer, the Bermuda Water Safety Council urged them to stay near shorelines and give room to the foiling boats. The Bermuda boating public is “getting too close for safety both to themselves and the AC teams”, the council said. The ACBDA added that America’s Cup yachts — now in high-gear training in the Sound, with the showpiece event less than a month away — travel at up to 50 knots and can change direction very quickly. Paul Doughty, a member of the safety council, told The Royal Gazette: “When there’s a good weekend, some occasional boaters come out who might have less experience, and we want them to be looking out. “When a sailboat is sailing, they are not simply going in a straight line. They go about up wind and down with the wind. And with the speed of these boats, even more experienced people say they look around and see the boat a mile away and then they are on top of them. It’s hard to gauge because they are so fast. We are not saying that people can’t or shouldn’t use the Sound, only that they should remain vigilant.” In a post on the council’s Facebook page, the group stated: “The ACBDA have just informed that the AC boats are now in high-gear training in the Sound. It has been noted that the Bermuda boating public are getting too close for safety both to themselves and the AC teams. Please give the AC boats as much room as you are able and try to stay near shorelines when you are out on the water. The consequences of a collision with one of these foiling boats could be catastrophic. You or anyone involved could also ruin a team’s chances of being in the Cup.” The post urged the public to spread the message, adding: “The ACBDA understand that the Great Sound is for everyone to enjoy, and not just for the America’s Cup teams, but do advise that extra care and caution should be taken at this time. Safety first.” Mr Doughty said that he had received comments questioning why America’s Cup spotter boats couldn’t ask boats to keep a distance. But he argued the spotter boats need to be focused on reacting to emergencies rather than asking spectators to move. “They can’t just stop and tell people to move,” he said. “It’s up to us to be vigilant on the water.” An ACBDA spokeswoman said: “America’s Cup Class boats can travel up to 50 knots, are much more maneuverable than the AC45Fs and they can and will change course very quickly. The teams may lay temporary marks for their own practice sessions, or they may not — there is no set pattern to this — but the key point is for the general public to give the boats as wide a berth as possible. While it may be tempting to try and take a closer look, please do not do so as proximity dramatically increases the risk of an incident.” The spokeswoman also warned that there are no set times for teams to practice in the Sound, saying: “They may choose to go out on the water whenever they can and want to practice, and the advice to stay close to shore to avoid incidents applies whenever one or more America’s Cup teams are on the Great Sound.”

2017. April 26. The opening hours of the America’s Cup Village for the 35th America’s Cup were announced this afternoon. 

America's Cup Village

The village on Cross Island will open at 11.30am daily, except for May 26 when it will open at 3pm for the first day of racing from 5pm. The official opening ceremony start at 8.30pm and the village will close at 10.30pm. The closing time of the America’s Cup Village will vary throughout the event schedule. On May 27; June 10, 18, 25, 26, and 27 the village will close at 7pm. On May 28, 29, 30, 31; June 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 20 and 21 the village will close at 5.30pm. On June 12 and 13 the village will close at 8pm. On June 17 and 24 it will close at 10pm. On June 8 it will close at 6pm On most days, when the racing schedule ends at either 3.30pm or 4pm, there will be a range of activities for guests to take part in at the village. These activities include poster signing sessions, a chance to meet the competitors and see them answer questions in the mixed media zone and also live entertainment on the main stage.

2017. April 26. Going into this week’s America’s Cup match-up practice racing session, Artemis Racing skipper Nathan Outteridge spoke about how match racing skills have always been a big part of a successful campaign and how Artemis are now working hard at improving their “dogfighting” tactics. With just over four weeks left until the start of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Qualifying races, a double round-robin series that will eliminate one challenger, speculations around how the racing in Bermuda will look run rampant. Bermuda’s World Series event last year, sailed in the smaller AC45F, was all fleet racing, six boats on the course at once with points for all places. Now the focus has shifted completely to match-racing tactics. Only two boats race on the course at a time. It will really be a cat fight. “For most people it probably doesn’t mean a lot, but it is a completely different game now,” Outteridge said. “Now you can’t just go around the course sailing conservatively, trying to get seconds and thirds [in a series of races within a regatta] and hoping that’s going to be enough to win. Now you are either going to win or lose a race.” The boat that wins a round-robin match gets a point. Losers get none. After the teams have each raced against all others twice, the four highest-scoring challengers move into multiple matches against a single competitor in the play-off semi-finals, the finals and the ultimate America’s Cup Match against Oracle Team USA. According to Outteridge, the start is the most important part of a match race. He describes the pre-start as a “dogfight” where you are trying to get the best position when the gun goes off, trying to put your opponent in a tricky spot or working hard just to get an even start. “We have been working hard on that and with a couple more weeks to the America’s Cup, the pre-start is the biggest area where we need to improve. Usually when we get around the first mark first, we feel pretty confident”, Outteridge said of his team, who made it through the last race week undefeated. With the America’s Cup course, the start is an off wind “reaching” sprint to a midcourse turning mark where the boats make a hard left turn to head downwind to the leeward gate. Top speed to and around that first mark is essential. Looking ahead at this week, and to the event itself, the Swedish team’s Australian skipper said the racing will become more intense and exciting as the stakes get higher. “You will see higher risk sailing, because when you are behind you have to throw in the more difficult maneuvers to get back into the race,” Outteridge said. “Match racing is a very different type of racing but we are looking forward to that challenge and we feel like we are making good progress.” Yesterday was the second day of the present America’s Cup practice session. Land Rover BAR and Emirates Team New Zealand both took to the water early and returned to their bases by midday. BAR have said that they only plan to practice race tomorrow and Friday this week. Artemis, SoftBank Team Japan and Oracle stayed out into the afternoon making the best of their possible practice time. Oracle said Monday’s results were mixed after trading wins with Artemis. Three teams that were out for Monday’s practice won at least one race — Artemis, Oracle and Team Japan. Groupama Team France were winless. There is a lot of testing going on, more than racing. All the teams are focused on winning in May. Of course, that is when winning will mean you go on or you go home. It is more like a practice scrimmages where the coach blows the whistle and has everybody try something different. This is a chance for testing and training probably even more than it is for “racing”. The same teams each went racing again yesterday, but also spent time on several line-ups to test different configurations that will help them mode their boats to increase speed. New Zealand have only been sailing in Bermuda since Saturday and have yet to match-up in a race situation with any of the other competitors. They have been caught on video by Jason Smith of myislandhomebda, a YouTube channel that has gone AC-viral with his complete coverage. In those clips the Kiwi boat has shown remarkable maneuverability. She looks dry and fast in practice tacks and gybes. They look fast in a straight line, too, but then all of these boats do when they are running alone. Actual racing, not practice, will be the real deal. When Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby was questioned about his team’s participation in this practice session, match racing against the other teams, he said: “We will see how we go. We need to take our time to make sure we are happy with where we are at before starting any racing. “But it will be good to get into some action with another boat as amazingly it is something we have not done at all yet.”

2017. April 24. Emirates Team New Zealand sailed their America’s Cup Class race boat on the Great Sound for the first time over the weekend — and yesterday the Kiwis’ boat showed no ill effects from having a rudder missing when it was hauled out of the water on Saturday evening. The boat, New Zealand Aotearoa, arrived in Bermuda on March 10 and was reassembled in just 12 days. When New Zealand Aotearoa was being hauled out after the Saturday session, spectators noticed that the port side rudder was missing. Crew members had been in the back of each hull working on something down inside where the rudders are installed. A diver went in the water, apparently to find the missing port side rudder in the slip under where the boat had been, but the rope he took down to haul it up to the chase boat came up empty on the first try. Team New Zealand have not commented on the incident, but they must have successfully found the rudder in the 40-foot deep basin and yesterday had two rudders installed when they launched. Of Saturday’s sail, Team New Zealand said: “The evening sail was more about a recommissioning of the systems and components to make sure everything was working properly before getting back into the mindset of pushing the development hard, day after day.” Obviously pleased, Grant Dalton, the team’s chief executive office, said: “It was a huge effort by the shore crew and the whole team to get us out again. “We’ve been off the water for about three weeks, part of that was at least a week’s refit of all the new components that have just gone into the boat. The water was dead smooth and that makes it a lot easier for the guys to sail and maneuver. We could see that in the very short sail we did today.” On Saturday for the first sail, a fleet of Team New Zealand chase boats, about a half dozen chase boats representing the other challengers’ teams and many curious spectators trailed everywhere New Zealand Aotearoa went. Not missing a beat, Team New Zealand were back on the water yesterday with a 2.15pm departure from their Cross Island base in Dockyard. They were up and foiling as the headed out the channel and turned south into the Great Sound. The breeze was from the West Southwest at about eight to ten kts and the seas had a slight chop, under two feet. These are conditions similar to what the racers should face in late May and June The next racing practice period, an approved time when competitors can match race against each other, starts today. With just 34 days to go until the first race of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers, the urgency for continued improvement by all the teams puts tension in the air. “We will see how we go,” Ashby said regarding facing their opponents on Bermudian waters for the first time. We need to take our time to make sure we are happy with where we are at before starting any racing. But it will be good to get into some action with another boat as amazingly it is something we have not done at all yet.” Team New Zealand reported they re-launched their race boat with their “replacement” daggerboards while the finishing repairs to their race boards. “We would have preferred to have our race boards back in the boat, but we need to be sure the repairs are 100 per cent right so we don’t want to rush the repair. Hopefully we will have them come back online very shortly.” Ashby said. One of New Zealand’s racing daggerboards was damaged in training back home in Auckland. “When you look at the calendar it actually hasn’t been too long since we last sailed in Auckland, but everything that has happened between times, packing up, flying the boat here and rebuilding it has made it seem a lot longer, the team has done a huge push to get us on the water as soon as possible,” Ashby added. “It was really fantastic to get back out there [on the Great Sound] and get a taste of the racecourse first hand for the first time [in the America’s Cup Class yacht]. It is pretty apparent already that this is going to be a really great regatta up here. As a team it is important we remain totally focused and flexible to learning as much as we can from ourselves but also our competitors. From what we have seen in the past few days, the other teams all look to have strengths as well as some weaknesses. We will be no different so the race effectively has started as to who can make the most of these next five weeks to maximize all the speed they can in preparation for racing on the May 26.”

2017. April 22. Emirates Team New Zealand finally sailed their America’s Cup Class yacht on the Great Sound for the first time today. Skipper Glenn Ashby has been like “a cat on a hot tin roof” waiting to get back out on the boat named New Zealand Aotearoa. “When you look at the calendar it actually hasn’t been too long since we last sailed in Auckland, but everything that has happened between times, packing up, flying the boat here and rebuilding it has made it seem a lot longer, the team has done a huge push to get us on the water as soon as possible,” he said “But it was really fantastic to get back out there and get a taste of the race course first hand for the first time. It is pretty apparent already that this is going to be a really great regatta up here.” Emirates Team New Zealand re-launched their race boat with their replacement daggerboards while the finishing repairs continue to be made to their race boards which were damaged in Auckland. “We would have preferred to have our race boards back in the boat, but we need to be sure the repairs are 100% right so we don’t want to rush the repair. Hopefully we will have them come back online very shortly.” Ashby said. “As a team it is important we remain totally focused and flexible to learning as much as we can from ourselves but also our competitors. From what we have seen in the past few days, the other teams all look to have strengths as well as some weaknesses. We will be no different so the race effectively has started as to who can make the most of these next five weeks to maximize all the speed they can in preparation for racing on the 26th May.” Another official race training period begins on Monday. “We will see how we go,” Ashby said. “We need to take our time to make sure we are happy with where we are at before starting any racing. But it will be good to get into some action with another boat as amazingly it is something we have not done at all yet.”

2017. April 21. Another milestone is celebrated today with just 35 days to go before the start of the 35th America’s Cup. And the occasion will be marked with a fireworks display over Hamilton Harbour, starting at 8.30 tonight. Also throughout the today America’s Cup Village Grandstand tickets for Monday, May 29 and Tuesday, May 30 will be sold at half price, which can be bought on the www.americascup.com/tickets website. The official Opening Ceremony of the big event is scheduled for May 26, after which the boats begin their quest for the most prestigious trophy in sailing. From 5.00pm until 8.30pm tonight, the America’s Cup store on Front Street near the Hamilton Ferry Terminal, will also celebrate its official opening with a happy hour. All six America’s Cup teams are now in Bermuda and into their final preparations. Practice racing in the America’s Cup Class (ACC) boats is scheduled to continue from April 24 to 28 which should see the Kiwi team, Emirates Team New Zealand, on the water at the same time as their competitors As they fine-tune their preparations, work continues on the America’s Cup Village in Dockyard. According to organisers, the work is on schedule. Tickets for the Grandstand have sold out for June 17, 18, 24 and 25. Competition for the oldest trophy in international sport starts on the Great Sound at 5.00pm on Friday, May 26. The first day of racing in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers and the official Opening Ceremony will take place that day from 8.30pm in the America’s Cup Village. Defender Oracle Team USA, led by Jimmy Spithill who is chasing the ‘threepeat’ — three America’s Cup victories in a row — take on Franck Cammas and Groupama Team France in the first match. Following them, Nathan Outteridge’s Artemis Racing will race the experienced Dean Barker and SoftBank Team Japan, and Groupama Team France will be in action against young gun Peter Burling who will take the helm for Emirates Team New Zealand. Wrapping up day one on the water will be Olympic legend Sir Ben Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR team who will go head to head with Artemis Racing, looking to build on the two point advantage the British team gained from winning the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. That will be followed by the official Opening Ceremony and another fireworks display. The range of spectator experiences available for day one of racing and the Opening Ceremony and throughout the America’s Cup are available from www.americascup.com/tickets.

2017. April 21. The French America’s Cup team are putting ten minicars on the road after new regulations allowing the vehicles — which faced a tough reception last year in Parliament — came into effect. Initially, taxi drivers protested against the new vehicles and the Progressive Labour Party mistrusted the move to allow what Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities Senator Michael Fahy called a “viable and safe” rental alternative for visitors. Last week The Royal Gazette reported the arrival of Renault Twizys imported by Eurocar, now up for use by Groupama Team France. It is understood that the miniature vehicles will ultimately go to hotels for use by visitors after the sailing is over. The legislation, announced last July, initially proved a difficult sell, with taxi drivers protesting that the move posed unwelcome competition for their industry. But their modest engine size and limited capacity for luggage made them unlikely rivals for cabbies, Mr Fahy said. A “long period of consideration and consultation” led to the regulations, covering licensing and running of minicar liveries, to become law. The 2016 Bill prompted a weekend work stoppage, as well as a demonstration outside Parliament by about 30 taxi drivers, followed by a series of meetings before the regulations were agreed upon in November of last year, with the Motor Car Act 1951 subsequently amended. It was ultimately approved by the Senate on December 12, 2016. The vehicles allowed are covered two-seaters, no more than 60 inches wide and no more than 115 inches in length. While many visitors rent vehicles, Mr Fahy said not all were comfortable taking to the roads on an auxiliary cycle or moped. The regulations set the terms to apply for livery licences, and set standards, including the requirement for public liability insurance. The vehicles will be subject to Transport Control Department inspection, with a yearly check between January 1 and March 31. Similar to rental cycles, minicar licence plates will bear red lettering on a white background, at both the front and back of the car — with stickers warning drivers to keep left. “At present a minicar can only be on the road for five years but, as minister, I have the discretion to extend that period provided the vehicle continues to be in good shape,” Mr Fahy said. “Every livery operator must have a qualified driving instructor on staff to demonstrate the use of the minicar and that person will sit in the minicar when the renter takes it for a ‘test drive. TCD will qualify the instructors to ensure they provide the driving instruction that you need for the minicar.” Safety instructions will include the basic rules of Bermuda’s roads, the speed limit of 35kph, and the strong penalties for impaired driving.

2017. April 21. An English company which specializes on water safety has been appointed as the official America’s Cup safety provider. Based in Gosport, Hampshire, the firm Crewsaver will be bringing all of the safety equipment needed for their chase boats including life jackets, helmets, first aid kits, knives, pyrotechnics and man-overboard rescue equipment, along with a number of marker buoys to help with shepherding boats to the racecourse. The company supplies life jackets to the UK government’s Environment Agency as well as the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. They are part of the Survitec Group. Dan Barnett, Chief Commercial Officer of the America’s Cup, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Crewsaver into the America’s Cup family and are all excited about working with their world class products. Safety is obviously a core focus area for the America’s Cup, so having a company of the calibre of Crewsaver as our Official Safety Provider is the perfect fit for us in this incredibly important area.” Brian Stringer, Survitec Group Chief Executive Officer, added: We are delighted to have been selected as official safety provider to the America’s Cup. It is very clear that our two organisations share many of the same values as far as safety on the water is concerned, making this the ideal partnership opportunity. We look forward to working together to help share these messages to a wider audience through our #LifejacketSafe campaign.” With help from Crewsaver, the America’s Cup will soon launch a series of safety videos, providing viewers with a number of top tips to help them stay safe when out on the water. In addition, the partnership will provide America’s Cup viewers with the opportunity to win a limited edition, and not on general sale (and not available to the public), America’s Cup branded Crewfit 180N Pro life jacket through a competition being run by Crewsaver. More details will be announced soon.

2017. April 13. America’s Cup organizers are urging people to buy tickets for the Grandstand as soon as possible to avoid missing out. The facility is described as one of the prime positions in the America’s Cup Village, offering views straight over the racecourse finish line and a dedicated large screen showing the races live. It will have a roof to provide shade, and its own exclusive bar at the base of its structure, with drinks and snacks service for guests in their seats. A press release from the ACBDA says demand has already been very high for Grandstand seats and tickets are already sold out on June 17, 18, 24 and 25. Book your place in the Grandstand via www.americascup.com/tickets.

America's Cup Grandstand

Bermuda's America's Cup Grandstand on Cross Island, see above story

2017. April 13. Artemis Racing blew away the competition during this week’s America’s Cup practice racing on the Great Sound. The Swedish challenger was unflappable in steady and heavy air conditions as Artemis piled up an unblemished 9-0 record in their AC50 foiling catamaran, four of the victories coming against American defender, Oracle Team USA. “We’ve had a really good race period here in Bermuda, all five teams on the island have been racing hard,” Nathan Outteridge, the Artemis skipper and 2012 Olympic gold medallist for Australia, said. “We’ve had some really close battles, really close starting and tacking duels around the course forcing umpires to make decisions, it’s everything we expect it’s going to be come May and June. It’s going to be close and we’re just working on getting better and better each day.” Artemis also produced a solid showing during the first practice racing period late last month, posting a 7-3 record to finish second behind top boat Oracle. They are now 16-3 overall. Iain Percy, the Artemis team manager and tactician, said the practice races against cup rivals Oracle, SoftBank Team Japan, Groupama Team France and Land Rover BAR have proven “very useful. Six weeks to go now until the beginning of the competition, and we’re now at the business end of our campaign,” Percy, the Olympic gold medallist in 2000 and 2008 for Great Britain, said. “These race weeks continue to prove very useful. We’ve come away again with lots of lessons, lots of things we need to improve.” None of the AC Class 50s raced on the Great Sound yesterday as the wind built into the upper limits allowed for the America’s Cup events in May. The boats were out on the sound but the first race that actually started between Oracle and Team Japan was cancelled because the downwind leeward marks were not set up. On Tuesday, the second day of racing in the third practice session allowed in Bermuda, Groupama Team France team manager Bruno Dubois told The Royal Gazette that although he was pleased with the straight-line speed of his young team, he said they really needed more time to practice and come up to speed. “We were late coming into the game,” he said. He felt that given another six months the team would be competitively even with the others. “Oracle and Artemis Racing have been training in Bermuda the longest and they are clearly on top.” Dubois said that Artemis clearly has got speed. “They are very smooth at foiling through tacks and gybes,” he said. Oracle are neck-and-neck with them overall, but the smoothness of Artemis boat handling is the difference. In the first race on Tuesday, Oracle started ahead with Artemis to leeward. The Cup defender lost their lead after going off-foil for a splashdown allowing Artemis through to leeward. Oracle stopped racing on the second leg, because of reported daggerboard issues. As they go through this very important training period, most teams are experiencing situations that require adjustment. Artemis defeated France by almost a leg. And in their race with BAR they copped a penalty at the start but were able to comeback for the win in a close race. The next practice race period is April 24-28. Emirates Team New Zealand should be ready to join the fray bringing all six teams together for the first time.

2017. April 13. Plans to build a floating dock for the America’s Cup close to the Causeway have been given the green light. The Development Applications Board approved proposals to build a T-shaped floating dock, which would extend from the existing bus lay-by northeast of the Causeway roundabout. The ACBDA development, which has to be removed by the end of the year, will allow superyacht owners to go straight from the airport to their boats during the sailing spectacle. According to the application: “This dock is an important part of the event transportation plan to deal with the high volume of private aircraft passengers who wish to travel directly to their superyachts via water. The dock will also serve members of the public who wish to pick up and drop off air passengers by boat. “It is proposed that the dock be installed in April 2017 and removed following the event in August 2017. It is proposed that the dock is installed with a minimum of work due to the temporary nature of the structure.” The application states that the dock has been designed to be supported using two piles driven into the seabed with an access ramp supported on the shore with an “easily removed concrete abutment”. The floating dock was described as being 110ft long, connected to the shoreline via a 55ft gangway.

2017. April 12. With seven weeks to go until Bermuda hosts the 35th America’s Cup, the Premier visited the Event Village and surrounding areas in Dockyard for an update on the progress and preparation. Michael Dunkley was joined by Jeanne Atherden, the Minister of Health and Seniors, as well as Nandi Outerbridge, the Minister of Social Development and Sports, for Friday’s tour of the facilities. “It’s incredible to believe that in just over a month, we will be welcoming tens of thousands of people to Bermuda for the 35th America’s Cup,” Mr Dunkley stated. “Dockyard will be the focal point for so many activities, both on land and water, so it was important for us to view the progress and preparation taking place in the AC Event Village and Dockyard.” He added that the Bermuda Government “with the support of many partners, has worked very hard to ensure that Bermudian construction companies, contractors and workers were involved in bringing the Event Village and Dockyard to life. So it was impressive to see all aspects of this area taking shape — from the Moresby House refurbishments to the transformation of Cross Island.” And he added: “Bermuda will be on full display to millions around the world when the America’s Cup gets under way and hosting this event will be a proud moment for our country. It was heartening to see the level of professionalism, commitment and determination from all involved in Dockyard.” The visit was facilitated by West End Development Company’s general manager Andrew Dias and chairman Ray Charlton. ACBDA and Peter Durhager, the chairman, led the walk around of the Event Village.

2017. April 11. Bermuda has been waiting for the Emirates Team New Zealand America’s Cup challenger to arrive to see just how their boat matches up against the other five teams. In a few short weeks, all the questions will be answered. New Zealand arrived yesterday and should be on the Great Sound within two weeks. Peter Burling, who will be driving the 50ft America’s Cup Class flyer, threw down the gauntlet: “We are pretty fired up to bring the cup back to New Zealand — where it belongs.” Before leaving for Bermuda last week, Team New Zealand’s helmsman Peter Burling and trimmer Blaire Tuke sat for an interview with Mike Hoskin of Newstalk ZB in New Zealand. The pair, who made names for themselves first in winning the 2013 Red Bull Youth America’s Cup and then in winning their discipline at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games last year spoke on a broad range of topics. “Do you feel it?” they were asked. “Feel the pressure?” Burling said: “We look forward to getting up there [Bermuda] and getting into it.” The team have been comfortable training in New Zealand while the other teams were already in Bermuda. Tuke explained that sailing at home through the Kiwi summer had been a way to be more efficient. “We had a great New Zealand summer and made the most of it,” he said. “Conditions in Bermuda have not been the best through their winter — December, January, February and even on through March. They had lots of days ‘blown out’ because of winter storms coming down from the north. We haven’t had as much time in the waters [of Bermuda]. Come race day you just have to play what’s in front of you, look up the course and make the most of it.” Oracle Team USA and Artemis Racing have been based in Bermuda for almost two years. The other three teams — Land Rover BAR, SoftBank Team Japan and Groupama Team France — arrived before mid-March. Since late March the teams who were already training in Bermuda have been match-racing against each other in two race periods under the newly modified race protocol. Burling commented on the Qualifying and Playoff format where all the competitors sail against each other, even the defender. “It is what it is. It is a moving target and we have to make the most of it, play the hand we’re dealt. It is an advantage to see Oracle racing and to match up with SoftBank Japan, too, in the World Series and the qualifying rounds. They have the Oracle design package and are under the Oracle umbrella. It will be nice when we can line up against those blokes and see where we are weak and where we are strong.” Foiling has been a big topic. Some people think that foil design will win the race. The New Zealand helmsman and trimmer both believe that the boats will be up on foils in almost all conditions and probably in all the conditions within the upper and lower wind limits, an approximate average true wind speed between 6kts and 25kts, measured as defined in the race protocol. Tuke explained that the AC Class boats will be up on foils from start to finish because of improved technology. “The 72-footers sailed in San Francisco were designed as boats ‘in the water’ hoping to foil, The AC 50-footers have been designed to foil everywhere from the start. We will come in the [starting] box on foils and be foiling at the start, although we may drop of if it [the pre-start] gets close.” And what about pedal power, the radical shift from arms to legs for grinders? “We are happy with the decision.” Burling said. “Every day we get better.” As for crew placement, he said: “We will be putting all the crew on the windward side. that is the fastest. The pictures of two peddlers per hull was ‘fake news’, just a picture someone took when the crew were in that position. Transfer times from side to side are just about seven seconds, maybe a second or two slower than for the traditional arm grinders. Transfer times depend on how much risk you want to take,” Burling added, referring to their high G-forced experienced in sharp turns at race speed. Tuke was asked who is “up” but hedged his bet in reply. “We have a good feel of who’s going well and how we slot into that, what wind conditions we do well in and what mode we’ll be sailing in,” he said. “We’ve got a good platform now and we’ve just got to get up to Bermuda and put the final touches in it. We will keep developing right on through the challenger series.”

2017. April 11. Sam Bell, the Emirates Team New Zealand grinder, cannot wait to get his hands back on the team’s America’s Cup Class yacht, which arrived on island yesterday. “It’s really exciting and I can’t wait to get out there on the water,” said Bell, as he anxiously waited for the precious cargo to be unloaded from the Emirates SkyCargo 747 aircraft. “It’s been a few weeks here now watching the other teams race on the water and it’s been hard to watch.” The arrival of the team’s AC50 foiling catamaran coincided with the start of a three-day practice racing window for the teams involved in the 35th America’s Cup. Bell hopes that the team’s boat will be reassembled before the next practice racing period commences on April 24-28. “I think we will definitely be pushing for that,” he said. “Hopefully we can get the boat together in time. It looks pretty similar, the conditions out there to what we have trained in in Auckland, so it shouldn’t be too big an adjustment for us.” Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Team New Zealand’s racing yacht is the radical pedal grinders the team have opted for over traditional arm-powered grinding stations. “I come from a grinding background and it’s been a big adjustment for a lot of the guys to change their bodies and turn them upside down,” Bell said. “Countless hours have gone into research and development to get us where we are today, and a lot of credit has to be given to the shore team who don’t get home till well after dark. It’s good to be here, the people of Bermuda are pretty awesome. You can’t walk down the street without someone saying hello and asking how your day is.” The arrival of Team New Zealand’s 50ft catamaran proved to be a spectacle for the hundreds of spectators that lined the road along Ferry Reach to see the plane touch down at LF Wade International Airport yesterday at 5.20pm. The operation had been months in the planning from modelling the contents and loading of the aircraft, to getting custom racking system produced, to physically packing everything on to the huge aircraft. The load that arrived in the big plane’s belly included two hulls of the 50ft Team New Zealand AC Class race boat, two wing sails, a chase boat, multiple daggerboards, gym equipment, electrics, hydraulics and a huge amount of supplementary equipment which equates to around 42 tonnes of cargo. “We have a four-hour window to unload,” Kevin Shoebridge, the Team New Zealand chief operations officer, said. “Loading took 3½ hours so we should be finished unloading in three. Tonight we hope to truck the boat and all the gear to our base in Dockyard. Every day counts now. We need everything to go [according] to plan so that we are back testing and sailing on the Great Sound in Bermuda in as little time as possible.” Among the dignitaries on hand were Premier Michael Dunkley and Economic development minister Grant Gibbons. “We are excited to have the New Zealand boat and the rest of the Team New Zealand here in Bermuda,” Gibbons said. “We can’t wait to see them out on the water.” A host of Team New Zealand team members were also on hand to greet their boat and their team-mates who made the 21-hour flight from Down Under via Los Angeles.

2017. April 10. Five local companies will be providing the food and drinks at the America’s Cup Village. Rosa’s Cantina, Bermuda Pie Company, JB’s Woodfired Pizza and Smokin Barrel have been selected for their food specialties, while Docksiders Pub has been awarded the public bar concession. Chris Garland, America’s Cup Public Food & Beverage Concessions Manager, said: “These businesses bid on a tender for this opportunity and were chosen on their business strength and their ability to provide continuous quality service to a high volume of people daily, for a 5-week period. “This will be a demanding time on their business and their staff and they have demonstrated that they are up for the task. It was important for us to also provide a wide selection of food choices for fans attending the America’s Cup Village, and even more variety will be available, with the snack and festival food vendors to be announced soon. These vendors will do us proud, rising to the challenge and ramping up from Bermuda’s local daily demand to an international standard, serving thousands of ticket holders on any given day at peak times.” America’s Cup Village ticket holders will enjoy a range of varied activities and interesting interactive things to do, before and after racing. Tickets online can be bought through www.americascup.com/tickets

2017. April 8. Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle Team USA skipper, shrugged off his team capsizing at the weekend as another “learning experience”. Oracle’s America’s Cup Class catamaran wiped out during a training run in the Great Sound on Saturday. There were no injuries to the crew while Oracle’s AC50 suffered “minimal damage” in the mishap. “Good lessons learnt,” Spithill said. “Shame to go over, but it’s part of the game now.” The mishap occurred off the shores of Lefroy House while the crew were practicing starts. “We were doing starting practice and bailed out of a bear away and unfortunately went over,” Spithill, the youngest skipper to win the “Auld Mug”, said. “When we started to go and I knew we couldn’t recover; I just said ‘hold on boys, we’re going over. It was a really soft landing. The big sail just captures the air between the sail and the water like a pillow.” This was the first full wipeout for an AC50. After the catamaran, 17, was righted, she was towed back to Oracle’s base in Dockyard and hauled out of the water. There was no apparent damage to the hulls, rudders or daggerboards. However, the boat’s hard-wing mainsail did not go unscathed. “The top of the wing has some flap damage,” Spithill added. “The hull that was in the water had saltwater in it, so some of the electrical systems may need to be replaced. But our legendary shore team will have us back racing Monday.” Oracle issued a statement on Saturday’s mishap. It read: “We flipped over our new America’s Cup Class boat. All the guys are good. We went straight into our righting procedure, pulled the boat up, and brought it back to the dock. Now, we have to go through the process of checking the boat out. The top of the wing has some flap damage, but we have the team to get us back out on the water and we’ll be back out to finish off this race period with the rest of the teams. It is frustrating but the fact is, this is a real possibility in these boats. We have to go back through and figure out what led to it. But that’s all part of the learning process. It’s usually from these sorts of incidents where you learn the most.” Earlier in the week the American defender barely avoided a violent high-speed crash. A YouTube video of the incident has since gone viral. It shows the windward hull going airborne and the leeward hull digging into the water and the hard-wing sail quickly being inverted to relieve pressure. Despite Saturday’s accident, Oracle’s boat is expected to be back on the water for today’s start of a three-day practice racing period. The defender stood out among the crowd during the previous practice racing period after compiling an overall 9-2 record. The original rules prohibited practice match racing in the AC Class 50 footers. However, the majority of the teams voted in favour of changing the rules. Emirates Team New Zealand, who are due to arrive in Bermuda this week, were the only team that opposed the latest amendment to the rules.

2017. April 6. With 50 days remaining before the opening of the 35th America’s Cup, organizers have officially given a name to the band of Bermudians set to entertain the crowds. 4-Forty-1, an eight-piece band of local musicians formally referred to only as “the band”, was formed through a public vote with a range of local artists stepping forward for a chance to take part. Explaining the name, a spokeswoman said: “To Bermudians, 4-Forty-1 is instantly recognizable as the three-digit area code of Bermuda, so picking such a uniquely Bermuda-related name for the band was a simple, instantly memorable choice.” The group is now rehearsing for their debut, which is set to take place on May 26 at the official opening ceremony in the America’s Cup Village. Among the band members are guitarist and saxophonist Dave Pitman, singer Jesse Seymour, bassist Torrey Tacklyn, drummer Troy Washington Sr, singer and guitarist Raven Baksh, keyboardist Leroy Francis, guitarist Tony Hay and musical director Robert Edwards. Other acts are expected to join 4-Forty-1 on the stage for the celebration, but have yet to be announced. May 26 will also feature the first official day of racing, with defending champions Oracle Team USA taking on Groupma Team France. Tickets for the opening ceremony and the first day of racing are still available at www.americascup.com/tickets.

2017. April 5. The mast of Artemis Racing’s America’s Cup test boat came crashing down in the Great Sound yesterday. No one was hurt after the mast of the Swedish challenger’s AC45T2 test boat came down across the starboard hull of their catamaran. “We were following Artemis Racing as they went flying along, foiling up on a daggerboard in a building breeze,” said Chris Burville, who was out photographing practice action. “They were going quite fast downwind, heading from the Fort Scaur area North into Cavello Bay. Suddenly the boat seemed to turn, most likely in a gybe maneuver [crossing with the wind swapping sides behind the boat] and the mast came down in a jumble of wreckage. It was all very sudden.” Spectators on shore reported hearing a loud bang and turned to see the hard-wing mainsail already over the side. Reports from an Artemis team member were that no one aboard was injured, but the boat suffered serious damage. Luckily for the team, it was the turbo test platform used to develop systems and foil designs that was damaged and not the America’s Cup Class 50-footer that Artemis will race, beginning May 26. “As the team chase boats approached,” Burville said. “Sailors were standing on the decks of the sailless catamaran. “The wing sail had fallen forward across the starboard hull. There was no panic when the chase boats came alongside. Some of the sailors got off on to the powerboat, and other crew got aboard. They fastened floats to parts of the catamaran to keep everything afloat. The sail was flat in the water at a weird angle. One of the hulls also seemed to be on its side.” Artemis posted a brief statement on Facebook. “During a practice session Artemis Racing’s development boat (T2) sustained beam damage whilst training,” it read. “There were no injuries.”

2017. April 5. Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill said his team are ready to build on their recent practice race successes on the Great Sound while also addressing the recent controversy over the America’s Cup protocol changes. The Cup defender came out of the initial team-on-team practice session last month sporting the best win-loss record of all five teams now in Bermuda. They stand at nine wins and two losses, just a victory ahead of Artemis Racing who won seven with three losses. Spithill, who won Bermuda’s King Edward VII Gold Cup in 2005, and the crew of 17 looked almost flawless. Spithill spoke to The Royal Gazette about the matter of foils — daggerboards with ‘L’ shaped tips to lift the two hulls above the water — that has been in the Cup news headlines for the past week. Asked if Team USA now had their actual AC Class racing foils to test, Spithill explained: “Yes, you are allowed a total of four foils, every team has their first two and I’d expect to see the next two sometime soon amongst the teams.” Spithill commented on that recent Facebook debate over protocol changes and repair of damaged foils. The issues have stirred up the simmering discord between Emirates Team New Zealand, tucked away in Auckland, and some of the teams in Bermuda as voiced by Russell Coutts, chief executive of the America’s Cup Event Authority and Oracle. Asked if this debate over the protocol change and foil repair was just a distraction, Spithill said: “It’s the America’s Cup. “There’s always a bit of controversy and a bit of white noise around. But underlying that are some important issues. We have to set the record straight when there is misinformation about the way the sport is governed. The America’s Cup is different to most other sports. It always changes. No single team or person can change the rules and to suggest otherwise, as happened recently, is simply wrong. So I think it was important for that information to come out. The defender has less power over the sport on the water than ever before — we’ve given that up in favour of a system where each team has one vote and is an equal shareholder. That’s never happened before and I think it’s a big step for the sport. At the end of the day people can talk as much as they want on shore, but ultimately the America’s Cup will be handed to the team that wins on the water.” That real racing starts May 26. The next training period begins tomorrow and Friday, followed by more racing next Monday through to Wednesday. The five America’s Cup class catamarans will once again match-up on the Great Sound in duels of discovery. They will be sparring with rivals to learn their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and to learn a little more about their own potential. Spithill talked about how Team USA planned to build on their success and what their goals are going into this week’s practice racing. “We had a good first session in the new ACC boat a couple of weeks ago,” Spithill said. “But you never stop developing. We know there are things we can do better as a team on board. And we’ve made some improvements to the boat as well. We know we can’t stop improving and we assume that’s the same for all of the teams. As a team, we focus on the process of improving each day and learning. The team that outlearns the others will likely win. Our coach, Philippe Presti, has been working very hard with the sailors, and our boat building and design teams have been putting in long hours. This process will continue right up until the last day of the Cup.” Forecast for the Great sound this week look like winds will be 9-10kts tomorrow and building to over 25 by early afternoon on Friday. Teams will try to squeeze in as much sailing as they can before winds go over the upper race limits on Friday afternoon. “The long range forecast at this time of year isn’t that reliable,” Spithill said. “We run a very flexible schedule in the team which allows us to react and maximize the time on the water.” We mode the boat a little bit differently for these changing conditions. The biggest mode change people would make in May and June would be in daggerboard selection but most of us only have one of the two pairs of boards we’re allowed, so we can’t make that change yet.

2017. March 30. An emergency exercise is due to take place in the Dockyard area on Saturday to test contingency plans for the upcoming 35th America's Cup. The Ministry of National Security announced the measures as part of its annual security simulation — Exercise Joint Venture — which will involve a series of drills concentrating on the North and South Basin. The scenarios being tested include oil spill containment procedures, on water incident management and security screening. Representatives from the Emergency Measures Organisation (EMO) as well as representatives from other agencies will be involved. A spokeswoman for the ministry said: “All simulations will be water based. However any inconvenience to the boating public will be minimal. It is anticipated that inconvenience to the public in the Dockyard vicinity will also be minimal. The public is reminded that emergency simulations are required periodically to test Bermuda’s readiness in the event of a crisis situation.” The exercise is due to take place between 8am and 6pm.

2017. March 27. An island-based IT firm has become an official supplier to the America’s Cup. CCS Group will be the official information and communications technology supplier to the event. Peter Aldrich, general manager of CCS, said: “We are very excited to be working with the America’s Cup to deliver a quality ICT experience to all of those involved with the historic event. Being asked to partner with America’s Cup is a testament to the world-class service that CCS can provide. This is an incredible opportunity for Bermuda to demonstrate our excellence on a world stage.” CCS will provide cabling, equipment and network engineers to create an IT network to be used by event staff, media covering the races, emergency services and visitors. Dan Barnett, chief commercial officer of the America’s Cup, said: “IT will play a key role in the successful delivery of the world-class events that will take place in Bermuda in May and June 2017 and CCS are the perfect company to help deliver that ICT infrastructure.” Warren Jones, head of IT at the America’s Cup Event Authority, added: “Following the excellent service CCS provided at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Bermuda, we wanted to work with CCS again. Their engineers are some of the best ICT consultants that I’ve worked with.” Kory Logan, sales and marketing director at CCS said: “The America’s Cup Event Authority has worked with systems integrators like CCS around the world. “Their faith in CCS and its staff’s ability to support the event’s ICT infrastructure is a testament to the quality of services that local companies like CCS can provide.” CCS, which provides both local and international companies with communications and consulting services, is part of the BAS group of companies.

2017. March 25. Oracle Team USA survived a scare during another exciting day of America’s Cup practice racing on the Great Sound. The American defender snared a marker while racing against Swedish challenger Artemis Racing in chilly 13-15 knot northeast breezes. Oracle were leading when the mishap occurred on the last bottom mark and never recovered as Artemis held on for their first win in their new boat while bringing their rivals’ unbeaten streak to a grinding halt. That proved to be the only blemish on an otherwise successful day at the office for the holders of the coveted “Auld Mug” as they returned to shore boasting the best record among the three Cup syndicates that lined up against each other in their America’s Cup Class catamarans. Jimmy Spithill and his Oracle colleagues started the day on the front foot after crossing the finish line more than a minute ahead of Artemis who trailed the entire race. Land Rover BAR also proved to be easy pickings for Oracle, who beat the British challenger by more than a minute. However, the Americans were denied the clean sweep in a second match against Artemis as a marker rounding that went horribly wrong proved costly. The past week has been a difficult one for Sir Ben Ainslie and his Land Rover BAR colleagues, who crashed their boat into a floating dock and then suffered two defeats by Oracle on the opening day of practice races, which have been made possible by yet another controversial change to the America’s Cup protocol. But an impressive victory over Artemis by a handful of seconds in the day’s closest race might have gone a long way towards cushioning the blow and raising morale. The British challenger virtually left their rivals parked at the start to seize early control and covered them the rest of the way to chalk up a maiden win on Rita. Groupama Team France showed up at the party, but again opted not to dance, nudging a press boat with one of their chase boats. SoftBank Team Japan’s boat has been under repair for the past several days after suffering damage. A team spokesman would not comment on the nature of the damage. However, published reports suggest that Team Japan broke one of their rudders, which had to be retrieved by divers off the seabed. Practice racing continues today in the Great Sound, venue for the 35th America’s Cup. Action begins at 1pm with Groupama Team France meeting Land Rover BAR in the day’s opening race.

2017. March 24. Stress levels for the absentee America’s Cup Challenger Emirates Team New Zealand clicked up another notch this week. On Wednesday their fellow challengers and defender Oracle Team USA took to the Great Sound for the first of five days of match racing practice. This is the first of seven new practice periods. That left the “lone wolf” Kiwi boat racing against her own shadow down under. Matching the defender against challengers could dispel the mystery of traditional America’s Cup competition … Who has the speed? Until now challengers and defenders have not raced until the actual Match for the Cup. Team New Zealand posted on Facebook: “America’s Cup boats lining up already? Until this week it was prohibited by the protocol, but now allowed after yet another rule change. Working together to protect their future AC framework agreement?” referring to the five-team agreement for future competition in the ACC catamarans, which New Zealand opposes. Until now the 2017 America’s Cup Protocol — the document of agreement between the Defender, Golden Gate Yacht Club, and representatives of the five Challengers — did not allow for boat-to-boat practice in the AC Class 50-footers in 2017. But the majority rules. According to the amendment posted on the event notice board, four Challengers, the ones training in Bermuda, voted to change the rules. The original rules had stipulated that practice period’s dates must be published one year in advance of the first scheduled race. With Defender Team USA supporting the amendment, it was brought forward. New Zealand continue to train alone in Auckland. They are air-freighting their contender to Bermuda on April 11. “Protocol changes require the Defender and the Challenger Commission to agree,” reports Jack Griffin of Cup Experience. “The Challenger Commission uses majority rule to reach decisions … a majority of them voted for this change. With Emirates Team New Zealand choosing to train in Auckland through March, they have no interest in the other teams getting quality training time. Until this week it was prohibited by the protocol. Since the other five teams have only launched their AC Class race boats within the past month, we suspect there is so much uncertainty that they all voted for the change. And as the Kiwis note, there is interest within this group to insure one of them wins … and the Kiwis lose.”

2017. March 24. Land Rover BAR skipper and principal Sir Ben Ainslie put a positive spin on lopsided losses against Oracle Team USA on the Great Sound on Wednesday amid growing concerns regarding his team’s performances of late. “It was great to be out sailing on the America’s Cup course, the conditions were fantastic,” Ainslie said. “Each day on the water is a development day, and this will continue all the way through this America’s Cup cycle. Our shore, design and sailing teams are doing a fantastic job working to maximize the performance of our race boat.” Land Rover BAR won the America’s Cup World Series in the AC45F foiling catamaran, but have yet to replicate that form in their more technically advanced AC Class catamarans. “Unfortunately, the British seemed to be having issues and weren’t competitive which was a bit of surprise,” said Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill following last month’s practice races in the AC45S, in which BAR posted a dismal 1-8 record. One of the theories being touted about BAR’s struggles has been the team’s decision to test daggerboard foil designs near their home base in Portsmouth rather than in Bermuda, something which appears to have given their rivals who did most of their testing in the Great Sound the edge. The foil concepts that the team are using are believed to be based on the conditions in the Solent where the density and chop of the water differs to the conditions here, resulting in slower speeds. The same may be true for Emirates Team New Zealand, who have done all of their testing in Auckland. With the AC50 boasting mainly one design elements, much of the focus of the design race has been centred around the foils that lift the hulls out of the water to allow the boats to virtually fly three times the true wind speed. The key to achieving high speed is designing foils that reach the edge of stability without comprising control. According to rules governing the 35th America’s Cup, each competitor is allowed to build a maximum total of four daggerboard foils, which may be modified a maximum of four times, provided at least 70 per cent of the daggerboard foil determined by weight maintains its original shape and structure. Foiling catamarans were introduced to the America’s Cup scene at the previous event in San Francisco in 2013, where Defender Oracle produced a stunning comeback to retain their title.

2017. March 18. French challengers for the America’s Cup, Groupama Team France, have just released images of the team’s very first practice session in Bermuda on their America’s Cup Class (ACC) boat, also named Groupama Team France, the high-tech catamaran with which they will compete in the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda.  “For a first time, it’s been rather successful, particularly given that there was a fair amount of breeze, 18 knots, gusting to 20 at the start!” said Franck Cammas, Skipper of the French team who were the fifth America’s Cup team to set up their base in Bermuda in preparation for the competition which starts on 26th May.  The whole crew is happy. We had some great sensations. We gradually pushed Groupama Team France harder and harder until we were posting a series of fast legs, both downwind and upwind. However, on this first attempt, we didn’t use the boat’s full potential, though we did reach 37 knots at one point.”  The smiles on the team’s faces when they returned to the dock spoke volumes about the success of their first sail. Continuing his debrief, Cammas added “we actually got in 1hr 15minutes of proper sailing on every point of sail. We didn’t work on the manœuvres, instead opting to get back to grips with our catamaran down a straight line. The fact that she’s bigger [than the team’s AC45 test boat] improves the stability. The hulls measure 1.5 metres longer than those on our test boat. We make pretty fast headway and immediately, from the opening tacks, we were able to achieve a good balance. The boat is really very nice to sail.” It was a similar sensation for the most exposed of the bowmen, Devan Le Bihan who said “it’s really enjoyable to have finally arrived at this stage of the project and to share the experience with the whole team. Today, of course, it was a technical sea trial, but we had a sense that all the developments made to ensure the AC Class is more energy efficient, without having a negative effect on the boat’s performance, have borne fruit!” As soon as conditions allow, the team will start to concentrate on fine tuning the use of their systems in the correct manner and performing more manœuvres on board.  Cammas continues “there are a fair number of developments to be implemented before we reach the full potential of the AC Class Groupama Team France. We need another fortnight for that. In mid-April, our latest generation foils will arrive. In the meantime, the objective is to make the best possible use of every minute we have on the water!” Groupama Team France have also outlined the full complement of nine sailors who will make up the team’s race crew. With the total crew on board an ACC at one time limited to six, the French team have appointed nine sailors to their race contingent so positions can be rotated between races, especially for what the team describes as the “very full-on” bowman positions:

The ACC boat in brief:

French challenger Groupama

America's Cup French challenger Groupama. See above story.

2017. March 20. Land Rover BAR suffered a setback after a routine docking proved anything but. Following a practice sail in the Great Sound, the British challenger’s America’s Cup Class foiling catamaran collided with a mobile dock at their Royal Naval Dockyard base. BAR’s AC50 caught a gust of wind and accelerated before ramming the mobile dock, which is designed to rotate to enable the boat to be turned into the wind. They are the first team to crash their boat, just weeks after becoming the first to launch an AC50 in local waters. The extent of damage to BAR’s boat remains undetermined. In any case, the AC50 is equipped with replaceable bow sections for incidents such as this. Land Rover BAR are one of five challengers that will compete in a series of qualifiers for the right to meet defender Oracle Team USA in the 35th America’s Cup Match. The team will face Swedish challenger Artemis Racing, led by British Olympic gold medal-winner, tactician, and team manager Iain Percy, in their opening qualifying match on May 26. Comprised of some of best British and international sailors, designers, builders and racing support, Land Rover BAR were launched in June 2014. The team were conceived by Sir Ben Ainslie, the four-times Olympic gold medal and two-times King Edward VII Gold Cup winner, who won the 34th America’s Cup as a tactician with Oracle in San Francisco in 2013. Land Rover BAR are bidding to become the first British team to win the “Auld Mug”, which left British shores in 1851 after the New York Yacht Club schooner, America, beat the best the British had to offer in a race around the Isle of Wight. BAR are the first British team to enter America’s Cup since 2003 when White Lightning were eliminated in the semi-final round of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

2017. March 13. Perceived weaknesses in the island’s internet network meant America’s Cup challengers Land Rover BAR will rely on UK technology to monitor its racing yacht. The team turned to British telecoms firm BT as the risk of the Bermuda network crashing when it needed to send data and video back to shore and on to its headquarters in Portsmouth during the competition. A spokesman for the team said that its virtual chase boat system — where a real shadow boat with monitoring equipment is replaced by technology on the racing yacht — was designed for use in England. He added: “In Portsmouth, the fact that the sailing water was lined on both sides by relatively densely populated areas meant that the public network could be relied upon. The situation in Bermuda was very different. The more isolated piece of water and the island’s relatively small population meant that during the racing period, the spectators and media attending could be expected to strain all the public data networks. The team couldn’t afford to discover that suddenly, right when they needed it most, the link to Bermuda had been overwhelmed, crashing data and video delivery to Portsmouth.” Land Rover BAR instead opted for a proprietary system — a dedicated “uncontended link” rather than a shared system. BT has provided a 45 Mbps leased line between Bermuda and Britain, which is unshared and guaranteed to run at the set rate at all times. The team’s Technical Innovation Group, led by management and technology consultancy PA Consulting group, worked with BT to supply data to team coaches, designers and performance analysts. They found they would also need a private cellular network to link the competition yacht to its Dockyard base for onward information transmission to England. The spokesman said that the team “had already discovered during the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event in 2015 that the public network didn’t have the required bandwidth out in the Great Sound”. Land Rover BAR and BT instead brought in a private cellular network, complete with mast, antenna, receivers and software similar to military grade ship-to-shore 4G LTE. The virtual chase boat was developed to remove the need for a powered chase boat every sailing day, reducing the team’s carbon footprint, in line with America’s Cup organizers’ desire to make sailing more sustainable. Richard Hopkirk, engineering manager at Land Rover BAR, said: “The VCB has been a tremendous success story for our technical team. It’s brought my engineers closer to the sailing boat than ever before, while at the same time reducing our carbon footprint as a team. I’m enormously grateful to PA Consulting Group and BT for their technical and personal support without which this would not have been possible for us.” Howard Watson, CEO of BT technology and service operations, added: “Our networking and big data expertise will help the teams on both sides of the Atlantic to deliver better performance from the boat. It’s all about our ability to help the support teams and crew to make better tactical decisions through access to better-quality data in real time.”

2017. March 9. More than $10 million has been invested in renovating historic buildings at Dockyard ahead of the America’s Cup. The money has been used to make new office space and upgrade homes. Andrew Dias, General Manager at the West End Development Corporation (WEDCO), said: “The work was always in the pipeline but was given fresh impetus as a result an insurance payout from recent hurricanes and the America’s Cup. Many of the buildings being renovated will be used by people from the America’s Cup as well as the ACBDA team, but after that, they will be available to locals. We always wanted Dockyard to be a vibrant, 24/7 place and hopefully these developments will go some way towards that ambition. We are investing an enormous sum of money and we will see the transformation or protection of many buildings. When finished, we anticipate that it will be home to a range of commercial activities adding even more life and more attractions to Dockyard. People will be able to work, rest and play in the Royal Naval Dockyard.” Some of the major restorations include work on Prince Alfred Terrace which is being renovated and restored to apartments at a cost of approximately $4.5 million. Once the renovations, which include a complete interior restoration including additional bathrooms and layout improvements, have been completed, first use will go to the ACBDA until the end of the America’s Cup. The Spar Lane Apartments are being given a new lease of life and once work is finished they will again be used as homes. Moresby House, or HMS Malabar, is being restored and will be office space, the Sail Loft has been restored and will also be available for use after the America’s Cup. The old Police Barracks is enjoying a new life as home to Artemis Racing, one of the teams taking part in the America’s Cup. As well as major work, Wedco has tended to less obvious projects including roof upgrades, asbestos removal and electrical, plumbing and painting work. North Basin Building #10 — the Canvas Shop — on Smithery Lane, has been restored over a four-month period and North Basin Building #14 — West End Yachts — on Camber Road, has been restored. The North Basin Building #3 — the Anchor Restaurant — has also undergone renovation work including a roof replacement. Mr Dias added: “Dockyard is a very important part of Bermuda’s tourism product and it is imperative that we at Wedco do not stand still. We have to continually invest and reinvent ourselves to keep us ahead of the competition.”

2017. March 5. Today, His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex, visited Ben Ainslie’s British America’s Cup team, Land Rover BAR’s, base in Bermuda. Bermuda is the host venue for the 35th America’s Cup and half the team relocated from the Portsmouth HQ at the end of 2016, in preparation for the racing which starts on 26th May. The America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in international sport and started in 1851 with a race around the Isle of Wight. Despite previous attempts, a British team has never won the Cup. During his visit to the team base, HRH met Sailor and Designer, Bleddyn Mon, Shore Team Manager, James Stagg and Base Manager, Dave Powys and was shown the team’s foiling America’s Cup Class (ACC) race boat, ‘R1’. Designed using the very best of British technology and innovation, R1 took over 35,000 hours to construct and can reach speeds of 60 mph. HRH was also given a tour of the 11th Hour Racing Exploration Zone, a dedicated and free educational space within the base, which brings to life critical topics around ocean health, sustainability, innovation and technology. HRH was on the Island to support the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award in Bermuda, meeting young people taking part in the local Award programme and engaging with programme volunteers. The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award programme is the world’s leading youth achievement award, giving millions of 14 to 24-year-olds the opportunity to be the very best they can be. The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award has a strong link to sailing, Award participants were amongst the first to introduce the Optimist dinghy to Bermuda, by building the dinghies for their programme skills requirements and sailing them for their physical recreation. Land Rover BAR sailors including four times Olympic medallist, Ben Ainslie and Rio 2016 gold medallist, Giles Scott, started their sailing careers racing in the boat.

2017. March 1. Both land and water transport operators are being encouraged to attend an information session taking place tonight on how to “maximise their direct benefit” from the upcoming America’s Cup. “We are calling taxi drivers, minibus operators and limousines and all who have interests in transport, be it marine or on land, to attend tonight’s information session,” Mike Winfield, CEO of America’s Cup Bermuda (ACBDA), said in a statement. “There will be important information shared in this meeting that will help drivers/operators to understand exactly what will happen during the America’s Cup in May and June.” Specifically, transit operators will be provided with updates on the America’s Cup Village, ticketing, the racecourse, and more. The meeting will also be of interest to boat owners who are interested in earning money during the period." Jerome Robinson, Transport Director with ACBDA, will also “provide an overview of the transportation plan detailing what taxis and minibuses should expect.” A question and answer period will follow. Marine pilot licence holders — particularly Class A licence holders — are also being encouraged to register their interest for entrepreneurial opportunities by e-mailing localbizopps@acbda.bm. The event takes place at St. Paul AME Church, located at 59 Court Street, beginning at 6.30pm.

2017. February 25. SoftBank Team Japan have become the fifth America’s Cup team to launch their America’s Cup Class (ACC) yacht, the incredible foiling catamaran the Japanese team will race in their historic challenge to take the America’s Cup to their home in Japan as the first Japanese winners of the oldest trophy in international sport. The yacht, named “Hikari”, was unveiled at the team’s base in Bermuda in front of a crowd which included team members, guests from Bermuda, Japan and around the world. The name “Hikari”, which means “flash of light” was chosen from over 430 entries by fans in a competition run throughout Japan by SoftBank Corp in the lead-up to the yacht’s unveiling. After pouring a ceremonial “masu” (a traditional measuring cup made of cypress to serve sake) of Hakkaisan Sake over the bow of the new yacht, Tatsuro Kurisaka, Vice President of the Communications Division of SoftBank Corp., revealed the name to the public for the first time and then, with the crowd looking on, Shinto Priest Kai Guji then performed a Japanese Oharai purification ceremony for the new boat. Kai Guji travelled to Bermuda from Kagoshima, Japan and brought with him special talismans he had collected from several different Japanese Shinto shrines to bless the sailors, the yacht, and the weather. The 15-meter long carbon fiber yacht itself is a foiling catamaran evolved from the same test yacht design the team has been practicing on for the past year in Bermuda. Capable of reaching speeds of over 50 knots, its wing sail – similar in design to the wing of an airplane – stands over 25-meters high and the complete yacht package has been compared to a Formula One racecar on water. “We established this team in May 2015 and in less than two years we’ve achieved a massive milestone with this launch”, said SoftBank Team Japan Bowman and General Manager Kazuhiko Sofuku. “I want to say thank you to our shore crew and their families for the hours they’ve put in and sacrificed respectively, and also thank you to all our supporters in Japan that have brought us this far.” “Hikari” was first conceived more than a year and a half ago in 2015 when SoftBank Team Japan was first formed, and since that date the team has invested more than 187,000 man-hours, working 12 hour days on a six-day work week honing the technology that is featured across the new yacht. Looking for performance gains wherever they can, SoftBank Team Japan have been testing their design platform on the Great Sound, the same Bermudian waters on which the America’s Cup racing will take place in May and June – an advantage team CEO and Skipper Dean Barker think could be key to success: “It certainly helps to have a year of sailing in Bermuda under us and during the Cup itself it’ll feel like we’re sailing at home. “We’ll have a much better understanding of what to expect and the three teams who were based here will hopefully have an advantage over the other three.” While “Hikari” may look, to the untrained eye, similar to the yachts launched by many of the other America’s Cup teams, many of the biggest advantages continue to be hidden out of sight inside the yacht’s hulls where the high-tech mechanisms required for sustained foiling are installed. “I think we’ve seen differences in all the boats but the biggest unknown is what’s hidden in the hulls - how do the control systems work and how well the boats operate.  That will be the untold story and the biggest determiner of success. We’re very happy with our systems but we know there’s still much to do until the start of the 35th America’s Cup.” The America’s Cup Class rules allow teams to customize their appendage, control, and aero packages, focusing the technological development of the class towards the art of foiling and sustaining fast stable flight over the water. However, in keeping with America’s Cup rules, the hydraulics required to drive those systems must be human powered which means “creating” athletes capable of exerting extreme power outputs for long durations of time.  Grinders Yugo Yoshida and Yuki Kasatani are those weapons for SoftBank Team Japan, picked out of an intense Japanese crew trial in 2015, and the two have put on more than 15 kg of muscle training, at minimum, twice a day. They will join veteran Kazuhiko Sofuku in the crew rotation for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers, marking Japan’s return to the America’s Cup itself after a 15-year drought. “Coming out of the last America’s Cup we never imagined the development curve on the mechanical and human side would continue to be as steep as it has and I think right up through the Cup you’ll see development”, commented veteran grinder Jeremy Lomas. “No team will stop. The boats will change from what you see here today.”

2017. February 23. Superyacht owners could travel straight from the airport to their boats by water during the America’s Cup, after plans were lodged for a temporary dock next to Kindley Field Road. ACBDA has applied for planning permission for a T-shaped floating dock, which would extend from the existing bus lay-by northeast of the Causeway roundabout. The application states: “This dock is an important part of the event transportation plan to deal with the high volume of private aircraft passengers who wish to travel directly to their superyachts via water. “The dock will also serve members of the public who wish to pick up and drop off air passengers by boat. “It is proposed that the dock be installed in April 2017 and removed following the event in August 2017. It is proposed that the dock is installed with a minimum of work due to the temporary nature of the structure.” The application states that the dock has been designed to be supported using two piles driven into the seabed with an access ramp supported on the shore with an “easily removed concrete abutment”. The floating dock was described as being 110ft long, connected to the shoreline via a 55ft gangway. In addition, the project was reported to include “associated works to improve the existing lay-by”. A Marine Ecological Survey, included with the planning application, states that with careful siting the dock would not directly impact any protected species in the area. There is a condition, however: the dock should be placed to the northern end of the bus lay-by.

2017. February 9. A decision over the end use of Bermuda’s newest island is unlikely to be made until after the America’s Cup has been completed, according to Andrew Dias. The general manager of the West End Development Corporation acknowledged that if the island secured the sailing spectacle in 2019 the final determination over the future of Cross Island would be pushed back further. Wedco originally submitted plans that would have seen the site of the America’s Cup village transformed into a new Marine and Ports headquarters, a boat service yard that could accommodate superyachts as well as short-term berthing and a maritime school. But after an appeal by environmental group BEST the Supreme Court held that there were deficiencies in the Environmental Impact Assessments completed for the development plans of Cross Island. “Whatever the final plan is we shall have to resubmit it through the planning process again,” Mr Dias said. “There is the chance, depending on who wins the event, that Bermuda could host it again in 2019, in which case under the AC Host Venue Agreement Cross Island has to be available to host the event again. In this case everything would be kept as it is until 2019 when the final end uses decision would be made.” Mr Dias revealed that the Wedco board had a formed a sub-committee, chaired by Wayne Caines, to explore the possible end uses for Cross Island and had consulted with the public and stakeholders over recent months. “We are not resting on our laurels,” he said. “The committee engaged in extensive public consultation with the assistance of Deloitte. They went out to the public at the end of last year in one of the most consultative processes I have ever seen. They asked everyone what their opinion was on what should be there. The short listed uses have been submitted to the Wedco board and are currently being assessed. It is possible that the board may determine that further due diligence and analysis may be required. The board should be able to say something in March. In June after the event we will have to figure out what the process is; although a decision on the future of the America’s Cup may not be made until October or November.”

2017. February 3. Six local musicians have been selected to perform at various events during the 35th America’s Cup as part of The Band. After live auditions and a public vote, the following members were announced: Dave Pitman, saxophonist; Jesse Seymour, male vocalist, Torrey Tacklyn, bassist; Troy Washington Sr, drummer; Raven Baksh, female vocalist/guitarist; and Leroy Francis on keyboard. An opportunity has also arisen for an extra guitarist to ensure all of The Band’s playing commitments can be met throughout the big event. Interested guitarists can e-mail talent@americascup.com by February 7 to register. The same judging panel will review the submissions and decide on the additional musician. Sancha Durham, event and business solutions support co-ordinator for the America’s Cup Events Authority, said: “We look forward to receiving submissions in the coming days, as this is an exciting opportunity for Bermuda’s best guitarist to have the chance to play a unique part in the 35th America’s Cup.” The panel of judges had representatives from the ACEA and America’s Cup Bermuda and included The Band musical director Robert Edwards. The Band will play at various events including Dock-Out shows, in the America’s Cup Village and at America’s Cup parties. They will learn each America’s Cup sailing team’s song as well as playing a mix of soca, reggae, Top 40 and traditional Bermuda-themed songs. In addition to The Band, the Local Talent Programme will see existing local bands, solo musicians and entertainers of all kinds performing in the America’s Cup Village during the five weeks of the event in May and June. For more information, visit www.acbda.bm.

2017. January 28. Emirates Team New Zealand have rejected a framework agreement reached by their 35th America’s Cup rivals. The agreement, announced at a press conference in London this week, would lock in the existing class of foiling catamarans, lower costs for potential new syndicates to enter the America’s Cup and narrow the downtime between cycles. However, New Zealand, who were not present at this week’s press conference at the House of Garrard, did not sign the agreement, which would be moot if they were to win this summer’s Cup on the Great Sound. The Kiwis said they prefer to stick with tradition as spelled out in the Deed of Gift, the document that governs the competition for the oldest trophy in international sport. “Emirates Team New Zealand believe the future America’s Cup format is to be decided by the Defender and Challenger of Record as it has historically been,” the team said in a written statement. Traditionally, whenever the America’s Cup changes hands, the new defender takes some time to negotiate the format and class of boats to be used in the next regatta with the Challenger of Record, which represents the interests of all the challengers. There is no Challenger of Record for the 35th America’s Cup after Australia’s Hamilton Island Yacht Club dropped out early in the cycle and was replaced by a committee of the remaining challengers. Signing the agreement were Oracle Team USA, the two-times defending champions, SoftBank Team Japan, Groupama Team France, Artemis Racing and Land Rover BAR. The Kiwis have been at odds with the America’s Cup Event Authority since the latter switched the America’s Cup Qualifiers from Auckland to Bermuda, resulting in the syndicate losing millions of dollars in funding from the New Zealand government. Team New Zealand took its case to an arbitration panel and has reportedly won, which could lead to an award of millions of dollars from the ACEA, who have yet to announce the panel’s deliberations. Both sides also clashed over the controversial amendment of the class rule for the next America’s Cup, which led to the withdrawal of Luna Rossa Challenge, from Italy. It was the first time in Cup history that a class rule has been altered in midstream.. 

2017. January 18. Rising from the South Basin, Bermuda’s newest landmass and soon-to-be-home for the America’s Cup Village is a hive of activity. Construction crews, asphalt teams and heavy machinery operators are working around the clock, seven days a week, to ensure that Cross Island will meet its mid-May deadline in preparation for the sailing spectacle. Scores of workers from a dozen Bermudian firms are presently involved in the multimillion dollar development, which project managers say will be brought in on schedule. “Last week, 38 containers with the structure of the Club America’s Cup building arrived in Dockyard,” Shane Rowe, head of operations and infrastructure for ACBDA, said. “The containers, which originated in Brazil, are in quarantine on-site at present, but as soon as they are cleared in about two weeks’ time, then work can begin on the Club building. Meanwhile, next week, we have a further 40 containers of grandstands and stages arriving; they will be stored on Moresby Field until we start erecting them.” Parts of Cross Island have already been tarmacked in preparation for the construction of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup headquarters and the Emirates Team New Zealand team base that will begin at the beginning of next month. While the asphalting continues, contractors will also start on the Club building; the main hospitality arena for the event, that will look directly out to The Great Sound over the racecourse. Project manager Richard Noel from BCM McAlpine’s told The Royal Gazette: “The island’s infrastructure is about 80 per cent complete; underground services like water, power and waste water have been installed, but there is still some work to do. October’s hurricane did have an effect on the schedule, but a lot of the damage was cosmetic and required a clear-up operation rather than anything else. All in all, the island stood up well. It was a good test of the work that has been done. It’s going well. We have had our challenges along the way, just like any construction project, but we have worked with the ACEA, the ACBDA and Government to get through them.” The land reclamation phase of the project involved about 140,000 cubic yards of dredged material from the North Channel and 160,000 cubic yards of imported crushed granite being deposited in the South Basin. The aggregate was spread across a nine-acre area and held in position by vast sheet piles that were driven into the seabed to form the boundary of the new island. Power lines and sewage pipes as well as other infrastructure have been installed in recent months, and work to raise the South Arm, which will provide the backbone to the superyacht berths, is ongoing. The bridge linking the island with the mainland has been completed, as has the protective splash wall, while Land Rover BAR is expected to officially open its base in the coming weeks Next month, construction of the Groupama Team France base will begin, while Artemis Racing will move up to their new, smaller base on Cross Island from Morgan’s Point in April. Mr Noel added: “We are 90 per cent there now. But, the last 10 per cent always seems to take the longest time. “We expect it to come together quickly from here and finish on schedule.”

2017. January 13. Land Rover BAR America’s Cup Skipper Sir Ben Ainslie and his team were today officially welcomed. Michael Dunkley, the Premier, and Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, visited the team’s headquarters in Dockyard and toured the facility. “The Minister and I were extremely impressed with the facility and the dedication and commitment of the Land Rover Bar team,” Mr Dunkley said. “The visit was a unique opportunity to speak to the team and hear their passion for the sport first-hand as well as their compliments about the event site at Dockyard and their warm welcome by the people of Bermuda.” During their tour, the Premier and Dr Gibbons had the opportunity to speak to members of the team who said they were looking forward to the competition this summer and were delighted to be in Bermuda. Sir Ben and his crew have been in Bermuda for several weeks preparing to compete in the America’s Cup.

2017. January 11. The threat to derail the America’s Cup has received a huge thumbs down from all sections of the community. Bermuda Industrial Union president Chris Furbert warned last Tuesday that the showpiece sailing event would be jeopardized unless the Government reversed its decision to refuse a work permit for the Reverend Nicholas Tweed. A new Global Research poll has found that, regardless of religious or political beliefs, age, gender, race, household income or union membership, opposition to the ultimatum is extremely strong. In total, 86 per cent of people said they did not support the demand, with 7 per cent in support and 7 per cent undecided. Mr Furbert had insisted he delivered his demand to Premier Michael Dunkley on behalf of his membership — but of the 12 BIU members polled by Global Research, ten said they did not support it. The survey, commissioned by The Royal Gazette, took place between last Thursday and this Monday, following three days of protests and industrial action by supporters of Mr Tweed. It also found that 69 per cent of people believed Mr Tweed should not be issued a work permit, compared with 26 per cent of people in favour, and 5 per cent unsure. Among those describing themselves as AME Church members, 52 per cent believed Mr Tweed, the London-born pastor at St Paul AME Church, should be allowed to stay beyond his January 19 departure date, with 43 per cent saying he should not, and 5 per cent unsure. The telephone poll of 400 registered voters has a margin of error of +/- 5 per cent at the 95 confidence level. Mr Tweed’s work permit refusal has dominated the headlines over the past two weeks, with the People’s Campaign, of which he is a leading member, joining Mr Furbert and the Progressive Labour Party in a series of attacks on home affairs minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin. Ms Gordon-Pamplin has said the application failed because of inaccuracies surrounding Mr Tweed’s name and marital status, while St Paul AME Church did not advertise the position to give a Bermudian the chance to apply. Supporters of Mr Tweed have claimed Ms Gordon-Pamplin is politically motivated against him. Last Tuesday, several hundred people joined a People’s Campaign march through Hamilton before Mr Furbert told the crowd about his meeting with Mr Dunkley. Mr Furbert said unless Mr Tweed’s work permit was renewed, and the airport development project was taken off the table, he told the Premier “the America’s Cup in 2017 will be in jeopardy” and the members will not go back to work. However, many members continued to work as normal, saying that Mr Tweed’s work permit was not a union matter, among other reasons. Later on Tuesday, Mr Tweed responded angrily when his paternal links to Bermudian pastor Kingsley Tweed were brought into question, but refused to comment when asked if he was legally adopted by him. Numbers dropped at protests on Wednesday, with sources suggesting Mr Tweed’s support had weakened further. On Thursday morning, between 100 and 200 BIU members held a four-hour meeting, which culminated in Mr Furbert announcing they would go back to work, and that the union needs to deal with “in-house issues”. At that time, the president said that the America’s Cup warning remained on the table, and clarified that it had was being made by the BIU membership, not just himself. The PLP released a statement afterwards, calling for people to get behind the America’s Cup. A breakdown of the results from Global Research shows the threat won the support of 10 per cent of blacks and no whites; 16 per cent of AME Church members and 7 per cent of other religious groups; 17 per cent of PLP supporters and no One Bermuda Alliance supporters; 8 per cent of Bermuda Public Services Union members; 3 per cent of people with a household income of less than $50,000, 8 per cent of those with income between $50,000 and $100,000, and 4 per cent of those above $100,000; 5 per cent of men and 9 per cent of women; 11 per cent of people aged between 35 and 44, but fewer in every other age group. The most popular reasons to oppose the threat were “it is not a union matter”, which accounted for 30 per cent, and the America’s Cup will benefit the island, which represented another 36 per cent. Another 14 per cent of people said Mr Tweed should not get preferential treatment, and 8 per cent said Mr Furbert was abusing power to get his own way. The most popular reason to support the threat was “Government is not listening to the people”, which accounted for 47 per cent; with 29 per cent saying the America’s Cup will not benefit the average Bermudian and 24 per cent saying the funds should be spent elsewhere.

America's Cup threat

See story above

2017. January 6. “Post-truth politics” and mis- information has been given out on the island’s spending for the America’s Cup, according to Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development. Dr Gibbons was responding yesterday to a statement from Jamahl Simmons, the Shadow Minister of Tourism, charging that the Government had committed “in excess of $100 million of taxpayer funds to support the event. This is an unfounded figure with no connection to reality,” the minister said this afternoon, noting that 2014 projections had estimated a potential expenditure of $77 million. However, the 2016/17 Budget book at present projects a spending of $39.6 million on the America’s Cup from 2014 through March 31, 2017. The figure includes both capital and operational spending. “The bulk of this $39.6 million spending, $23.7 million, is on capital infrastructure, including preparation of the South Basin dock and Dockyard facilities which will benefit present and future generations of Bermudian,” Dr Gibbons said. “This amount represents the bulk of the capital infrastructure spending by the ACBDA required under the agreement with the ACEA. The remaining portion, $15.9 million of this $39.6 million, is current account, or operational spending, beginning in 2014 and projected through March 31. This includes $10 million of the $15 million in sponsorship payments to ACEA — money which must be spent in Bermuda under our agreement and is not merely a payment that leaves Bermuda with no residual value to the island.” After a week marked by industrial action that included the possibility of protests jeopardizing the event, Dr Gibbons said he welcomed the Opposition’s support for the America’s Cup. “The loss of tourism revenues and foreign investment spending coming from The America’s Cup would be devastating for all of us and the reputational damage would be irreparable,” he said — adding that “tireless” work was under way to ensure that its benefits were “inclusive, far reaching and diverse”. March will see debates for the 2017/18 fiscal year, and Dr Gibbons said the Budget had yet to be finalized. The minister said the “great majority” of investment in infrastructure for the Cup had already taken place, and that “further operational spending will be prudent and disciplined. We are being very careful to spend wisely and on things that create legacy value.” Mr Simmons said last night that he looked forward to hearing details in the Budget debate, including how the Government’s $39 million loan to Wedco would be financed. “Most importantly, we are very interested in hearing the details and specifics of how the OBA is ensuring that the benefits from the America’s Cup will be inclusive and diverse, as far too many Bermudians perceive otherwise.”

2016. December 31. The recently reported October 2016 decline in retail sales figures demonstrates the strength of the Louis Vuitton World series. Mike Winfield, the America’s Cup Bermuda chief executive officer, highlights that the figures showing a 4.9 per cent decline from last October to this year, are in fact better explained as the 4.9 per cent boost in retail spending during the one month when the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series was held in Bermuda in 2015. The Department of Statistics report shows October 2014 retail sales at about the same level as this year, which demonstrates 2015 was the unusual and welcomed boost for local business. “October 2015 was a three-day event that had a proven positive impact on Bermuda’s economy; one that local businesses are keen to repeat in 2017 and to a greater magnitude with more visitors over a longer time,” Mr Winfield said. The Bermuda Retail Sales Index identifies the sectors that were positively impacted by the World Series event. They are apparel stores, all other store types, marine and boat suppliers, sale of furniture, appliances and electronics. An economic impact assessment released after the World Series showed $8.6 million economic activity created by the event, with 70 per cent, or $6.1 million, having come from overseas visitors, at a net cost to Bermuda estimated at $635,000. $1.5 million was recorded in retail sales and Event Village vendors generated approximately $320,000 in revenue. “The economic benefit to Bermuda is obviously not limited only to the months of the events,” Mr Winfield said. “This spending continues in the preparation for America’s Cup 2017 as support staff and crew living in Bermuda are renting homes, paying for fuel, food, entertainment, school supplies, utilities, furniture, vehicles and everything else that we all must buy to live here. This is an undeniable boost to Bermuda businesses, landlords and the like.”

2016. December 24. February 6 is a very special date that every member of the Land Rover BAR team have marked on their calendars. That’s the day when the British challengers will launch the new wing-sailed, foiling America’s Cup Class catamaran they will bid to win the ‘Auld Mug’ in Bermuda’s Great Sound next June. The team have partnered with British car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover to develop the AC50, which should have a top speed of around 55 miles per hour — speeds once thought unimaginable for a sailboat. The British challengers, led by skipper and team principal Sir Ben Ainslie, have spent the past several weeks training in their AC45S, which serves as a test platform for the AC50, in the Great Sound. They have even had the opportunity to line up against their America’s Cup rivals — Oracle Team USA, the defenders, Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan — during the brief time they have been on island. Ainslie is encouraged by the progress he and his colleagues have made but acknowledges there’s still room for growth as they try to “close the gap” between themselves and the more established America’s Cup teams such as Oracle Team USA. “As a new team that is going to be our biggest challenge, going up against some of the teams out here we do have some catching up to do,” Ainslie said. “That’s a motivator for us for the next five or six months. We know we’ve got to really knuckle down to catch up with the likes of Oracle and some of the others that are so well established. The existing teams just roll on from one year to the next; they’re already designing next year’s boat while they’re going through a season. Look at Artemis and Oracle and Team Japan by their association with Oracle; they’ve all taken all that learning from the last Cup. And not just on the technical side, but also how these really complex systems can be engineered to gain performance. Yes, we’ve had 2½ years now getting the group together and learning but there’s always an element of catch-up. But we’re confident we can close that gap. The intensity has gone up a notch for us as a team now that we’re out on the water and sailing against the other teams. That really does help in getting everyone’s minds focused on the competition ahead.” Land Rover BAR will face Artemis Racing, the Swedish challengers, in their opening match of the America’s Cup Qualifiers in May. Ainslie and his colleagues earned two bonus points after winning the America’s Cup World Series, which they will carry into the Qualifiers as competition shifts from fleet racing in the AC45F to the AC50s. “We wanted to perform well as a new team to show that we could compete at this level, so it’s a big boost across the whole team to have won it,” Ainslie said. “At the same time we’ve been open about the challenge of being a new team. We’ve done some sailing against the opposition and we might be a little bit behind right now, but the expectations? We’ve got a great team, we’ve come a long way, and we’re working incredibly hard to win this thing.”

2016. December 20. The catchphrase “Above and Beyond” on the wing-sail of Land Rover BAR’s AC45F perhaps best encapsulates the British team’s remarkable showing in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. Led by Sir Ben Ainslie, the skipper and team principal, the team won the series and with it two vital bonus points that gives them a head start in the America’s Cup Qualifiers to start next May in the Great Sound. “It’s been a real boost for the team, there’s no question,” Matt Cornwell, the Land Rover BAR grinder and bowman, said. “It certainly lifts the team and I think helps with the focus, the drive and the push. And not just for the five guys on the boat, but for everyone else on the team, who is working so hard.” The British challenger won four of the nine events on the world series circuit spread across two years, including the two they hosted at their home port in Portsmouth. With the world series now behind them, the team’s focus has shifted solely on its primary objective of becoming the first British team to win the Auld Mug. “It’s so nice to get that victory but the really important thing is to quickly put it behind us,” Cornwell said. “You have to realize that that’s just one of the highs you get in the sporting calendar. It was certainly a high for the team but the real goal is next year and the most important thing now is to completely refocus and put everything into the Cup now. The World Series is brilliant. But that’s behind us and despite the advantage of having those two points we still need to have the fastest boat or else we are not going to make it through to the final, that’s for sure.” Cornwell and his colleagues are presently training in the Great Sound on the team’s AC45S foiling catamaran, which serves as a test platform for the America’s Cup Class boat that they will compete in next year. They have even had the opportunity to line up against their America’s Cup rivals — Oracle Team USA, the defender, Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan — during the short time they have been on the island. “That’s one of the big benefits of being here and something we are enjoying; having the other boats around and seeing how they are performing and sailing the boats,” Cornwell said. “It’s been great to be on home waters but obviously after a while you do want to have some of the other teams around, and it’s certainly a big step being here and being able to see those other teams on the water too and checking with them. We did two winters in a row back in Portsmouth and it was fine but definitely very testing. I think we have earned ourselves a nice winter in Bermuda where it’s much milder and we’re walking around in shorts and T-shirts, which we wouldn’t be doing in Portsmouth right now.” Cornwell said the team’s transition from the UK to their Bermuda base at the Royal Naval Dockyard has gone fairly smoothly “Obviously there’s been some chaotic days,” he added. “A couple of weeks ago everything was in transition and the logistics of moving it all, the people and families, and relocating out here has obviously been a big deal. It’s a great little facility and we are so close to the race area. There’s still plenty of work to be done. But it’s going to have a lovely VIP area and the shed which we’ve got for the boats is a great little area.” 

2016. December 19. Political fallout and antigovernment demonstrations are among the range of security scenarios envisaged by organizers preparing for the 35th America’s Cup. “You have to facilitate peaceful protest, but you also have to facilitate the rights of others to go about their regular duties and movements,” Steve Cosham, planning co-ordinator for the event, told The Royal Gazette. In the wake of a bitter protest over the Government’s proposed airport redevelopment, with demonstrators blocking Parliament and a subsequent police crackdown that was unprecedented in recent history, many wondered if the 35th America’s Cup risked ending up a political target. The event has been hailed as a game-changer for the island, and “no surprises” is Mr Cosham’s motto as the security committee oversees preparations. In a task that has not stopped since the Louis Vuitton World Series in October 2015, the team has drawn up “a comprehensive contingency plan for anything that may go wrong”, from hurricanes to hitches in transport. “Protest action is just one of the contingencies,” said Lieutenant-Colonel William White, the former Commanding Officer of the Royal Bermuda Regiment who chairs the ACBDA security committee. Bermuda’s successful bid to host the biggest sailing event in the world, officially announced in December 2014, was cause for a national celebration that included fireworks and a three-cannon salute. Many selling points factored into securing the America’s Cup over rival contender San Diego — prime sailing waters, along with a location ideal for live global broadcasting. But financial incentives also loomed large — and, with an election impending, the price tag has fuelled scepticism over an event unfamiliar to many Bermudians. While the figure of $77 million is often cited, the Bermuda Government’s actual spending is $52 million between 2014 and 2017 — and the island has committed to a further $25 million as a guarantee against commercial sponsorship. An economic impact assessment projected that the Cup would bring $242 million into the island. Asked how protest action might be handled, Mr Cosham said there had been “serious discussions” that would include live exercises before the event, but encompassing a host of other possible mishaps: severe storms, oil spills on a main road, major transportation accidents or a viral outbreak on a visiting cruise ship. “This is not as big as the Olympics, but the Olympic Games goes on for two weeks, and this is five weeks.” Under the host agreement, Bermuda takes responsibility for delivering security for the America’s Cup, and the committee’s scope includes accommodating numerous other large-scale events coming in May and June of 2017, from tall ships to the Bermuda Heroes Weekend. “Every agency you could think of is involved,” Colonel White said — police and fire services, Customs, the Regiment, Marine and Ports along with Maritime Operations, the Department of Corrections, and the National Police Coordination Centre in the UK, which has been drafting a security strategy since June. Around 10,000 are anticipated in the event village at Dockyard, with the committee’s primary focus being the big weekends. “Think of two cruise ships coming in at Dockyard,” Mr Cosham added. “We’re not expecting everybody to come to the America’s Cup, but we’re planning for several thousand people from the cruise ships wanting to go to Horseshoe Beach or Tobacco Bay, and they will all need to go straight through the road past the America’s Cup.” Colonel White noted that “everything we have to do during tourist season is going to continue — we’re cognizant of the fact that the America’s Cup is not the only game in town. But because of the Cup, we may well get visits from internationally recognized VIPs. It is not outside the bounds of expectation that we could get a royal visit.” With just one route into Dockyard, traffic congestion is one of the security committee’s top concerns. “That piece of infrastructure from Barnes Corner to the National Museum is going to be key to a successful delivery,” Colonel White said. There is also planning for non-events. A low-wind or a no-wind day would be “just as disruptive as high winds”, he added, requiring an element of flexibility in the schedule. The “no surprises” principle will include informing the public well in advance. For example, while there will “obviously” be screening for weapons coming into the event village. Mr Cosham said visitors should know that they will not be able to bring in alcohol. "With possibly a billion people watching worldwide, Bermuda’s stakes are higher than financial commitments. What a great opportunity it is for us to succeed. But if we don’t have it right, what an awful opportunity to fail.”

2016. December 6. Four hi-tech all-electric BMW i3 hatchbacks were yesterday handed over to America’s Cup defenders Oracle Team USA. Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, said: “We’ve got the best rides in Bermuda — I think there are a lot of jealous people on the island right now.” But Mr Spithill said the German green machines would also highlight the alternatives to gas and diesel engines. He explained: “If we can help be the catalyst to introduce this technology to help people get around the island, we’re happy. “It’s a no-brainer — there’s plenty of sunshine here and charging stations around the island could be powered by solar. If we can help do that, alongside BMW, that would be a pretty good thing to be a part of.” The BMW hatchback, made by a main sponsor of Oracle, features the latest in design, with a composite body shell to cut down on weight and with the car being recyclable at the end of its life. Mr Spithill said he had driven an i3 overseas and had been “very impressed. It’s like a mini luxury car and I love the technology — it’s a really cool little car.” Handing over the vehicles at Oracle’s Dockyard nerve centre, David Gibbons, chairman of Bermuda Motors and its Ultimate Motors wing, which sells BMW, said the i3, the first car to be designed as all-electric from the start, was “incredibly innovative. This is a union that brings together speed and efficiency, technology and art, aerodynamics and aeronautics. More importantly, it’s the promise this type of technology brings — zero emissions, recyclable materials and hopefully recharging from the sun in the future.” Mr Gibbons added that Bermuda had been low on the global list for deliveries of i3s — until the island won the America’s Cup. And he said: “We have two sold over the weekend and it looks like another two might be going out.” Premier Michael Dunkley, who attended the handover, said: “I was very surprised at the roominess inside, the quality of the vehicle, what it does for our environment and the very, very smooth drive.” And he praised Oracle and BMW for “all that you have tried to do to support the community and having a positive impact on the community”. Mr Dunkley said: “This is a vehicle I believe can help us move in that direction.” Grant Simmer, the chief operating officer for Oracle, said BMW and the team were also collaborating on technology, with the BMW racing car division designing a steering wheel for the team’s boat. He added: “We are pleased to see BMW’s commitment to sustainability and their commitment to electric cars. There is so much innovation in the cars and we look forward to driving them and we thank Bermuda Motors for the support they have given us.”

2016. November 26. Oracle Team USA have returned to Bermuda after the final Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event in Fukuoka, Japan last weekend. As predicted, with so much at stake, including bonus points for 2017, the racing for the America’s Cup event in Asia was intense and hard-fought. In addition to the glory that comes with winning the event, the title of overall series champion was also up for grabs, as this was the final event of the two-year racing circuit. And, perhaps more importantly, bonus points for next year’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers were also on the line, with the overall winner getting two points, and the runner-up, one. Oracle Team USA put up a spirited fight in trying to overhaul Land Rover BAR for top spot, but could not quite make it. The final races on Sunday were a battle royale, with the American, British and New Zealand teams fighting for the final two point-scoring places. Eventually, Land Rover BAR came out on top, while Oracle Team USA collected one point for their efforts. Team New Zealand, along with the other teams, were shut out of the bonus points. “We would have loved to have taken the two points,” Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle Team USA skipper, said. “But one thing we weren’t going to let happen was to have Team New Zealand take a point with a second-place finish. So we ended up in a bit of match race with them at the end. And the boys did a great job to keep them behind us.” At one point in the racing on Sunday, both BAR and Team New Zealand were pushing penalties onto Oracle Team USA, attempting to drive the team further down the rankings. However, each time, Spithill and his crew fought back. “That’s us just living the dream as the defender,” Spithill said. “But I’d like to congratulate BAR for winning the series. You get what you deserve in this game, and they sailed well.” Spithill was also quick to credit the full Oracle Team USA team for their efforts over the past year. Our shore team and support crew and the guys on board have done a tremendous job over the last two years to make sure we had an opportunity to win it all, right down to the last day, and that’s all you can ask for.  I think it’s a real tribute to them that we were in this position.” With the Fukuoka event marking the conclusion of racing in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series, Oracle Team USA will now redouble its efforts in Bermuda, in preparation for racing next year. “Now we move on to the serious end of the business,” Spithill said. “The America’s Cup is what we have to focus on now. We’ve been doing a lot of work in Bermuda and some great testing with SoftBank Team Japan and Artemis Racing, and we’ve got an extensive development programme to go. Our shore team and engineering team and designers have been working away in Bermuda while we’re in Japan, so we can put the hammer down again when we’re back.” It didn’t take long. With most of the team arriving in Bermuda on Monday night or Tuesday, the team were out on the water, resuming their testing programme on Wednesday. No extended holidays for this team. The racing in Fukuoka was the last time the teams will compete in the foiling AC45F catamarans. The next time the teams race — in May next year in Bermuda — they will be lining up in the America’s Cup Class boats which each team is required to design and build. And the AC45F boats will be shipped to Bermuda for a tune-up and a fresh look. You’ll see them out on the Great Sound again in the new year as they’ll be used by up to 16 international youth teams — including Team BDA — in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in 2017.

2016. November 19.  America’s Cup Bermuda is run by a small staff of ten people and more than a dozen committees. Each committee is charged with addressing Bermuda’s responsibilities for the 35th America’s Cup. This is made possible thanks to the dozens of volunteers who work in relevant fields, along with technical officers from key departments of the Bermuda Government. Each committee also has a representative from the ACBDA and the America’s Cup Event Authority. Here is a breakdown of the committees and what they are tasked with. Communications. Co-chairman: Victoria Isley and Michael DeCouto. To keep the public informed and updated on all America’s Cup activity and events as they relate to Bermuda and its people. Health and Safety. Chairman: Dr Joseph Froncioni.  To address all aspects of medical service coverage plans (medical, first aid, evacuation and clinical) required for the America’s Cup events including public safety on land and water in addition to medical and personnel and assets for race support. Hotel Capacity. Chairwoman: Victoria Isley.  To maximize the accommodation options available to visitors for the period of the AC35. Infrastructure.  Chairman: Denton Williams.  To assess, plan and deliver the required elements of physical infrastructure at the America’s Cup Village. To include but not be limited to: sewage, fresh water, grey water, electricity, alternative energy, trash collection, telephone, pest Control. Legacy and Sustainability. Chairman: Garry Madeiros To ensure the America’s Cup is a sustainable event in terms of economic development, social development and environmental protection and to ensure that a long-lasting and positive legacy is created for Bermuda. On Water Operations. Chairman: Tom Miller. To provide comprehensive on water marshalling of the public and VIP spectator vessels outside of the Race Box Area and to ensure an enjoyable and safe viewing experience for spectators. Regatta Support. Chairman: Andy Cox. To provide support and race management resources to America’s Cup Race Management. Key responsibility is to provide the “race box” by positioning race markers, start and finish gates, and race management assets inside the race box. Security.  Chairman: William White. To plan and coordinate all aspects of security on land and water for AC35, including public and private entities both local and international. South Basin Reclamation Works. Co-chairs: Mike Winfield & Peter Durhager.  To deliver the foundation on which the America’s Cup Event Village will be built on Cross Island in the South Basin in Dockyard, including the removal of buildings, foundation preparation for team bases and the South Basin infill project. Sponsorship.  Chairman: Peter Durhager. To maximize sponsorship opportunities to assist in; reducing the Bermuda Government’s sponsorship guarantee; reducing the cost to Bermuda of hosting AC35; creating lasting legacy opportunities from AC35. Superyachts.  Chairman: Mark Soares. To analyze the current status of the superyacht industry in Bermuda and recommend policy and infrastructure improvements that will make Bermuda a more competitive destination during the America’s Cup and beyond. Telecommunications and Technology. Chairwoman: Fiona Beck. To address all aspects of telecommunications and ensure the Island’s infrastructure is adequate for all America’s Cup requirements. Transport. Chairman: Brian Gonsalves.  The delivery of a comprehensive Transportation Plan ensuring adequate transport infrastructure for land, sea and air traffic during the America’s Cup events.

2016. November 5. This is a challenging time of year for America's Cup training in Bermuda. One day, the conditions will be summer-like, the next, it can be more like winter. However, the variety in the weather is valuable. It allows an America’s Cup team to develop its skills across all the weather conditions that might occur next year during the cup. A challenge for all of the teams at the moment is sailing in top-end wind conditions. In the America’s Cup, the upper wind limit is an average wind speed of 25 knots. That’s quite a bit of wind for sailing — a small craft warning is issued at 20 knots — but for most experienced sailors, 25 knots is a wind speed that they and their boat can deal with. When it comes to racing a light, powerful, wing-sailed catamaran however, 25 knots is more than handful. Earlier this week, Oracle Team USA were out in conditions approaching the upper wind limit and came very close to capsizing. The wind was out of the North, meaning a lumpy sea state in the Great Sound as well. Nearly an hour into the training session on Tuesday afternoon, a strong gust pushed the Oracle Team USA catamaran over, over, over, but not quite into a capsize. Tom Slingsby, the sailing team manager, was helming on Tuesday and said the team learnt a lot from the experience. “It was blowing 22 to 25 knots. We did a bearaway, we were doing 42 to 43 knots of boatspeed. We got stable out of the bearaway but then we had a ‘bit of a moment’. We got hit by a big gust, got a lot of heel, and stuffed the bow into the waves. In that moment when you have a big nosedive, your natural reaction is to ease the sails, but it’s the worst thing you can do. Tom Johnson [the wing trimmer] did a great job. He called for the grinders to grind the wing back in and stall the wing. We ended up saving a capsize and learnt a bit more about what we can and can’t do in the boats.” Typically, Johnson was modest when approached dockside at the end of the day. “It wasn’t just me,” he said. “It was a team effort.” Another lesson learnt and more data points in the pursuit to design, build and race the fastest America’s Cup boat ahead of next year’s competition.

2016. October 20. Businesses involved in the hospitality sector need to be prepared for the tens of thousands of extra visitors expected on the island during next year’s America’s Cup. And while the event is regarded as the pinnacle moment within the coming 12 months, the island should also expect to experience some of its tourism “glory days of the past”. Those were words used by Bill Hanbury, chief executive officer of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, as he opened the 17th Annual Butterfield & Vallis food service trade show at the Hamilton Princess. About 40 suppliers to food wholesale distributor Butterfield & Vallis used the event to meet with clients, such as hotels and restaurants, and showcase everything from daily necessities to the latest food trends. Spencer Butterfield, chief operating officer at Butterfield and Vallis, said: “We are proud to provide chefs with the ingredients that produce the creative dishes that you see on menus all across the island. We are encouraging the hospitality industry to be proactive in their readiness for the spectacular America’s Cup racing in June.” That sentiment was boosted by Mr Hanbury, who said the island’s tourism economy was recovering after many years of decline. He said the latest numbers on air arrivals and hotel occupancy were the best in almost ten years. “The entire island can feel that sense of energy that is coming out of the tourism economy,” he said. “This double-digit growth we are seeing is better than any other Caribbean nation or any destination on the East Coast. We are predicting that 2017 will mirror some of Bermuda tourism’s glory days of the past. There will be no shoulder season. Be prepared to enjoy the ride as we go back to being one of the pre-eminent, luxury tourism destinations in the world.” Referring to the America’s Cup as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for the island, he said: “As the world comes to Bermuda for the America’s Cup, over that five weeks we are expecting tens of thousands of air arrivals. We could have over 100,000 people arrive here by sea.” Mr Hanbury said the Butterfield & Vallis team was working hard to prepare for the event, and help others to prepare. “Butterfield & Vallis is a terrific corporate citizen for our island. They don’t know how to say ‘no’, every time you ask them to do something they always say ‘yes’.” The trade show was themed “Be Prepared”. Alan Hughes, general manager of Butterfield & Vallis, said it was a way to elevate awareness of the America’s Cup. “It’s important for the island to prepare for this excellent opportunity. Hotels and restaurants are going to be full. It behooves us to show that we are ready. It’s six months or so away, we have to start now. It’s too big a prize to get wrong. So the first thing is about awareness, and the second is to show the products that are available from suppliers. People are excited. There is a dawning realization that it [America’s Cup] is going to happen. We are hoping that a large number of the guests will want to come back and visit the island again.”

2016. October 12. Experienced sailor Tom Miller, a former Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore, has been appointed the new On-Water Operations Committee chairman for America’s Cup Bermuda (ACBDA). He comes into the post to replace Ralph Richardson, also a former RBYC Commodore, who has held the role from the inception of the committee last year up until September this year. Mr Richardson has resigned due to professional commitments. Mr Miller has also represented Bermuda in the ball hockey world championships and recently retired as a partner of PWC.

2016. October 11. The three America's Cup teams based in Bermuda could potentially line up against each other in the Great Sound next week. It is understood plans are in the works for Oracle Team USA, the defender, and challengers Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan to participate in informal practice races together in their AC45S foiling catamarans. The AC45S is a supped-up version of the AC45F used in the America's Cup World Series, which serves as a test platform for the final boat the teams will compete in at next year's 35th America's Cup. The power-starved AC45F will also be used in next year's Red Bull Youth America's Cup regatta, which will feature a Bermuda team. It coincides with the arrival of the first components of the boat that Oracle will defend the Auld Mug in next June in a large container at the team's base in Dockyard yesterday. "A bit of excitement around the base in Bermuda today with a special delivery," read a post on Oracle's Facebook page. The team is expected to reveal further details about the special delivery in a press release today. Oracle defended their title at the 34th America's Cup with a stunning comeback from an 8-1 deficit to beat challenger Emirates Team New Zealand in San Francisco Bay. Their defence in Bermuda marks the first time a team has defended in foreign waters by choice. Meanwhile, the GC32 foiling catamaran that Bermuda's Red Bull Youth America's Cup sailors are training in is to be christened next month. It will take place during a ceremony at Darrell's Island on November 3. Bermuda's sailors have already begun sailing the GC32 to help prepare them for the larger AC45F they will compete in at next June's Red Bull Youth America's Cup in the Great Sound. Sailed by a crew of five, the strict one-design ultra-high-performance catamaran is one of the world's fastest racing yachts and is used by most, if not all, of the teams to be involved in next year's Youth America's Cup. The GC32 is capable of reaching speeds approaching 40 knots while its large foils also enable it to foil upwind in 18-20 knots. Inspired by the 34th America's Cup, the GC32 was transformed into a fully flying foiling catamaran after being fitted with Mk2 foils in early 2014.

2016. September 27. Artemis Racing, the Swedish challenger for the 35th America’s Cup, celebrated a second victory in three weeks after claiming the RC44 Cascais Cup in Portugal at the weekend. They did so in dramatic fashion, coming from behind on the final run in the final race to pip RC44 Fleet Racing Championship leaders Team CEEREF for the honours. The triumph was Artemis’s first in the one-design RC44 keelboat in nearly a year and arrived on the heels of the yacht racing syndicate’s victory at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Toulon. Torbjörn Törnqvist, the team skipper and owner, and crew gained a huge advantage after their nearest rivals were pegged back after encountering spinnaker problems in heavy breezes gusting to 25 knots. “That is amazing after one week of racing,” Törnqvist said. “And it was all coming down to the last run — it was incredible. Obviously there was a bit of luck involved, but it was our lucky day.” Victory in the final race of the 11-race series capped an impressive fightback by Artemis, who found themselves in last place at the end of the opening day of the regatta. Also on board the victorious boat was Francesco Bruni, the team tactician and 2013 King Edward VII Gold Cup winner, who attributed the team’s success to the well-drilled crew. “For sure we wouldn’t have won without them,” said Bruni, who joined the Swedish team from Italian challenger Luna Rossa Challenge last year. “We reacted to problems better than the other teams. Today was probably the best day Artemis Racing has ever had.” Trimmer Christian Kamp, a member of Artemis’s team that won the World Series Toulon, competed in Portugal at the weekend. The team’s latest triumph arrived on the same day Kalle Torlen, the team trimmer, celebrated his birthday. Meanwhile, Team CEEREF and Team Nika rounded off the podium in Portugal. The series, which started in Bermuda in March, concludes with the final regatta to be held in Malta from November 23 to 27. The RC44 is a high performance one-design racing yacht co-designed by five-times America’s Cup winner Sir Russell Coutts, the Oracle Team USA chief executive officer, with naval architect Andrej Justin.

2016. September 12. Artemis Racing became the second team to secure three regatta victories at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Toulon yesterday. The Swedish challenger were the most consistent in the light-air conditions, finishing five-points clear of second-placed SoftBank Team Japan, whose impressive fight back fell just short of glory. Land Rover BAR, the only other team with three regatta wins, placed third to extend their lead in the overall world series standings to 14 points over nearest rivals Oracle Team USA, the America’s Cup defender. With skipper Nathan Outteridge at the helm, and tactician and sailing team manager Iain Percy calling the shots, Artemis posted a first, third and fifth which was good enough to secure a second regatta victory this year having also triumphed at the World Series Chicago in June. “Very happy indeed!” an elated Outteridge said. “To come away with a win in Toulon in what were very light, difficult conditions is good. Our boat handling skills in light winds were a bit of a weakness and we’ve been preparing for a while now for dealing with exactly these sorts of conditions so when you’ve put that much time and effort into preparing for a certain wind range, you kind of want it, and that’s what we got this weekend. A lot of teams were disappointed with the weather, but we were excited as it gave us a chance to put into practice what we’ve been working on, so to win as we did is just great.” Outteridge and his team-mates dominated the opening day of racing on Saturday, reeling off two firsts and a third in light winds. “We had a very good day on Saturday but to back it up with another strong performance on Sunday is obviously very pleasing,” said Outteridge, who won the silver medal with Artemis team-mate Iain Jensen in the 49er class at last month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. “We’re very happy with the decision-making in the races between Perc [Iain Percy] and myself and we couldn’t be happier with how we’re sailing the boat right now. I think we’ve made some big strides in how we sail the boat and how we deal with the racecourses and the race format.” Team Japan also thrived in the light-air conditions, going from last to second. “We’re really happy with how this weekend has ended,” Dean Barker, the team skipper, said. “To be on the podium is very pleasing, and that’s obviously the goal, to keep improving. These events are the chance we have to measure the performance of the team, to see where we’re performing and improving as a group.” Land Rover BAR were also on the move with the points doubling on “Super Sunday”, climbing from fifth to third to rebound from a poor start to the regatta. The British challenger started the final day of racing tied with Oracle in the world series standings but managed to distance themselves away from the America’s Cup defender. “All credit to the team, it was a big improvement on yesterday and it needed to be for those double points on the Sunday,” said Sir Ben Ainslie, the team principal and skipper. “It was a good day for racing, a better breeze than yesterday. We would have liked to have got closer to winning — I think Artemis sailed really well — but to increase our lead in the world series going into the final event in Japan in November is a big deal for our team.” Regatta hosts, Groupama Team France, finished fourth in front of their own fans. “It was amazing this weekend,” Franck Cammas, the team skipper, said. “To find out that many people wanted to come and support us was something special and we will use that as extra motivation to keep pushing everyone in Groupama Team France.” The sixth and final world series event for this year will be held in Fukuoka, Japan, from November 18 to 20.

2016. September 10. What a difference a day makes. After experiencing full-on foiling conditions 24-hours earlier, the six teams competing at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Toulon were left frustrated by light breezes that prevented yesterday’s official practice races from being held on the Mediterranean. “It was beautiful beach weather, but unfortunately the wind didn’t fill in enough, so no racing today,” said Tom Slingsby, the Oracle Team USA helmsman. The day before in stronger winds, the Olympic gold medal-winner endured a baptism of fire at the helm of Oracle’s AC45F catamaran in the absence of skipper Jimmy Spithill, who is recovering from an elbow injury. Slingsby suffered minor injuries after flipping head over heels and bouncing off a winch during a bear-away maneuver. “We had just come off the mooring, and that was my first bear-away on a foiling AC45F, and I got it a little bit wrong,” he said. “I have a few bumps and bruises down my left hand side from hitting the winch. I got a bit of a knock on the head too, but fortunately I had my helmet on.” The light air conditions are expected to continue throughout the weekend, something which could play into the hands of regatta hosts Groupama Team France, who have posted their strongest results in non-foiling conditions. “Our strong point is light airs,” Franck Cammas, the team skipper, said. “We’ve had good results in those conditions. Our progression curve is going up, but we need to be more consistent. Throughout the events, we’ve had ups and downs. I hope Toulon will be one of the ups! We’ve worked a lot for this. Anyhow, we’re especially motivated to do well. We’re dead set on giving a good image of what we’re made of here, to show these boats and this racing to our public. Our goal is to create a team with a true French spirit for the next ten years.” Land Rover BAR, the British challenger, lead the overall World Series standings by a point over nearest rivals Oracle Team USA, the America’s Cup defender. The event is the first stage of competition for the 35th America’s Cup to be held in Bermuda next year, with all racing taking place in the Great Sound, which hosted the World Series last October.

2016. September 3. Next year’s America’s Cup is building up to be the best in the history of the sailing event, according to Sir Russell Coutts. The CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority told The Royal Gazette that preparations for next summer’s sporting spectacle were well ahead of schedule. He also hailed the success of the Endeavour Programme and the community outreach project associated with the America’s Cup. “We have had fantastic reports back from the parents,” Sir Russell said. “Children with no previous experience on the water have really made the most of it and it has helped build their character and confidence. Oracle have also developed a project within the programme to take some old Optis that were destined for the rubbish tip, restore them and allow these children to continue to develop their love of sailing. The community outreach has gone incredibly well with some great results. We will look to refine the educational and practical side of this programme in the coming months and improve the system. I’m really excited about that. The programme has worked better in Bermuda than ever before; we have put more focus on it this time and have a team of highly motivated teachers. We have got the right combination.” Sir Russell maintained that the legacy of the America’s Cup after the event remained of critical importance to the organizers. He said he hoped stakeholders would safeguard the Endeavour Programme for the next decade. “The legacy side of the America’s Cup is critical,” he added. “From day one we have worked to make the outreach side of this event sustainable beyond 2017. The industry support we have received has been vital in ensuring this and we have made great progress there. I want to see this programme fully funded for the next decade after the event. We are not there yet, but we are getting there. I want to see businesses take that next step and I think they will. They have seen the results of the contribution they have made.” Construction work on the South Basin landfill project where the America’s Cup village will be based continues apace and ahead of schedule, while superyacht berths for the event have almost reached capacity. The latest news comes as the Bermuda Tourism Authority urged those interested in travelling to the island for the event to make arrangements before it was too late. “We are in a great position and well ahead of schedule,” said Sir Russell. “The South Basin project for example is two-and-a-half months ahead of schedule. I can’t think of anywhere else where this would happen. Another example is the superyacht berths; ACEA is managing 50 berths at Dockyard, Front Street and the Hamilton Princess, and 48 berths are filled and six boats are vying for the last two. We have nine J-Class boats coming now, which is the most we have ever had. These are the old traditional America’s Cup boats, and will create a great fusion of new and old. I don’t think people have any idea of the scale of that. I don’t think there is any doubt it will be the best America’s Cup yet. There will be challenges, obviously accommodation is limited, but it is going to be all about delivering quality over quantity and I have no doubt we will do this.” Looking ahead to the racing, Sir Russell said it was almost impossible to choose a winner, but he hinted that an Oracle win could mean the event staying in Bermuda. “From a sporting perspective it is very exciting too,” he said. “Usually there are just two or three teams with a chance of winning it, this time I believe there is at least five teams that have a real chance. I would not be able to pick a winner. If Oracle win there is a high chance that the America’s Cup will stay here, so there’s plenty for Bermudians to cheer for.”

2016. August 30. The America’s Cup could inspire international investment in more than just the tourism sector, according to Grant Gibbons. The Minister of Economic Development said the ACBDA was working on finding and encouraging investment in the island. “One of the things that we have done at all the World Series events in the UK, Chicago and New York is both the BDA and the BTA have organized smaller events with potential investors and those interested in doing business in Bermuda,” he said. “It’s a nice way to get people together. There’s a degree of excitement during a World Series event. It’s a nice way to talk about Bermuda and talk about the sorts of investment possibilities that exist here. One of the things the Legacy Committee is working on is a pitch book, providing a publication of opportunities for investment in Bermuda, which can be shared with the people who are now interested in investing in Bermuda.” He said investment in the tourism sector was just one of the options being promoted, along with the opportunities to invest in the financial services industry or even local charities. Dr Gibbons later added: “We will try to get things to a more advanced state before we start to talk about the specifics, but we have already been approached by large international organisations that would like to do other sport-related events here.” The comments came after reports that a Hong Kong investment firm, the Fosun Group, had been in talks with the Portsmouth City Council about investing in the British city after their hosting of an America’s Cup World Series event. The website portsmouth.co.uk recently reported: “Bosses from the international conglomerate, spearheaded by billionaire founder Guo Guangchangin, came to Portsmouth during the World Series regatta at the weekend to talk more about their intentions. Chinese leaders say they are interested in the opportunity to bolster the seafront, showcased to millions around the world as they roared on sailing’s elite competitors. And the Chinese Embassy has declared the attention placed on Portsmouth has inspired them to begin lobbying major private companies in Asia to part ways with their money and spark an economic boom in the city.” Dr Gibbons said this week that the Bermuda Government was looking to ensure the event brought long term benefits to the island, studying areas that have successfully leveraged the event for lasting gains, such as Auckland. “They were able to rejuvenate their waterfront and a lot of related things from sailing tech to small service businesses benefited,” he said. “We have been looking at the experiences and the lessons learnt from others as well.” He noted that the event had already helped to inspire investment in the tourism sector, saying: “The hotel investment has been pretty successful when you look at the last couple of years compared to the period before that. Hosting an event of this nature can certainly be helpful in terms of rejuvenating a tourism product. The hotel properties, and those who are talking about investing in hotel properties, are going to be much more optimistic.” He added that one particular area he was excited about was the possible surge in superyacht visits to the island. While he said the ACBDA had established a superyacht programme, offering the vessels a number of spectating positions around the course, he said: “That is already oversubscribed, and we’re still nine months out. If we can get superyachts here and they can experience Bermuda and we do a good job in terms of providing them the amenities they need, which I’m sure we will, we would expect to get them back for repeat business. It’s no secret that they spend a great deal of money while in port.” In addition to the various marina projects around the island, he said that Government was working on a superyacht programme, rethinking how they are handled and the fees that apply for them.

2016. August 30. Hotels and guest houses are filling up fast ahead of next year’s America’s Cup. Four guest houses told The Royal Gazette they are either already fully booked or nearly close to capacity. Hoteliers say they are “ramping up staff” in preparation for the mega sailing event that starts next May. Yesterday, Bermuda Tourism Authority urged visitors to make plans as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Bill Hanbury, the BTA’s CEO, said: “Anyone who needs hotels, restaurants and event space during the America’s Cup should be bringing their plans together right now. We expect high demand during the five-week race calendar and we don’t want local stakeholders to be disappointed.” The Rosemont, Coral Beach & Tennis Club, Oxford House and Royal Palms all told The Royal Gazette they were preparing for the showpiece, which has long been billed as a major boost for Bermuda’s tourism industry. Nik Bhola, general manager at Coral Beach, believes that the America’s Cup is a “unique opportunity” for the industry and is hoping his hotel will leave an impression on visitors. “We have been maintaining a database of our members who have expressed interest in the America’s Cup period,” he said. “We announced our booking policy to our members this month, and have received plenty of positive feedback, and have started to make reservations. At this point we are still accepting reservation requests, but inquiries are very strong and filling up fast. “Coral Beach & Tennis Club has 57 units. We have been working on physical improvements throughout the club, including our food and beverage outlets, the beach and tennis experience and now our guest room renovations. We are ramping up our staffing and training in order to deliver a member experience commensurate with this world-class event. We will also be developing customized on-water experiences for our members, and making our venue available to members for entertainment. This is a very positive impact to tourism and the island as a whole. We are presented with a unique opportunity and I am confident that all service providers will rise to the occasion, work together and put their best foot forward. We must deliver during this event, so that visitors are encouraged to return many times over and continue to experience all Bermuda has to offer.” Neal Stephens, owner and manager of the Rosemont, said: “Right now we are almost close to being sold out. We have been booked by the organisation so the TV crews and events staff will be staying here. We have around five rooms left out of a total of 48. We haven’t really been doing anything out of the ordinary to prepare for guests, but I believe that the event will benefit the island as a whole as the island will be full just like the Newport to Bermuda race — but for five weeks instead of one.” A spokeswoman for the Royal Palms Hotel, added: “We are currently sold out during the time of the America’s Cup. As soon as the dates were confirmed bookings were made. We have quite a few people on the waitlist so we are hoping to be able to slip them in if we can, as we only have 32 rooms available in total.” Oxford House has been booked out following the Louis Vuitton World Series last October, said owner Ann Smith. “We have been doing very, very well and have been sold out over the months. However, it is early yet, and we do keep rooms open for our regular businessmen as we only have 12 rooms available in total. We only just started taking bookings for the America’s Cup as we didn’t want to book so far ahead in case of cancellations. There is also a lot going on around that time so we are trying to be very careful.” Mr Hanbury added: “If you haven’t nailed down your America’s Cup hospitality by the end of the year, you’ve waited too long. It will be a high-demand period for hotels and vacation rentals. No doubt about it. However, today there is inventory available and that’s why we’re encouraging people to act now because availability will become more and more scarce from this point forward. We are continuously communicating with the Ministry, the Department of Airport Operations and the airlines about capacity. As a result of those conversations the airlines certainly have America’s Cup on their radar and I expect they will address any capacity challenges since it means additional revenue for their bottom lines.”

2016. August 25. SoftBank Team Japan announced today that they cracked the foiling tack this year while training with their AC45 Sport test boat in Bermuda. Long regarded as the holy grail of the America’s Cup, the maneuver has been the last significant barrier preventing America’s Cup teams from hypothetically foiling around an entire racecourse — a feat that if proven could potentially define the outcome of the 2017 series. “We know now that it’s achievable and it’s a real game changer,” Dean Barker, the skipper and chief executive officer, said. “Most of the teams know we did it, so the race is on now. The trick with the foil gybe was learning the different settings and techniques for different wind conditions, and that’s going to be the same with the tacking.” The maneuver has the potential to reshape the upwind strategy of the next America’s Cup, as it reduces the deficit incurred by slowing down to cross the wind, resulting in gains of possibly hundreds of metres compared with the 2013 event. The boat needs to be doing a certain speed to stay on foils — typically in the 16-18 knot region — as when you’re going into a tack, the bottom speed is usually around 13-14 knots,” Barker said. “So what you end up doing is using the speed you have going into the tack to make sure you don’t drop below. You typically would lose a lot in the tack, up to four boat lengths even, but if you can stay on the foils the losses are heavily reduced.” The first foiling tack maneuver was developed by the team on April 19, alongside their training partner, Oracle Team USA. “We were out there, nice breeze, put the boat into a tack and stayed up on the foils,” Barker added. “Then we pulled off another one the same day just to make sure it wasn’t chance. In the months since then, we’ve been growing in our consistency to perform the maneuver.” The breakthrough of the foiling tack marks one of the final pieces in the accelerating development of the new wing-sailed, foiling catamarans that have come to define the America’s Cup. In preparation for the 2013 event, it was Barker and his team who first foiled their AC72 class yacht and then proceeded to develop the breakthrough technique for gybing the boat downwind while staying on foils. Now at it again, Barker is pushing his team even farther to use the new tacking technique to try to achieve a perfect flight around the racecourse without getting the hulls wet. “The absolute holy grail would be to pop up on foils at the start and then keep the hulls dry all around the racecourse. It’s certainly not inconceivable. It would be quite the achievement to pull it off.” Calling it a “game changer”, tactician Chris Draper was confident that the new technique, once mastered, has the potential to change the entire playbook of the America’s Cup. “If it’s anything like Moth sailing, this starts to open up the racecourse a lot more, your options are a lot wider,” he said. “It’s not about sailing boundary to boundary any more; you can tack on the shifts a lot more on demand. It will make the racing a lot more exciting for the public as well.” Barker is cautious that all teams will likely be able to perform tacks while foiling during the America’s Cup in 2017. Still, now that SoftBank Team Japan have cracked the code, the sailing and performance teams are devoting significant resources towards mastering the maneuver. “It’s no secret it’s what teams see as the future,” Barker said. “You have to believe everyone will be able to do it, but it’s nice to be getting there early to try to learn what the key parts are. I’m sure over the next few months we’ll see more teams perfect the tack.

2016. August 21. Bermudian Vicki Abraham has been appointed director of communications and marketing for America’s Cup Bermuda. Ms Abraham will start work in a full-time role for ACBDA and America’s Cup Event Authority in September, responsible for communicating what the event means to Bermuda and Bermudians. Ms Abraham has been a television news reporter in Bermuda and worked in communications at the City of Hamilton, as well as holding senior management positions in marketing and communications in the non-profit sector and in telecommunications. She said in a press release: “There’s so much about America’s Cup that as Bermudians we can be proud of. I look forward to bringing the event to our whole community and making it relevant to everyone. This is as much about the inspiration for Bermuda to be even better at what we do and to believe even more in the place we call home as it is about the excitement of America’s Cup racing. As Bermudians we have a uniquely strong and proud culture where we come together when it matters. It’s our intent to give our whole community a reason to be proud.” Mike Winfield, CEO of ACBDA, stated: “As the AC35 approaches and the excitement increases, ACBDA needed a dedicated in-house resource to distribute information and strengthen relationships deep within the community. We welcome Vicki to the team to help us achieve this goal. One of the most important things to ACBDA is that the people of Bermuda know all about the event, understand the significant benefits it is bringing to Bermuda and that those who want to participate, can do so easily.” Ms Abraham will work alongside Mikaela Pearman, marketing and communications executive for ACBDA.

2016. August 2. Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle Team USA skipper, is battling to regain fitness after having elbow surgery immediately after last month’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth. Spithill tore a tendon in his left elbow and flew straight to California for treatment at the end of the fleet regatta. Last year the multiple America’s Cup winner, ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year and past King Edward VII Gold Cup winner underwent an operation for an injury on his right elbow that flared in the build-up to Oracle’s successful defence of the America’s Cup in 2013. “Unfortunately I tore a tendon in my left elbow,” Spithill said. “The initial injury I did was on my right elbow during the 2013 America’s Cup, this was a torn tendon, but on the inside of the arm-commonly referred to as Golfers Elbow.   I had this operated on by the DISC medical group after the 2013 America’s Cup. This injury I did was on the outside of my left elbow, commonly referred to as Tennis Elbow. Like the previous injury we tried physio, cortisone, etc but after six months it had gotten worse and we decided to do it straight after Portsmouth. I injured the left elbow from overloading my arm training due to the original injury and long recovery of my right elbow. When they opened the arm up they discovered that the tear had become much worse and was almost off the bone, likely from pushing it in Portsmouth, so [it was] important we did it when we did.” Despite the injury Spithill expects to be fit enough to compete at the next month’s World Series regatta in Toulon. “The recovery on this surgery is much quicker as the operation was much less complicated than the first operation. I should be good for Toulon.” While Spithill recovers from surgery and prepares for the competition in France in September several of his America’s Cup rivals will be heading to Rio for the Olympics. Nathan Outteridge, the Artemis Racing skipper, and Iain Jensen, the Artemis tactician, are defending champions in the 49er class, where Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, of Emirates Team New Zealand, will look to go one better than the silver they picked up at the London Games in 2012. The New Zealand pair go into the competition as favorites this time around, however, after going largely undefeated since then. “We don’t feel like we’re going there to defend the gold because since then, we haven’t really posted a win at any major event.  We’re going there to try and win the gold. Last time around our sole focus was the Olympics, but it’s pretty obvious that in the lead up to Rio, we’re not focused anywhere near as hard as we were in the past. Now, we have the America’s Cup, which means World Series events and developing a boat for 2017.” Elsewhere, Giles Scott, of Land Rover BAR, will compete in the Finn class where the world champion will finally be able to step out of Sir Ben Ainslie’s shadow. Giles was arguably the best, or second best, Finn sailor in the world heading into the last Olympic Games. But the Finn class was also Ainslie’s class, and with only one sailor per country allowed at the Games, Scott was relegated to a coaching and supporting role. Now, it’s his time. “Every single time I speak to anybody in the media, I am compared to Ben,” Scott said. “I’m not Ben Ainslie, I just happen to be the guy that tried to beat him and failed. I’m not really sure I’ll ever step out of his shadow because of everything he’s done. It’s not the reason why I’m trying to win the Olympics — it’s more personal than that.”

2016. July 23. Land Rover BAR, the British Challenger, made a statement of intent after producing a dominant display on the opening day of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth yesterday. The home team coped best in the light and shifty breezes that kept the racing fleet on their toes, posting two victories and as many thirds in the four official practice races, to get their campaign off on the front foot. Sir Ben Ainslie and his crew won the first race from wire to wire, the second after pulling through from the middle of the fleet, before posting solid thirds in the final two races of the day. “It was great to be back racing in Portsmouth again with these fantastic crowds,” Ainslie, the Land Rover BAR skipper and team principal, said. “We were happy with how we sailed today.” While encouraged by the day’s results, the two-times King Edward VII Gold Cup winner and four-times Olympic gold medal winner said there was still room for improvement. “We made a few small errors that we need to go and iron out for the rest of the weekend, but we’re really excited about the days to come,” Ainslie said. Land Rover BAR are second behind leaders Emirates Team New Zealand in the overall World Series standings, level on points with Oracle Team USA, defenders of the “Auld Mug”. The British challenger of the 35th America’s Cup, to be held in Bermuda next June, are gunning for a third regatta victory on the World Series circuit, and second straight on home waters after winning last year’s opening event in Portsmouth. Also thriving in yesterday’s conditions were Softbank Team Japan, who won the day’s third and final race to give themselves some early momentum heading into today’s official first day of racing on the Solent, venue of the first America’s Cup race in 1851. “Last year the crowds that turned up on the Saturday were just unbelievable,” Dean Barker, the Team Japan CEO and skipper, said. “It seems the momentum is starting to build around BAR and the America’s Cup being here, so I think it’s going to be huge tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to it.” The fleet racing regatta features all five America’s Cup challengers as well as Oracle Team USA. The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series concludes tomorrow with the points doubled.

2016. July 23. Jim and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s 100-foot monohull Comanche, the first racing yacht to finish this year’s Newport Bermuda Race in record time, was scheduled to embark on a record-breaking attempt from New York to Britain yesterday. The supermaxi was scheduled to depart New York last night and point her bow East to Britain after a weather window promising fast conditions with strong wind, great angles and flat seas all the way to Europe opened up. The yacht’s world-class crew will be without several regulars, including Ken Read, the skipper, and Jimmy Spithill, who are both involved with this weekend’s events in Portsmouth. Read is commentating, while Spithill is the skipper of Oracle Team USA. Comanche set a new Newport Bermuda Race elapsed time record after completing the 635 nautical mile course in 34hr 42min 53sec, slashing nearly five hours off the previous record of 39:39:18 set by George David’s Rambler in 2012.

2016. July 16. Legislation approving the America's Cup Amendment Act 2016 was approved. It paved the way for providing tax relief for merchandise, logos and uniforms associated with the America’s Cup.

2016. June 1. America’s Cup teams will take centre stage for a showpiece event in Dockyard on June 25. Foil Fest 2016, will be hosted by America’s Cup Bermuda, in conjunction with West End Development Corporation, and will feature Artemis Racing, Oracle Team USA and SoftBank Team Japan. People will be able to witness the incredible speed and technology of the hydrofoiling catamarans, as well as tour the Dockyard bases of Oracle and Team Japan. Artemis Racing will have a public presence at the event. A free event village will offer other family-friendly activities, while all three teams will also have their AC45 catamarans on moorings at Dockyard for public viewing. The sailing teams will then take to the water later in the afternoon for a series of drag races to showcase the incredible speed of the race boats that are in the testing phase at present, as the teams design and build their official boats for next year’s finals. Mike Winfield, chief executive officer of ACBDA, said in a statement: “The boats will do their speed runs right next to the cruise ship docks in Dockyard so that the spectacle can be enjoyed as easily on the shore as on the water. “These boats are much more powerful, and faster, than the ones we saw in October and the teams are all very excited about showcasing them to the people of Bermuda, one year out from the America’s Cup in 2017.” On shore, there will be a series of events, including free zip line and kids zone, food, beverage and other vendors, plus taster sessions with the America’s Cup Endeavour programme will ensure something for all ages. Andrew Dias, general manager of Wedco, said: “We’re looking forward to having the public come out to Dockyard and get another taste of America’s Cup excitement. There’s been so much progress in Dockyard this year and people will enjoy getting a feel for that, too.” Mr Winfield added: “We’ve come up with a concept that will allow broad participation both on shore and on the water. It’s going to be a lot of fun for all who participate, including the America’s Cup teams. This is being specially planned and presented for the people of Bermuda, so we don’t want anyone to miss it.” Foil Fest 2016 will take place from 11am to 4pm on June 25. More details concerning parking, the schedule of events and transportation will be shared in the coming weeks.

2016. May 30. America’s Cup organizers say they are confident that Dockyard will be able to cope with the huge influx of visitors expected to descend on the West End for the event. A transportation hub will be created in Dockyard to allow easy access to and from the America’s Cup village, while a transportation plan will also be formulated by the end of this year. In recent weeks concerns have been raised about the transportation system in Dockyard and its ability to handle the arrival of two large cruise ships and their combined passenger load of more than 6,000 visitors. But Mike Winfield, chief executive of America’s Cup Bermuda, told The Royal Gazette that he was confident Dockyard would be able to handle the influx under the plans that the ACBDA and America’s Cup Event Authority will implement. “We have got to make delivery of people to and from the Dockyard area easy, attractive and efficient,” Mr Winfield said. “We will have way more transportation than normally operating in an organized and efficient manner that will meet the schedule of the race. I am confident transportation in and to Dockyard will meet the needs and expectations.” The America’s Cup transportation plan to accommodate the huge numbers expected to descend on Dockyard for the event will be finalized in November, while the Security, Health and Safety and On Water Operations plans will be finalized in December. Preparation for a new transportation hub in Dockyard will begin in the winter along with the purchase and installation of floating docks to provide extra berthing for America’s Cup boats, ferries and support craft. The America’s Cup Village is expected to be completed by next spring in time for the beginning of racing that will begin in exactly a year.

2016. May 26. The next 12 months will involve a flurry of activity in the West End with a further two teams establishing bases in Dockyard and the completion of the America’s Cup Village. Oracle Team USA and SoftBank Team Japan have already established their Dockyard bases, while Artemis Racing set up their state-of-the-art base on the tip of the Morgan’s Point peninsula overlooking the Great Sound. Construction of the Land Rover BAR headquarters is expected to begin in September. A month later work on the Groupama Team France base will begin in the same location. The America’s Cup transportation plan to accommodate the huge numbers expected to descend on Dockyard for the event will be finalized in November, while the Security, Health and Safety and On-Water Operations plans will be finalized in December. Preparation for a new transportation hub in Dockyard will begin in the winter along with the purchase and installation of floating docks to provide extra berthing for America’s Cup boats, ferries and support craft. At the start of the new year, super yacht berthing will be established at Dockyard and Hamilton, while in the spring Emirates Team New Zealand will relocate to Bermuda. The America’s Cup Village is expected to be completed by next spring in time for the beginning of racing that will begin in exactly a year.

2016. May 26. The clock may be ticking, but preparations for the America’s Cup push on “ahead of schedule”, with organizers confident Bermuda will deliver a sailing spectacle that will be remembered for generations to come. With just 365 days until the teams sail out into the Great Sound, those behind the island’s successful bid, as well as those who put their faith in the country to stage one of the biggest events in sport, say the event has already provided unparalleled opportunities for children as well as a major boost to the economy. But they insist the legacy and ultimate success of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup 2017 event will depend on buy-in from the whole community. Harvey Schiller, the commercial commissioner of the America’s Cup Event Authority, told The Royal Gazette that Bermudians had stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the rest of the world in preparing for the event. “The level of professionalism has been as good or better than any of the events I have been involved in, including Olympics and World Series,” he said. “The challenge of making it a successful America’s Cup falls on everyone in Bermuda. Everyone wants the chance to stand on the victor’s podium, every Bermudian has the opportunity to do that in a year’s time.” Dr Schiller acknowledged that the ACEA could have done a “better job” telling people about Bermuda after the island was awarded the event. But he maintained the Bermuda brand had received global exposure during World Series events. “To have a successful sporting event you need three things: firstly, security, and we could not have chosen a safer place in the world. We are in the right place on and off the water,” he said. “Secondly, the right field of play, and we have the perfect racecourse. Thirdly, much depends on how the media react and that has all been very positive.” Meanwhile, Mike Winfield, chief executive of America’s Cup Bermuda, revealed preparations were ahead of schedule and that he was confident the island would deliver “the type of venue to the levels of excellence required. We have to have the entire population of Bermuda working towards putting on this event and put aside any naysaying and negativity and work towards a single goal." Both Mr Winfield and Dr Schiller hailed the significance of the Endeavour programme and establishment of a Bermuda team for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, which they said had ensured America’s Cup opportunities had trickled down through the community. Dr Schiller said: “For any sport to be relevant in the future you have to engage the younger generation. The things that have been done in Bermuda engaging with that generation are providing a model for other countries around the world. That is an important part of the future of sailing and a legacy that everyone should have pride in.” Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, added: “The Endeavour programme is being offered to every M1 student in Bermuda. It teaches science, technology, engineering, art and maths through sailing. Already more than 800 students have participated. By adopting the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup Team BDA, Oracle Team USA is supporting the ambition of 15 remarkable young Bermuda athletes, some of whom had very little prior exposure to sailing. Now they have an extraordinary opportunity to represent their country on the world stage.”

2016. May 26. Bermuda businesses are to be briefed about money-spinning opportunities from the upcoming America’s Cup. The Bermuda Tourism Authority is to hold a special session for businesses involved in the tourism market next month. The free event will take place at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute on Thursday, June 16 from 4pm to 5.30pm.

2016. May 12. The public is invited to a meeting to discuss the future use of Cross Island in Dockyard once the America’s Cup is over. The West End Development Corporation will host the event on Monday, May 16, at the Chamber of Commerce building in Hamilton at 7pm. Andrew Dias, general manager for Wedco, said: “For Bermuda, this is a large area of land and we want to ensure that we get as much input and as many ideas as we can before we decide which option we feel is the best. “We stated at the last public meeting that all options are on the table and that is still very much the case. We also said that the intent was for any new use to be long-term, and to be financially viable, and that also remains the same.” An original plan for the area included a marine college, the relocation of Marine and Ports, West End Yachts Ltd and a yacht marina, but was reconsidered after the Bermuda Government overturned the approved use. Wedco then set up a subcommittee to explore other options for the site while launching a public consultation process. Mr Dias added: “We are trying our best to ensure as many people as possible, and not just those in the West End, have a say on the use of this incredibly important piece of land and we hope people will turn out for the meeting and add constructive comments.” The public can also contact the subcommittee by e-mail on marketing@wedco.bm to propose ideas or request further information.

2016. March 3. It’s been a tough week for Oracle Team USA. Just days after allowing a victory that was there for the taking to slip through their fingers near the end of the sixth and deciding race at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Oman, the America’s Cup defender wiped out in their AC45S test boat during a practise run in heavy air in the Great Sound yesterday. Fortunately, none of the crew was injured while the foiling catamaran’s hull, wing and appendages did not suffer any damage during the mishap, which brought the team’s first training session since returning from Oman to a grinding halt. “Great day out on the water, we had a good 15-20 knots, sun was shining,” Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, said back at the team’s Dockyard base. “A few hours in unfortunately we had a capsize. The boat sort of went over, not through a nose dive, but actually sideways. So it was a really a good test of all of our on water safety procedures, and a real best case scenario. The crew all safe, there’s no damage to the boat or the wing, actually sailed back to the dock. Obviously we’re going to have a fair bit of electronic damage in the one hull that was in the water. The real reason for coming in was the electronics. We want to go through and check the electronic systems. That’s what happens in the sport, and I hope we don’t see too many more. But the fact is that’s where we are in the sport today, and we’ll learn a lot from this.” Oracle are the second team to capsize during training in the past few months. Land Rover BAR capsized on the Solent last December in their AC45S test boat, dubbed “T2”. “This shouldn’t slow us up too much,” Spithill said. “We’ll get a report from the guys and hopefully get back out in the next few days.” Oracle are presently second in the overall World Series standings, six points adrift of leaders Emirates Team Zealand, who they beat with a stunning comeback to defend the “Auld Mug” at the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco.

2016. February 29. Land Rover BAR became the first team to win multiple Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series titles in Oman yesterday. The British challenger went into the final three races with the points doubled clinging to a four-point advantage over Oracle Team USA, the America’s Cup defender, on the leaderboard and did just enough to clinch their second win of the series. But it almost never happened as Sir Ben Ainslie and fellow crew had to make up considerable ground in all three races and then rely on others to seal the deal. “We kept fighting through today,” Ainslie said. “Some of the established teams have a track record and for us, we need to prove that we can compete at the top of this America’s Cup fleet. I think that we are doing that.” A key factor in the team’s narrow victory was the use of their genneker or “code zero” headsail at crucial junctures throughout the races. “It was a big decision all weekend when to use that sail,” Ainslie said. “Our coaching team of Rob Wilson and Luc du Bois did a really good job of helping us to understand those different modes and the right time to deploy the code zero sail.” The regatta went down to the wire in yesterday’s light wind with Oracle, Team New Zealand and Land Rover BAR all in contention heading into the sixth and final race. Land Rover BAR got off to a poor start, incurring a penalty for going over the line early along with Team New Zealand and Artemis Racing, but did well to work their way back up the fleet into third. However, their fate remained out of their own hands, with their delicate victory hopes hinging on who would cross the line first between Oracle and Groupama Team France up ahead of them, after Team New Zealand and Artemis Racing both fell out of contention through unforced errors. The Kiwis lost precious ground after being hit with a penalty for going out of bounds, while Artemis fell off the pace after their “code zero” got snared by the weather mark, which resulted in Luke Parkinson, the wing trimmer, falling overboard. Oracle appeared to be on course for their first World Series title. However, they were passed by Team France, with seasoned King Edward VII Gold Cup campaigner Adam Minoprio at the helm, at the top mark at the end of the last beat. Oracle pushed as hard as they could on the final run to the finish but the French did not budge, covering the defender the rest of the way to claim their maiden race victory of the World Series. The result left BAR two points clear of Oracle. “It’s good to be on the podium. We’re one of only two teams to have been on the podium at each event,” Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, said. “But we want to win. There’s no two ways about it.” Rounding off the podium were Team New Zealand who still top the overall World Series leaderboard by six-points over Oracle, with BAR a point adrift in third. “To come away from any event still holding the overall lead is a good thing,” Glenn Ashby, the Team New Zealand skipper, said. “At the end of the day that’s what counts.” The World Series resumes in New York on May 7 and 8.

Oman results

BAR 8, 10, 10, 18, 14, 16 — 76pts

Oracle 9, 6, 9, 12, 20, 18 — 74

New Zealand 10, 7, 5, 20, 16, 12 — 70

Team France 5, 8, 7, 10, 18, 20 — 68

Team Japan 6, 9, 6, 16, 10, 14 — 61

Artemis 7, 5, 8, 14, 12, 10 — 56

Overall standings: 1 Emirates Team New Zealand 192pts; 2 Oracle Team USA 186; 3 Land Rover BAR 185; 4 SoftBank Team Japan 161; 5 Artemis Racing 161; 6 Groupama Team France 150.

2016. February 28. Land Rover BAR won the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Oman today. The British challenger held a four-point advantage over Oracle Team USA going into the final three races, with the points doubled, and did just enough to protect their lead and clinch a second victory on the 2015-16 World Series circuit. “Incredible comeback in all three races to win the first World Series event of 2016 — well done lads!” Land Rover BAR tweeted. Oracle, the America’s Cup defender, finished two points behind in second, followed by overall World Series leaders Emirates Team New Zealand in third. Team New Zealand won today’s first race, Oracle the second and Groupama Team France the third — the team’s first of the 2015-16 World Series, which resumes in New York on May 7 and 8. Owing to technical difficulties, Bermuda Broadcasting Company was unable to air live television coverage of today’s racing for local viewers.

2016. February 27. Land Rover BAR dominated today’s opening races of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Oman, (the finals of which will be held in Bermuda in June 2017). The British challenger coped best in the light winds, reeling off two first place finishes and a third to grasp the early lead of the six-race regatta. Sir Ben Ainslie’s team were hit with a penalty after going over the start line early in the first race, but shrugged it off to finish third. Apart from an hour glass in their genneker approaching the weather mark for the last time in the second race, it was virtually smooth sailing the rest of the way for Land Rover BAR, who won the second and third races convincingly to stamp their authority on the regatta. Still, Ainslie said life had been anything but easy in the light winds. “These conditions make it very challenging for everyone on board,” he said. “You need a decent start and to go the right way, so it’s tough on the tacticians. And then the big Code Zero headsails make for hard work for everyone else. It’s a big day for the team.” Oracle Team USA, with two seconds and a fifth, and overall World Series leaders Emirates Team New Zealand, with a first, a fourth and a sixth, hold onto second and third heading into tomorrow’s races. The Kiwis won the first race, taking the lead at the first mark after nearest rivals Artemis Racing were hit with the first of two penalties. Oracle, the America’s Cup defender, led the fleet in the third race on the last beat, but surrendered their advantage to BAR after splitting gates with Ainslie’s team, who put further distance between themselves and the chasing pack on the run to the finish line. Despite the light air, which kept the AC45F racing fleet off of their foils, racing was close with huge gains or losses to be made on each maneuver. Even so Dean Barker, the SoftBank Team Japan skipper, found himself in familiar territory. His team flashed some brilliance, but couldn’t hold on through a full race for a strong finish. “I’m happy with the improvements we’re making,” he said. “We can see that we’re getting better. The last one was frustrating. It was looking so good for a while. But one mistake can be so costly. We’re just making little errors and in this fleet you get punished for it.” Racing continues tomorrow with three more races, when the points on offer will be doubled.

Leaderboard

Land Rover BAR — 8, 10, 10 — 28 points

ORACLE TEAM USA — 9, 6, 9 — 24 points

Emirates Team NZ — 10, 7, 5 — 22 points

SoftBank Team Japan — 6, 9, 6 — 21 points

Artemis Racing — 7, 5, 8- 20 points

Groupama Team France — 5, 8, 7 — 20 points

2016. February 27. Artemis Racing laid down a marker at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman yesterday. The Swedish challenger swept both fleet races and beat Oracle Team USA, the America’s Cup defender, in a match race during official practice races contested in fickle four to seven-knot breezes. Commenting on his team’s encouraging performances in the AC45F catamaran, Iain Percy, the Artemis tactician and sailing team manager, said: “A great day for us winning both practice fleet races and a match race as well.” Nathan Outteridge, the Artemis skipper, added: “Winning in Bermuda was a huge confidence boost, and it’s great to continue that form into Oman, in completely different conditions. It’s early days though, and with lots of points up for grabs this weekend, it’s important that we remain focused and start fresh tomorrow.” The light air conditions resulted in very little foiling and more traditional light wind multi-hull sailing on the AC45F catamarans, with teams taking the unusual step of flying their genneker or “code zero” sail for the entire races. SoftBank Team Japan and Groupama Team France finished second and third in the first fleet race behind Artemis, who won the previous World Series event in Bermuda last October. Rounding off the podium in the second fleet race were Oracle and Land Rover BAR, helmed by former Oracle tactician Sir Ben Ainslie. In other match races, Emirates Team New Zealand beat Groupama Team France, SoftBank Team Japan beat Land Rover BAR, Team France beat Artemis, Team New Zealand beat Team Japan and Land Rover BAR beat Team Oracle. The World Series Oman starts proper with three races today and continues tomorrow with three more races, where the points on offer will be doubled. Team New Zealand lead the overall World Series standings by ten points over Land Rover BAR. Meanwhile, Artemis Racing have been tipped as the favorites to win next week’s RC44 Bermuda Cup. Artemis will be represented by two teams in the event on the Great Sound, Artemis Racing and Artemis Racing Youth. Artemis Racing’s star-studded line-up includes Francesco Bruni, the King Edward VII Gold Cup winner and three times America’s Cup and Olympic sailor who is joined by America’s Cup team-mates Christian Kamp and Pieter Van Nieuwenhuijzen. Onboard Artemis Racing Youth is Freddy Loof, Sweden’s most successful sailor, and British Olympic gold medallist Paul Goodison. Both teams will be hoping the wealth of local knowledge their sailors have gained from training out of their team base ahead of the 35th America’s Cup will give them the competitive edge next week. The RC44 Bermuda Cup is the opening regatta of the 2016 RC44 Championship which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Team Nika, who have been bolstered by the addition of the American sailing legend Ed Baird, are the defending RC44 World and fleet racing champions, while Bronenosec Sailing Team are the defending RC44 match racing champions. The RC44 Bermuda Cup runs from March 2 to 6 and the regatta will kick off with a day of match racing followed by four days of fleet racing. Racing updates can be obtained via the live blog at www.rc44.com.

2016. February 26. The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event held in October generated an estimated $8.6 million — some $6.9 million more than projected — in economic activity according to an impact study. Minister for Economic Development Grant Gibbons said that while he was optimistic the estimated impact for the 35th America’s Cup event in 2017 would also produce higher-than- projected revenues, he said the disparity would not be as extreme due to Bermuda’s “natural carrying capacity”. The Economic Impact Analysis Report for the World Series was produced by a consultant seconded to the ACBDA by a local accounting firm and represents direct investment into the Bermuda economy. Approximately $6.1 million, or 70 per cent of the spend was generated from overseas sources. Speaking at a press conference earlier yesterday, Dr Gibbons said: “The actual returns far exceed initial projections. This is clearly a very good result that builds on the overall benefit of hosting the America’s Cup, the teams and all related events. “We have only focused on economic activity that can be directly attributed to this event and have not considered any secondary spending or indirect economic benefits that might ordinarily be accounted in a full economic assessment. In that light, this assessment can be considered conservative. It is hard at this point to estimate what the increase may or may not be. There are a lot of months between now and then but I think we are optimistic. It would be incorrect to say we expect a multiple of what we estimated simply because Bermuda has a natural carrying capacity.’ The types of services consumed included hotel rooms; restaurant meals; corporate hospitality events; transportation; other boats; and shopping at the event village and other retailers. What’s more, the international media coverage reached a global audience of 14.1 million, described by Dr Gibbons as: “A huge positive contribution to Bermuda’s international visibility in major tourism markets.” Where the total economic impact was underestimated, so too were the net costs — an additional $135,000 was spent by government. The economic impact was generated from a variety of sources including spending by travelling fans; competitor teams; America’s Cup commercial partners and sponsors; the international media; the general public; the ACEA; the ACBDA; and the Bermuda Government and other taxpayer-funded amenities. Peter Durhager, chairman of the ACBDA, provided additional detail on the breakdown of the report. Local banks reported an additional $4.7 million in spending during the World Series week compared to an average week in October. To ensure a “fair and prudent” estimate, only $1.3 million of this spend was not included in the final figure of $8.6 million. More than 10,000 people attended the event village on Front Street throughout the weekend and on the Sunday an estimated 550 boats, carrying about 5,000 spectators, watched the racing action from the Great Sound. About 1,499 visitors, including media and team members came to the island specifically for the event. Hotels enjoyed a 43 per cent increase in revenue compared to a usual October week while some $1.5 million was generated in retail sales. Mr Durhager acknowledged the volunteers whose contribution was estimated to be worth $600,000 in volunteer hours plus waived fees and charges. The figure was not factored into the final impact but represents a reduction in operating costs. Mr Durhager said: “This activity, coupled with $14.1 million of value in media exposure, illustrate the significant impact of the event and represents an excellent return on investment.”

2016. February 26. The America’s Cup village site will be handed over to the AC Event Authority five months ahead of schedule, MPs heard this morning. The infill in Dockyard’s South Basin has taken in 310,000 cubic yards of material in the last few months, Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, told the House of Assembly. Dr Gibbons said the reclamation project required a ship larger than any that navigated the South Basin before. The project is now going into its second phase with the installation of sheet pile walls. Twenty local companies were involved in the infill with the main contractor, Cashman Dredging and Marine Contracting. Sixty local workers were employed. “In addition, some 390 Bermudian workers have been gainfully employed in America’s Cup related projects in Dockyard, valued at over $4.9 million,” Dr Gibbons said. Team members for the event, now less than 500 days away, number roughly 160 on the island at present, with more than 170 family members. Since April 2015, Oracle, Artemis and Softbank Team Japan cumulatively spent more than $10.2 million on their team base operations.

2016. February 22. Fears have been raised about the ability of buses and ferries to service people during the America’s Cup, according to the minutes from a series of stakeholder meetings. They detail concerns and suggestions from a number of public and private bodies about the draft master plan of next year’s event. The minutes of a meeting on December 14, 2015, state that the Department of Public Transport was being challenged by a lack of buses and operators. “Despite the current hiring freeze, the DPT has requested permission to recruit new operators,” the minutes stated. “They have been advised to identify requirements specific to AC35 as that will be treated as new money and not subject to current budget limits. To do this they need specifics on demand projections and service-level requirements to meet the demands of the event. In general, the budget for public transportation is extremely challenged and will not allow for the typical summer services of providing sightseeing buses and extra buses to supplement the scheduled service. There is inadequate funding to provide these staples in 2016. The vehicular traffic plan for Dockyard seeks to maintain normal access but eliminate any additional vehicular traffic. The primary lift for passengers to Dockyard will be by ferry and then by bus. This model is contingent on additional resources being made available.” Meanwhile, the Department of Marine and Ports reported that it was working to bring the Millennium back to Bermuda in 2017, stating that there was “insufficient capacity” for the America’s Cup. “Securing additional ferries is challenging during the summer — their high-use period is also the high-use period in North America and the Caribbean. Conflicts between ferry use and the racecourse will exist and compromise service under some wind conditions — further information is required so routing and schedules can be planned. The current plan calls for the same ferry service to Dockyard and the event village. It is estimated the proposed ferry landing will add 15 minutes to Dockyard. Races may delay lift into and out of Dockyard for cruise ship passengers.” However, the department did say that it would be feasible to use existing harbour ferries to shuttle visitors between the event village and Boaz Island. The Department of Conservation Services reiterated concerns about the safety of sea grass and soft coral in the area, stating they would not support development south of the breakwater. Their concerns were echoed by the Bermuda National Trust, which questioned access to the area by local boaters and tour boats and suggested historic buildings could be renovated to create extra beds in Dockyard and leave a lasting benefit.

2016. February 20. Artemis Racing’s 35th America’s Cup campaign reached another milestone with the launch of the Swedish challenger’s second AC45S test boat in the Great Sound this week. The launch of Artemis’s second wing-sail foiling catamaran, which is a test platform for the eventual design of the America’s Cup class the team will compete in at next year’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers, also marked the beginning of their two-boat testing programme. “It was good to have our first two-boat session here in Bermuda, especially given that it was also the first day that we’ve sailed from our new base at Morgan’s Point,” Nathan Outteridge, the Artemis skipper, said. “We did a few systems checks to start before the other boat came out and with the early forecast looking very light, it was great to be able to get out there.” Anders Gustafsson, the Artemis grinder, added: “It was a great day for the whole team, to finally see them line up. I was on-board T2 [second AC45S], and it was an amazing feeling to look over your shoulder and see the other boat just flying next to you. We came really close and the boats matched up really well together.” Artemis Racing became the first Challenger to launch an AC45S in Bermuda’s waters last year and are now the first Challenger to train with two prototypes, allowing both for comparison in design, and valuable match racing training. “To have two boats lined up this far out from the America’s Cup is a big thing for us,” Outteridge, the Olympic gold medal-winner, said. “It was nice not to have to use another team to check how we were going, we can now start to do that in house. You can really see the competition within our sailing team developing, which will make everyone start pushing a little bit harder.” Artemis are expected to christen their new team base at Morgan’s Point next month. “Our base on the end of Morgan’s Point gives us a good vantage point to see the sailing,” Outteridge said. “It’s not just good for the sailors, it’s good for all of the guys in the shed as well. When they are working they can see the boats sailing past. This is a huge boost for the team and now we just have to keep doing it. We have to keep the boats on the water and keep progressing forward.” The Swedish team, which represents the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, the fifth oldest yacht club in the world, was founded in 2006 by Torbjörn Törnqvist and named after the Greek goddess Artemis. The team boasts a multinational crew comprising some of the most successful and respected sailors and designers in the world. Artemis has won numerous competitions worldwide, including the MedCup and TP52 World Championships, RC44 World Championship and last October’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda in the Great Sound. Artemis, who are led by Olympic gold medallist Iain Percy, the team manager and tactician, were the Challenger of Record for the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco in 2013.

Artemis Racing

2016. February16. Jono Macbeth, the Land Rover BAR sailing team manager, is pleased with the progress that the British challenger has made since its launch nearly two years ago. However, the three-times America’s Cup winner acknowledges there is still plenty of work to be done as Land Rover BAR step up their bid to achieve what no other British team has so far — win the prestigious “auld Mug”. “We’re very happy with progress both for the sailing team, and on the design and construction side,” said Macbeth, who won the America’s Cup with BMW Oracle Racing and successfully defended it with both Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA. “There are many areas to work on and we are pushing ahead on all fronts.” Land Rover BAR was launched in June 2014 and has made considerable strides since. “We’re learning a lot and growing as a team,” Macbeth said. “Since we launched the team has achieved an enormous amount; launched our second testing boat, moved into our new team base in Portsmouth, won the first Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event in our home town and signed major commercial partners including Land Rover, BT and CMC Markets. This year will be an even busier year for the team as they build-up to the America’s Cup to be held in Bermuda next summer. “It’s probably the most important year of this Cup cycle as we will be launching our race boat, ‘R1’, in Bermuda at the end of 2016,” Macbeth said. Land Rover BAR are fresh off another training exercise in the Great Sound, the venue for the 35th America’s Cup. “The sailing team has recently been in Bermuda; we want to keep familiarizing ourselves with the racecourse, the island and its wonderful people,” Macbeth said. After returning to their base in Portsmouth the team resumed training in their second test boat, which capsized off the Isle of Wight in 15 to 19 knots of wind, during a similar exercise in December last year. Damage to the team’s second AC45S test boat, referred to as T2, was sustained to a section of the wing while none of the crew were injured. Land Rover BAR are third on the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series leaderboard and will look to make further inroads on the teams above when the two-year racing circuit resumes in Oman this month. Featuring all of the America’s Cup teams, the series is an opportunity to earn points that will count towards the America’s Cup qualifiers and play-offs, which will determine who competes against defender Oracle Team USA. “It’s important, but we also have to bear in mind that the goal is to win the America’s Cup, and there are some fundamental differences between sailing in the AC45 and the ACC [America’s Cup Class],” Macbeth said. “But, we are very much looking forward to getting back out on the racecourse later this month.” This month’s World Series in Oman will be held on February 27 and 28. Emirates Team New Zealand are the World Series leaders. Emirates Team New Zealand sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are the 49er World Champions for the fourth consecutive year. The Kiwis successfully defended their title in convincing fashion in Clearwater, Florida, at the weekend and remain unbeaten in 24 consecutive regattas in the 49er class. Niko Delle Karth and Niko Resch, of Austria, won the silver medal while Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign, of Britain, clinched the bronze after winning the medal race. Oracle Team USA christened their third AC45S test boat at the team’s Dockyard base yesterday. Christened as “Oracle 17”, the America’s Cup defender’s latest wing-sail foiling catamaran was hoisted into the water for the first time since its arrival from New Zealand in November last year. Oracle plan to sail the boat for the first time in the next suitable weather window. “There is a big step up with this boat in terms of the systems we are developing and now testing in real world use,” Scott Ferguson, the Oracle design coordinator, said. The new 50-foot America’s Cup class boats that the teams must design, build and race for 2017 must be entirely manually powered. Oracle’s first two AC45S boats had partially powered systems to test various components. However, since returning from the Christmas break the crew has been sailing boat two in manual mode while Oracle’s first boat has gone to SoftBank Team Japan. The systems on Oracle’s third boat represent another step-up in efficiency and effectiveness, according to Grant Simmer, the team’s general manager. “We think we will see a significant jump in performance with this boat,” he said. “The systems we are testing now will translate directly into the design of the America’s Cup boat we race in 2017.” Oracle’s designers are keeping an eye on the calendar with design deadlines for various components fast approaching. The design lock-in dates for the first America’s Cup class boat are staggered to a certain extent,” Simmer said. “But we are coming up to the time when we need to make some hard decisions.”

2016. February 2. Sir Russell Coutts, the America’s Cup Event Authority chief executive, has given the developers of the America’s Cup Village in Dockyard a huge vote of confidence. Work on the nine-acre infill in the South Basin site is way ahead of schedule, with the final load of seven shiploads of granite having been deposited, and the next phase of installing sheet piles along the perimeter to commence this month. “That’s a first in my experience for the America’s Cup,” Coutts said. “I’ve never heard of the America’s Cup Village being ahead of schedule, so big tick for Bermuda there. It’s a first because there’s always difficulties and no doubt the people here have had some difficulties along the way. But, I must say, there’s an incredible attitude of being able to overcome those problems in a sensible way, and that’s what I’m sensing and witnessing here in Bermuda, and it’s great. It’s a can-do attitude here and we are seeing it with the development of the America’s Cup Village. The fact the America’s Cup is here and all of the positives around it, it’s great to be able to help bring that to Bermuda. By the same token, I think the America’s Cup is really fortunate to have Bermuda as well. The Bermudian community is very, very enthusiastic, very supportive and it’s great to work in an environment like that.” The nine-acre infill will be created with 310,000 cubic yards of aggregate once the land reclamation phase of the project is completed later this year. Once completed, the purpose-built event village will offer what officials say will be “an unparalleled viewing experience” along with infrastructure to support and service the sailing teams and spectators. “I think there’s tremendous progress already and by the middle of this year much of the America’s Cup village will be finished and the most exciting [thing] is yet to come,” Coutts said. Bermuda will host the America’s Cup qualifiers, challenger play-offs and America’s Cup final between May and June 2017. Meanwhile, the preparations of the teams will intensify this year as the 35th America’s Cup draws nearer. “Just as you are seeing the facilities ramping up here, Bermudians are going to see a lot more of the teams arriving here and practising in earnest, even these early months in 2016,” Coutts said. "Softbank Team Japan is already sailing there boat, Oracle Team USA is about to launch their second boat soon, Artemis Racing is about to start sailing their two boats soon, so pretty quickly the Great Sound is going to be crowded with America’s Cup boats. That, in itself, is going to be a big change for the locals once that starts to become a regular activity and even the amount of new people arriving on the island.”

2016. January 28. SoftBank Team Japan cranked up their preparations for the 35th America’s Cup after the challenger launched its AC45S test platform last week. The launch of the wing-sail foiling catamaran the team took delivery of from Oracle Team USA, the defender, last month marks another milestone in the design race for the team. Team Japan’s sailors took full advantage of the ideal conditions on offer in the Great Sound last Friday to start getting to grips with the handling characteristics of the AC45S. The AC45 Sport boat is a customised next-generation version of the one-design AC45F the team races in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. It features hydraulics and control systems that allow the sailors greater command of the wing sail and foils that help the yacht reach speeds of over 40mph. The data analysis collected from the test boat will directly impact the design of the team’s future AC50 race yacht — a new class of boat the team will build later this year. “We’re very fortunate to have access to the amazing technology in the Oracle design package,” Dean Barker, the Team Japan CEO and skipper, said. “The level and skill of the team there is undisputable. For us it’s a great starting point and anything that we can take, learn, and develop from them gives us a great opportunity to be successful. As with all cup teams at this juncture, daggerboard-foil design will be a top priority in the development phase as Team Japan narrows down which shapes will go into production for their future AC50. The way the protocol works is you’re only ever allowed to fit four boards [two sets] into the AC50,” Nick Holroyd, the Team Japan technical director, said. “Depending on how you want to design those — for wind range, sea state, stability, etc — then the first set you launch the boat with will be one of your racing sets. You’re focusing on both the refinement and revolution game at this point so the pressure is on.”

2016. January 27. “Significant opportunities” lie in store for a nine-acre island created at Dockyard for the America’s Cup village after its six weeks of use are concluded. The first of two public meetings soliciting feedback for its environmental impact assessment, held last night in the Anglican Cathedral, heard a strong argument in favour of putting a sailing academy on the site. Multiple options are possible for the village after the 35th America’s Cup concludes in June 2017, according to Christine Rickards, the senior land use planner for Bermuda Environmental Consulting, Ltd (BEC). BEC is the agency carrying out the consultation for the assessment. Mike Winfield, chief executive officer of the ACBDA, said that the West End Development Corporation had initially intended to convert the village site to a boatyard — an option that had later been taken off by the courts. The meeting, attended by about 30 members of the public, heard that while the village would be the best spot to watch the races, there would be good viewing through Dockyard and from vantages such as Spanish Point. “This America’s Cup is focused on a different set of parameters,” Mr Winfield said. “One of the reasons Bermuda won the bid is because we bring a new experience.” Rather than shuttling spectators from location to location as usually occurs at the event, crowds next year will have a good overview of all the different races from the main vantage. Planners hope to make heavy use of water transport, as well as shuttles from peripheral parking sites. While private boats will not be able to congregate at the village, locations such as Mangrove Bay may be used. The meetings are aimed at laying out the draft master plan for the America’s Cup before it is submitted to the Department of Planning, but also to solicit feedback and comment. A second meeting will be held at 6pm today in Dockyard, at Oracle Team USA’s base off Freeport Drive.

2016. January 26. Bermuda’s warmer climate will be a far cry from the frigid conditions in the Solent this time of year for Land Rover BAR, who are scheduled to arrive on the Island this week for a training exercise. A 40-foot container housing four of the British Challenger’s foiling NACRA 20 catamarans was delivered to the Spanish Point Boat Club last week. Land Rover BAR’s shore team are expected to arrive on Thursday, with the sailors set to arrive the following day. The team is led by Sir Ben Ainslie, a two-times King Edward VII Gold Cup winner and the most decorated Olympic sailor, who serves as team principal and skipper. The team traveled to Bermuda four times last year; three times to train in the Great Sound and again in October for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. Competing in front of their own fans, Land Rover BAR won last August’s World Series opener in Portsmouth, which was shortened by a day because of strong gales. The team are third in the overall World Series standings. Meanwhile, a familiar sight returned to the Great Sound last week as Oracle Team USA resumed training in their wing-sail foiling AC45S catamaran. The defender of the America’s Cup took full advantage of the 15-16 knots on offer last Friday zipping around in the team’s second prototype boat, which arrived in Bermuda from New Zealand last August. “We ran the boat through a lot of maneuvers, a bit like a sea trial, as we’ve done some work to the boat over the break,” Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, said. “Full credit to the shore crew and boat builders. No major problems and we had a great sail.” The multihull racing yacht is a test platform and can be configured in various ways as the team tests design concepts for the new America’s Cup class boat it will build and use to defend its title in the Great Sound in 2017. All systems on the new 50-foot foiling catamarans are manual as outside power is prohibited, which places a heavy burden on the grinders on board, who are tasked with providing sufficient energy to charge the hydraulic system through every maneuver around the racetrack. To help the team’s sailors make this transition, some of the systems on Oracle’s second test boat are manual. “The goal now is to work more on manual mode,” Spithill said. “We want to go more into maneuvers and understand how to power these boats manually. “Initially we were set up with a power pack for testing and we used that set-up to answer some technical questions. We’re going to have a bit of balance between power and manual and from what we saw the boat is incredibly physical. It’s going to be a real workout.” Oracle were not the only cup team training in the Great Sound last Friday as SoftBank Team Japan also took advantage of the ideal conditions to launch their first AC45S, which they took delivery of from Oracle last month.

2016. January 19. SoftBank Team Japan are poised to tick another box in their preparations for the 35th America’s Cup. The team plan to launch their first AC45 test boat they acquired from Oracle Team USA in the Great Sound this week. “We have an optimistic goal of trying to go sailing on January 21,” Dean Barker, the Team Japan skipper, said. “There is a lot of work that needs to happen between now and then to hit that date, but that is the goal.” Team Japan’s test boat has been stripped down and reconfigured and, once launched, the team’s designers and boat builders will work on testing foil shapes and control systems to be used in design elements for the 50-foot wing-sail, foiling catamaran Team Japan will race in next year’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers. “We took delivery of the boat before Christmas and we’ve stripped the boat right back, and the guys are doing a full overhaul on all of the equipment to make sure it will get us through the year,” said Barker, who won the 30th America’s Cup with Emirates Team New Zealand in Auckland. As well as testing their AC45, Team Japan will look to improve their ranking in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series where they are fifth, 18 points ahead of bottom team Groupama Team France. Barker and his colleagues have found the going tough in the series, which is probably to be expected given the team’s late entry to the America’s Cup, and being limited to sailing only in the fleet racing series against teams much farther down the track in terms of their test platforms. “Last year was a bit difficult as the only sailing we could do was at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series events and even then our time on the water was quite restricted,” Barker said. “But we had a great session after the Bermuda event and it felt like we made some good progress. We know that we’re capable of getting on the podium, so that’s our goal.” The World Series circuit will resume in Oman on February 27 and 28. The event is the first stage of competition for the America’s Cup to be held in Bermuda in 2017. Featuring all of the America’s Cup teams, the series is an opportunity to earn points that will count towards the America’s Cup qualifiers and play-offs, which will determine who competes against defender Oracle Team USA. Emirates Team New Zealand are the World Series leaders.

2016. January 5. Team Oracle USA threw open the doors of its Bermuda headquarters — giving the media a glimpse of their America’s Cup preparations. The state-of-the-art facility in Dockyard offers everything from a fully-kitted gym to loft space offices to vast warehouses for boats and sails. All this to ensure the team’s sailors and engineers follow up their 2010 and 2013 wins in Valencia and San Francisco respectively with first place next year, as the world’s most prestigious yacht race comes to Bermuda.

America's Cup Oracle HQ

Team Oracle USA Bermuda HQ

2015. December 12. David Campbell-James breathed a huge sigh of relief yesterday after learning that his son had escaped injury when the Land Rover BAR catamaran he was sailing capsized during a training exercise. The British challenger’s second high-tech AC45, referred to as T2, ran into difficulty off of the Isle of Wight in 15 to 19 knots of wind when an issue with the wing inversion initiated a capsize to windward. Damage to the boat was sustained to a section of the wing while none of the crew were injured. Among the crew was Paul Campbell-James, who serves as a tactician. “It’s very worrying having a son who is sailing and so the first thought was, is the crew okay,” Campbell-James said. “Fortunately, our daughter-in-law at home immediately sent an e-mail saying the boat had capsized but everyone is okay. It will be interesting to hear what my son says about that.” Campbell-James was the principal race officer for the Amlin International Moth Regatta that concluded in the Great Sound yesterday. Land Rover BAR launched what they claim is the most technologically advanced yacht to hit the water several days before the team traveled to Bermuda in October for the final leg of the 2015 Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. The multihull racing yacht boasts technological advancements from the aerospace industry, and has been described as a “fighter jet on water”. The 45ft catamaran, sailed by a crew of six, is capable of reaching speeds in excess of 50mph and will fly on hydrofoils the size of a wakeboard, while lifting the weight of a fully loaded London taxi. To further reduce weight and increase efficiency, practical technology from Formula One and other motor sports has been integrated into the boat’s hydraulic systems. “Everyone on the design, engineering and shore teams, have put everything they have got into this boat,” Sir Ben Ainslie, the Land Rover BAR skipper and team principal, said just days before the mishap. “All of the sailing team are grateful and privileged to get the opportunity to test fly this unique craft.” Land Rover BAR plan to resume training in their second test boat in the new year.

LandRover team capsizing

See above story

2015. December 1. Franck Cammas, the Groupama Team France skipper, has undergone successful surgery after nearly losing a foot in a training accident. The French team said today that Cammas will be sidelined for several weeks before he starts his long road to rehabilitation next month. Cammas was hurt yesterday when he fell off a GC32 catamaran during training in the waters just off Brittany, north-west France, and was hit by the rudder at full speed, leaving his right foot partially severed. “Thanks to all of you. These messages touch my heart and give me even more courage to come back as soon as possible,” Cammas said on the team’s website. Following the operation, doctors told Cammas that he would not lose the use of his right foot, and that the arteries and nerves had not been impacted. His team is hopeful he can resume competing at some point next year, although only after “a long period of rehabilitation” — appearing to rule him out of next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “Words aren’t easy to find in times of crisis,” Bruno Dubois, the Groupama Team France manager, said. “We’ll keep focusing on our common goals. Of course I hope to see Franck back at the helm as soon as possible.” The loss of Cammas for an extended period of time would a big blow to the America’s Cup challenger, who have Adam Minoprio, from New Zealand, as their back-up helmsman. Team France finished a distant last in this year’s three Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Regattas. The GC32s are the new boat for the Extreme Sailing Series. The boats are smaller than the 45-foot catamarans used in the America’s Cup World Series. When foiling catamarans reach a certain speed, they rise up on the rudders and daggerboards, with the hulls completely out of the water to increase speed. “In a wind of around 20 knots, and while he was at the helm, Cammas went overboard and struck the rudder with his right leg while the hydrofoil catamaran was launched at full speed,” Groupama Team France said in a statement yesterday. With an open fracture at the bottom of his right tibia, Cammas was immediately rescued by the safety boat, which accompanied the two boats during training, and airlifted to hospital in Nantes by helicopter. “Our thoughts are with Franck, his family, and the rest of Groupama Team France,” fellow America’s Cup challenger Artemis Racing said in a statement. Oracle Team USA echoed those sentiments in a Twitter posting, saying they were “wishing the best to our friend Franck Cammas”. The 42-year-old, who participated in the World Series in Bermuda in October, recently made headlines for all the right reasons after becoming the first sailor to foil around Cape Horn in a Nacra F20 catamaran, accompanied by the novice Johannes Wiebel. Cammas is no stranger to adventure, as his sailing résumé is littered with offshore achievements, including a Jules Verne title for the fastest circumnavigation, winning the prestigious Volvo Ocean Race and setting a plethora of offshore speed records. The distinguished sailor revealed in an interview with The Royal Gazette this year how much it would mean to him to win the trophy that has so far eluded him — the America’s Cup. “It’s like Mount Everest, when you are climbing a mountain you always want to go higher and higher and the America’s Cup is the top,” Cammas said. “It’s very hard to get to the top but I still have time to do that. The America’s Cup is the pinnacle of the sailing world. It’s competing against the best teams in the world and I am happy to be in the game.” Groupama Team France announced their challenge for the “Auld Mug” with Yacht Club de France in Paris late last year. “France is a big country in terms of sailing,” Cammas said. “We have very good sailors and engineers and we have to find a good way to work together with a good casting. That’s what we are doing now and the goal is to be good and fast in two years in Bermuda.”

2015. November 27. SoftBank Team Japan will mark the next stage of their development programme whey they take delivery of their first wing-sail foiling AC45S catamaran next month. The Japanese challenger will take ownership of Oracle Team USA’s first AC45S test boat, that the America’s Cup defender had been using as a training platform this summer. “Being able to sail our own AC45S test boat really marks a significant step up in our development,” Chris Draper, the Team Japan sailing team manager and tactician, said. “As a sailing team, up until now, we’ve been restricted to racing at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series events. Our plan is to take delivery of the new boat early in December. We’ll get it ready, make some adjustments, get our full sailing crew relocated here to Bermuda after the holiday break and start sailing in January. Getting a jump start in our development is fundamental to being competitive on the water in 2017.” The AC45S that Team Japan will use is a similar model to the boat Draper raced at the previous America’s Cup as helmsman of Luna Rossa Challenge built to a Kiwi design. Along with Dean Barker, the Team Japan CEO and skipper, and Kazuhiko Sofuku, the Team Japan general manager, Draper is in Japan overseeing crew tryouts with the aim of recruiting two Japanese crew members. The three-day selection process, which will be held near Tokyo from today until Sunday, will combine intense fitness testing and sailing exercises along with personal interviews. Hundreds of Japanese athletes took part in the three-month application process, with professional ice hockey and basketball players joining top sailors and rowers in trying to make the team. The group of 22 athletes will be narrowed down to just two, who will be invited to join the team. All new team members will be expected to move to Team Japan’s base in Bermuda to live and train for the next two years. “By early January, our Bermuda base will be operational and we will be out training with our sailing team on the Great Sound,” said Barker, who won the Louis Vuitton Cup as skipper of Emirates Team New Zealand at the previous America’s Cup.

2015. November 27. D-6 Flying Phantom Series finale starts in the Great Sound on Tuesday, December 1, 2015. Artemis won the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda at the same venue last month, and will be looking for a second straight regatta victory. “It’s great for us to go back to Bermuda,” Outteridge, the Olympic gold-medal winner, said. “The last time I was there was for the World Series regatta and we all have very fond memories of Bermuda and enjoyed the racing there, so we are hoping to sail just as well as we did then.” Artemis, the sole America’s Cup team registered, have entered two teams in the four-day regatta with Outteridge teaming up with Iain Jensen, and Luke Parkinson and Ayden Menzies sailing the team’s other Phantom. “It will be good to have two boats and hopefully we can get a couple of days of training before the event,” Outteridge said. Outteridge and Jensen will enter the regatta fresh off a silver-medal win at this month’s 49er World Championships in Buenos Aires, which was won by Emirates Team New Zealand pair and ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Peter Burling and Blair Tuke. Outteridge and his colleagues will be familiar with the local conditions having trained extensively in the Great Sound this summer in the team’s AC45S test boat and foiling Phantom, as well as racing in the World Series in the one-design AC45F. “It will be great practice for us on the racecourse under racing circumstances as opposed to just training,” Outteridge said. “Hopefully the weather is nice to us and we don’t have any storms and we get some good racing in.” Much has changed since Outteridge’s previous visit to Bermuda with the team’s base at Morgan’s Point taking shape. “It’s great to see progress is being made for our team with Morgan’s Point,” the Australian said. “It would be good to check that out and start familiarizing ourselves with that venue.” The Flying Phantom regatta will feature more than 13 teams from Europe and the United States. “It sounds like they are bringing in a pretty strong international team of boats so I think it will be a good event,” Outteridge said.

2015. November 20. Oracle Team USA’s involvement in this month’s Flying Phantom Series finale now hangs in the balance. Oracle were among two America’s Cup teams due to appear in the regatta to be held in the Great Sound from November 29 to December 2. However, it is now doubtful that Oracle, the defender of the America’s Cup, will go ahead with their plans to compete, meaning Artemis Racing, the Swedish challenger, could potentially be the sole America’s Cup team among the field. “Team participation in the Phantom regatta is unlikely now,” Peter Rusch, the team spokesman, said. “Their training schedule makes it difficult to do both Phantoms and Moth, and they are going to participate in the Moth event.” A vision shared by Tom Slingsby and Philippe Presti, from Oracle, for Bermuda to host a regatta showcasing the high-performance catamaran, became reality when it was announced that the Flying Phantom Series finale would be held here. The fleet racing spectacle will feature more than 15 of the one design catamarans, with boats from Europe, the United States and Canada. The foiling multihulls will race against each other on a course specially prepared by David Campbell-James, the regatta director, and father of Land Rover BAR tactician Paul Campbell-James, who also officiated in last month’s Argo Group Gold Cup. The Bermuda event is based on an original idea from Slingsby, Oracle Team USA’s team manager, and Presti, Oracle Team USA’s coach, who both have first-hand experience sailing Oracle’s training fleet of Flying Phantoms, which are based at the team’s headquarters in Dockyard. As well as being heavily involved in the team’s two-boat test programme in the AC45 test boats, Slingsby and Oracle team-mates Jimmy Spithill and Kyle Langford are preparing for next month’s Moth regatta which has attracted a fleet of 60 sailors from 11 countries. Last weekend Oracle staged a mini Moth regatta with Langford, Rome Kirby and Presti occupying the top three spots. The Moth has gained popularity with America’s Cup sailors because it hydrofoils, similar to the catamarans used in America’s Cup racing. More than 20 America’s Cup sailors have registered for next month’s Moth regatta, among them Nathan Outteridge, a two-time Moth world champion, and his Artemis Racing team-mate, Iain Jensen. The regatta runs from December 5 to 11, with two races per day.

2015. November 18. The multimillion dollar impact of America’s Cup World series on the English city of Portsmouth bodes well for Bermuda, a government minister said yesterday. And Grant Gibbons, the Economic Development Minister, said that the figures for the Bermuda races, held last month, were being worked on and should underscore the value of the event to the Island. A report commissioned by British cup contender Land Rover BAR from financial services firm KPMG in the UK found that the event had generated $71.5 million in economic impact for the entire country, with $89.7 million in advertising value equivalents from the worldwide TV exposure, as well as 730 jobs on a full-time equivalent basis. In addition, the presence of Land Rover BAR’s base in Portsmouth brought $38 million to the local economy, with another $9 million coming from the event itself. Dr Gibbons, who masterminded the bid to bring the America’s Cup to Bermuda, said: “The study clearly shows that the America’s Cup-related activities can make a real economic contribution to a city or a jurisdiction.” He added that the event in Portsmouth, which attracted 250,000 spectators, could not be directly compared to Bermuda, where the numbers are smaller. But he predicted that the event would still make a “significant” impact on the economy. Dr Gibbons said: “These are certainly very encouraging figures from Land Rover BAR. What was interesting was the ratio of the impact of the team having its base there — when you look at that on a proportional basis, it’s an 80/20 ratio. It really validates our Bermuda bid and why the America’s Cup was so attractive. A lot of the economic benefit is really based on having a lot of the teams based here over a two- to three-year period. It’s the teams living here, shopping in stores, eating in restaurants and using mobile phones. These kinds of this are really where we have been seeing, and expect to see in the future, the real value of the America’s Cup to Bermuda.” And Dr Gibbons added that the media value of TV coverage had also been a major factor in Bermuda’s bid to host the Cup. He said: “That’s obviously very much a part of the Bermuda equation as well.” He added that CNN — which has around 300 million viewers worldwide — had run three separate pieces on the Bermuda leg of the World Series races. Dr Gibbons said: “That’s part of what Portsmouth was seeing — attracting business and interest to the city and that will work with Bermuda too. We are pulling together the data from the most recent World Series races and hopefully in the next month or so we will be able to share that information. The Bermuda figures, however, would only include the race event itself, not the wider impact of teams living in and spending in Bermuda. It’s not just visitors and hotels being full — we’re looking at the impact on the business community in terms of additional customers, both local and visitors and the additional spending that was done by the organizers of the America’s Cup and the teams that were here. Front Street was absolutely hopping and it was a tremendous turnout — we’re all absolutely delighted with the enthusiasm shown by Bermudians and locals and those that came from overseas.

2015. November 3. New environmental regulations for superyachts could spell “doomsday” for the industry, according to reports from the British press. However, Mark Soares, a leading figure from Bermuda’s yachting sector, has said he is yet to witness any panic resulting from the ruling — as the Island continues to expand its superyacht capacity for the 2017 America’s Cup. From next January, vessels exceeding 79ft and 500 tonnes will have to be fitted with cumbersome new equipment aimed at drastically reducing their sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions before they can enter North American and Caribbean waters. The move, approved by the United Nations’ International Maritime Organisation, led The Observer and The Daily Mail newspapers to report on a potential backlash from ultra-wealthy superyacht owners. At present, there are 4,000 yachts in the world measuring more than 100ft. Owners include Roman Abramovich and Steven Spielberg, both of whom have docked in Bermuda during the past 12 months. The green initiative will bring maritime regulations closer to road transport in terms of pollution accountability. However, according to the British publications, it may also lead to disgruntled superyacht owners weighing up whether to replace existing cabins on their vessels with the hefty machinery. Mr Soares, director of Bermuda Yacht Services, said there was a possibility the move could impact the industry, although early signs had not proven too ominous. “The industry has been expecting this decision for quite a while,” he said. “I’m sure there will be some recourse, but I haven’t seen people getting overly concerned.” In the early 1990s, President George Bush imposed a 10 per cent luxury tax on yachts priced more than $100,000, only to find that the industry tanked — causing widespread layoffs and, eventually, a U-turn. Asked whether some superyacht owners might sell their prized possessions rather than comply with the UN’s regulations, Mr Soares said: “Maybe some will: it’ll be interesting to see. I haven’t noticed an outcry in the community at this point, but maybe there will be.” Meanwhile, Mr Soares is forging ahead with plans to erect a new marina in St George’s in preparation for the America’s Cup. “Negotiations are progressing nicely,” he said. The BYS chief added that he hoped Bermuda could compete numerically with the 90 superyachts which graced Auckland’s waterfront during the 2003 America’s Cup.

2015. October 31. Fresh off their victory at Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda, the Artemis Racing sailing team have returned to San Francisco, but work is under way in earnest at their new home at Morgan’s Point. Bermudians are playing a significant role in supporting the team’s efforts to be fully operational by the beginning of next year. “The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda regatta was incredible and I’d like to thank everyone who supported us and congratulate everyone who helped to make the event such a success,” Iain Percy, the team manager, said. “I’m now back in San Francisco helping with our final preparations ahead of the move, but I was lucky to visit Morgan’s Point last week and see all the progress that has been made.” Artemis Racing’s early move to the Island will create a host of opportunities for Bermudians. “To get the opportunity to help the team during their training camp in Bermuda this summer, and then get a job working at the base in San Francisco, has been a dream come true,” said Tristan Desilva, from Sandys, who began working for the team this year. My background is in Tall Ships and classic yachts, so working on the modern AC45s has been quite a challenge. I’m so fortunate to be working alongside Olympic sailors and champion boat builders; they’re great role models and I’m learning so much. The work is really hard, but every time I see the boat come in, I just think, ‘Wow, that’s why I’m here. It’s so cool to see these guys in action.” Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, said: “I am delighted that the establishment of Artemis Racing’s new base in Bermuda is well under way and I would like to commend them for their significant efforts to include Bermudians and Bermuda businesses in both the construction phase and ongoing operations.” Craig Christensen, the president and chief executive officer of Morgan’s Point, added: “We are thrilled to have the Artemis Racing base located here at Morgan’s Point. This move from San Francisco is a huge undertaking and demonstrates Artemis Racing’s commitment to Bermuda and providing opportunities for my fellow Bermudians.” There will be more than 50 locals from 18 Bermudian businesses working on the erection and fit-out of the new base.

2015. October 22. Iain Percy, the Artemis Racing team manager and tactician, said that winning the first America’s Cup race in Bermuda has reinvigorated the team’s bid to win the “Auld Mug” in 2017. The Swedish challenger won last weekend’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda in the Great Sound by a two-point margin over overall series leaders Emirates Team New Zealand. “We’re a big team and for every one of the sailors to go out and perform is a real boost going into the winter,” Percy, the Olympic gold medallist, said. “Everyone will be working that little bit harder, and we’re going to have that little spring in our step through the whole winter. It’s going to project us towards winning in 2017.” Artemis’ victory was much needed after disappointing showings at the first two World Series legs in Portsmouth and Gothenburg, which were plagued by damaged rigging, a capsize and a charred daggerboard foil after running aground. “I know perfectly well that we have a talented enough team to win these events, but things haven’t gone our way,” Percy added. “We’ve hit the odd rock and capsized, and suddenly everyone was questioning us. I’m very proud of the team." Artemis’ victory did not come without drama as the Swedish challenger’s foiling AC45F catamaran was involved in a collision with an umpire boat with Bermudian official Peter Shrubb on board. Just moments before the starting gun fired for the second race, Artemis ducked behind rivals SoftBank Team Japan and when they turned up towards the line were confronted with an umpire boat heading directly towards them. “My first thought was for the safety of the umpires on the boat,” Percy said. “We were all pretty shaken up.” The collision left Artemis’ boat badly damaged. But the team were able to soldier on after stripping off the broken bowsprit and genneker in quick time and against considerable odds went on to claim victory in the second race. “There really was no time for pep talks, and we were frantically ripping carbon and rope off the boat trying to clear it,” Percy said. “Before we had a moment to breath, it was 1.30 to the start.” Artemis still had some work to do in the third and final race with the regatta still wide open. But on this occasion Percy and his team-mates would not be denied their moment in the spotlight, passing Oracle Team USA on the final leg to secure the points needed to win the regatta.

2015. October 21. When the world’s media turned their attention towards the Island for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda, it offered a rare glimpse of how our tiny archipelago is perceived by the outside world. An event of such magnitude being hosted on such a little Island was not lost to the international media and those quoted in it — the fact has been met with both humour and annoyance. There was definitely a strong focus on the spectacular racing and breath-stopping collision between Swedish catamaran Artemis and an umpire’s boat, but the locals’ love of fish sandwiches and strange fashion choice of Bermuda shorts with long socks did not go unnoticed.

New York Times, October 15

Artemis Racing’s Iain Percy gave an interview to the ‘New York Times’ about his late friend and sailing mate Andrew Simpson, who died in San Fransisco Bay. He shared his impressions of Bermuda. “I find it so completely halfway between the US and the UK that it’s hilarious,” he said. “There are some real quirky British things, like where we are sitting right now in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. And I’m sure they even wore Bermuda shorts and long socks at some point in the UK a hundred years ago. But at the same time obviously there is a big US influence, through tourism really, and I think through the business community. Sometimes you feel you’re in a country town in the UK and the next time you feel like you’re in the US in one of the cities. So it sits in the middle and it’s culturally in the middle.”

New York Times, October 15

The ‘New York Times’ opened its preview piece by introducing the world to one of the most Bermudian products on the market — the fish sandwich. “Fish sandwich in hand, Lorne Bean, a pastor with a mellifluous voice and a maritime past, talked last week about what the America’s Cup might mean to his tiny, isolated country in the North Atlantic Ocean,” the paper reported. The writer Christopher Clarey described the initial idea of Bermuda as host as a “stretch” due to the big hitters it was up against including San Diego and Chicago. “You’ve been hit in the head by the boom too many times. What are you talking about, man?” was apparently ACBDA chairman Peter Durhager’s reaction to Sir Russell Coutts’s original suggestion of Bermuda as host. Even when we secured it, lawyers scoured through the two-paragraph acceptance letter sure they would find a loophole.” The businessman leading the San Diego bid was a tad bitter, claiming the America’s Cup had been “prostituted” for the first time.

Sail-World, October 15

A touch of scepticism was apparent from regatta director Iain Murray in www.sailworld.com. “The AC seems to work well when it is a big fish in a small pond — Newport, Perth, Bermuda … but when it has to compete with the Golden Gate Bridge it’s different.” The article also states that “it [Bermuda] is just starting to wake up to the fact that there’s something big happening this weekend”.

Yachting World, October 15

‘Yachting World’s’ Matthew Sheahan created a video in the run-up to the World Series that focused on some of the challenges Bermuda’s confining waters might pose for the racers but once he took a trip up to the top of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, he said it was easy to see why Bermuda’s America’s Cup would be “a knockout”. He questioned our little roads though, writing: “The only road that leads to the venue is the width of a country lane. It’s like holding the America’s Cup at the end of your street.”

The Telegraph, October 17

In ‘The Telegraph’s’ Luxury section, Michael Harvey wrote about joining the Land Rover BAR team in Bermuda and how he was impressed with the speed with which their plan came together. “It’s hard to process just how quickly this plan to win — for the very first time — the America’s Cup for Great Britain has come together.”

Scuttlebutt Sailing News, October 17

“Skunked in Bermuda” was Sailing Scuttlebutt’s lighthearted description of Saturday’s lack of racing. The story was accompanied by a picture of a skunk saying “Go home, no racing today”. Land Rover BAR sailor Giles Scott was still impressed with the day, saying: “When we finally went out to race this huge spectator fleet came in — very impressive.”

The Daily Express, October 18

It began its round-up with the well-trodden angle of novelist Mark Twain once saying: “You can go to Heaven if you want, I’d rather stay in Bermuda.” The report barely made reference to the America’s Cup and was more of a travel feature which ended with the fact that the journalist, having enjoyed his stay here, was nearly there [Heaven].

Maxim, October 20

Introducing the America’s Cup as the “billionaire death race”, the international men’s magazine wrote about commentary from “lifelong Bermudian” Nick Jones, the former coach for the Bermuda National Sailing Team. “Jones, whose stocky frame and creased features recall a more menacing Gordon Ramsay, says he’s a ‘traditionalist’ when it comes to sailing, and prefers the slower, pre-catamaran days. But like everyone else, he attributes the racier design to a renewed interest in the genteel sport, as hazardous as that transformation may be. ‘You’re on the course, you take the risk,’ Jones says with a Bermudian twang as we cruise past a cluster of boats crowding Hamilton Harbour. ‘It’s the same as being a Formula 1 driver. That’s part of sports, and that’s just how it works, unfortunately’.”

2015. October 20. One of the most successful businessmen in the world, Larry Ellison, was among the corporate big hitters and decision-makers who attended the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda event. Mr Ellison was last year listed by Forbes magazine as the fifth wealthiest man in the world. As the founder and executive chairman of Oracle, and the owner of Oracle Team USA, his presence at the event was not unexpected. Many other high-level business executives were in Bermuda to watch the weekend of racing, and that is likely to help the Island position itself as a favorable destination of choice for future business propositions. “The America’s Cup World Series event brought many powerful business decision-makers to the Island, including the likes of Larry Ellison,” explained Ross Webber, chief executive officer of the Bermuda Business Development Agency. “Seeing and experiencing the people, infrastructure and sophistication of Bermuda first-hand is a massive selling point. This event provided the impetus to get people physically here. This is a positive business generator — both directly, from individuals who visited the Island, attended the many associated corporate social events, met Bermudians, liked what they saw on the Island — and, indirectly, for those for whom the television coverage will be a catalyst for future visits or inquiries.” He said the agency is working with the ACBDA legacy team to get the most out of the event “for the benefit of as many Bermudians as possible.”

2015. October 20. A group economic post-mortem examination is to be conducted to assess the impact of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda. The Bermuda Government, along with the Bermuda Tourism Authority, the America’s Cup Event Authority and ACBDA are working on a joint review of how businesses, vendors, visitor numbers and hotel occupancy were affected. Economic development minister Grant Gibbons added that the most comprehensive economic impact study would not be held until after the 35th America’s Cup in 2017. He told The Royal Gazette: “The main event for us is 2017 so we are probably not going to do an overall economic assessment until after then but in the meantime we will get feedback. Anecdotally the vendors out on Front Street seemed to be doing a bustling business. I have heard lots of good reports. Both the local and overseas sponsors are absolutely delighted and I also hear that the TV coverage was one of the best because there were so many boats out there and they did a nice job of framing the course. It worked a lot better in that respect than Gothenburg and Portsmouth.” Dr Gibbons said that the World Series provided the opportunity for organizers to work on any issues that needed to be addressed ahead of the finals including internet bandwidth limitations that saw some lose connection over the weekend. There was a slight increase in private jets arriving on the Island in the run-up to the race weekend. Airport general manager Aaron Adderley said: “In the days leading up to the race weekend we had about just over 30 private jets on the ground at any one time and that is considered slightly higher than average than it would be during our peak period in the summer. A peak day during the summer period you can expect around 25 aircraft or thereabouts. From a commercial side in the couple of days prior to the weekend we had the arriving flights coming in at load factors just under 80 per cent. There was certainly a bit of activity in the lead up to the weekend.” On water operations chairman Ralph Richardson said that close to 1,200 boats registered as spectators and that he had never seen so many boats together at one event in Bermuda. Mr Richardson, who is also chairman of the Bermuda Water Safety Council, estimated that there were 10,000 people on the water. “There were twice as many boats as you see at Non Mariners but there will be multiple more numbers of people due to all the tour boats out. We have been around on boats for decades and I have never seen that many boats in one place in Bermuda — in the Great Sound or anywhere.” He said that aside from the collision between Swedish AC45F catamaran Artemis and a nearby judge boat there were no significant incidents — only a few who infringed on the course and were dispatched by the marshals and police. Premier Tickets sold out the America’s Cup Jam Presented By Fidelity International on Saturday night featuring Maxi Priest and Shaggy. Some 2,500 tickets were sold but it has not yet been calculated how many actually turned up and had their tickets scanned. BTA chief executive Bill Hanbury said: “Overall anecdotally we were very happy with the way the event played out. I know hotels had a good weekend and many restaurants and special event companies had a spectacular weekend and a lot of revenue was generated. It was a great week for Bermuda tourism and when the figures come back we will see a weekend that was well worth the investment we have made in the event.” Meanwhile, police thanked the community along with their security partners for a quiet weekend. A single minor marine incident occurred on Sunday at about 1.35pm, when a 52-year-old Pembroke man had to be detained and escorted out of the race area after speeding erratically on a jet ski.

2015. October 20. Major event partners and restaurants yesterday hailed the America’s Cup as a major boost for business. Insurance firm BF&M is the official health insurance provider for the America’s Cup for Oracle Team USA and the ACEA. John Wight, BF&M’s chief executive officer, said the sponsorship decision was taken to boost business for the firm and support Bermuda. He added: “Since that decision many months ago, the other racing teams and families that have since moved to Bermuda have also started to insure with BF&M.” And Mr Wight said the opportunities had just begun, as the World Series was a taster for the big event in 2017. He added the finals “will be without question the biggest event that Bermuda has ever hosted and may ever host. This is a huge opportunity for Bermuda to relaunch its tourism industry and from the announcement in late 2014 that Bermuda had been selected, we at BF&M felt that there would be great benefits not just for BF&M but for virtually every sector of the community.” And he said the challenge would be to translate success in 2017 into “a sustainable and improved economy” when the races are over. The revamped Hamilton Princess and Beach Club is the official America’s Cup hotel. Hotel general manager Allan Federer said: “The event provided additional international exposure for the hotel and for Bermuda and our October numbers are much improved as a result. We believe AC35 will put Bermuda back on the map and encourage more travelers to consider Bermuda when selecting their vacation destination. From a business perspective, we certainly saw our first sign of green shoots this weekend.” And he added that he hoped Cup organizers would consider the Island for further races next year. Professional services firm PwC, the official audit and assurance company to the event and Oracle Team USA, said the glamour of the event rubbed on sponsors. PwC Bermuda leader Arthur Wightman added: “PwC Bermuda is extremely proud to be part of this exciting event for Bermuda. Clearly, the weekend’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series was a huge success for Bermuda. It was not just a spectacular sporting event, but it also showcased the Island on a global stage and delivered wide-ranging economic benefit to Bermuda. At PwC, we are delighted to have connected our brand with an event that shares PwC’s core values of excellence, teamwork and leadership. This was certainly an excellent event and provided us and our clients with unique hospitality and thrilling viewing opportunities on the water for which we are all extremely grateful. There is intrinsic value to our brand through the fantastic coverage, positive press and global recognition. PwC was also a direct supporter of the event’s youth sailing programme Endeavour, which featured prominently over the weekend. We are unreservedly committed to playing our part in ensuring that there is a real legacy benefit from the 35th America’s Cup that will be felt by the Bermuda community for many years to come.” But is not only official sponsors that are seeing the benefits flow from the Cup. Philip Barnett, head of restaurant group IRG, who also represents his sector on the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said his staff had worked flat out, with many working double shifts to cater to the demand. He added: “From the various teams using us all year long for their meal provisioning through our various restaurants and catering arm, to their visiting friends and relatives coming into Bermuda and spending money in our establishments, to the big weekend just passed, it has been better than expected. I have also anecdotally talked to other restaurateurs and business owners and they too are generally telling similar stories. Businesses from supermarkets to pharmacies had also recorded an America’s Cup spike in sales as crews and support staff spend cash. The best part is, as we get busier, we have to reach out to all our on Island support companies and re-spend the income back on the island to purchase goods and services to support the increased demand we are getting. From wholesalers, to printers, to car-selling automotive dealers it is a wonderful virtuous cycle of dollars flowing in and around the Island for the benefit of many.”

2015. October 20. Peter Shrubb yesterday relived the moment he was nearly crushed to death during the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series races in the Great Sound. Shrubb, who was officiating at the regatta, was on the umpire boat that ploughed into Artemis Racing's catamaran during the pre-start of the second race on Sunday. While the Artemis boat suffered extensive damage, the collision propelled Shrubb between the two boats, and only his helmet, and the quick-thinking of the Artemis crew, saved his life. “I got caught in-between the umpire boat and the race boat,” Shrubb said. “Luckily I had my helmet on because it was preventing my head from being squeezed in-between the two boats. I got jammed in there and could not get my head out because the boats were still moving at that point. Artemis was still going forward, which was applying more pressure and thankfully the Artemis crew was quick to respond.” Shrubb was quick to praise the Artemis crew for attending to his plight before their own, especially considering the damage that was done to the catamaran could have ended their regatta prematurely. “They came running up and saw the problem, and my fellow umpire Alfredo [Ricci] and the other guys grabbed me, and pulled me out from between the two boats. It was amazing that their boat was not their primary concern. Their primary concern was helping Alfredo and I because they could see were in a bit of trouble there. Their whole crew came running forward and I am thankful that they did, because things could have got a lot worst if they hadn't come up and helped us as quickly as they did.” As it was, Shrubb, and Ricci, who was driving at the time of the crash, escaped with minor injuries. The Artemis boat was not quite so lucky, and the Swedish team had to cut away their code zero sail as part of the running repairs that enabled them to remain in the race. Whether anyone was to blame for what could have been a fatal accident is not something that has been publicly discussed. For his part Shrubb said it was part of the accepted risk of the sport. “It was just part of the game we play,” Shrubb said. “You have big, fast boats in a confined area, and the umpires boats have to be right in the mix, and sometimes these things happen.” Shrubb said that by the time he knew the two boats were going to collide, there was nothing anybody could have done to prevent it from happening. “We were coming around the outside of the spectator fleet to get into position to see the boats entering into their final tack into the start,” he said. “It was a narrow corridor between the spectator boats, and the pin end of the start line. We got in there and were moving up into position, and Artemis came around from the other side of the boats we were watching into the same corridor we were in. They were kind of aiming at us, and we were aiming at them, and there was not a whole lot of room to go anywhere. We slammed the boat into reverse but the collision was inevitable at that point. Things move pretty quickly in this kind of event and we just got caught off guard.” Shrubb said that once he was pulled free, crew on both boats went into survival mode, desperate to ensure they could continue. “We suffered a few bangs and bruises,” Shrubb said.

2015. October 18. Bermuda’s first chance to host America’s Cup racing was hailed an “outstanding success” last night as a stunning sunset over Hamilton Harbour signaled the end of an action-packed World Series. The thousands that had made Front Street their new home away from home for the event rose to acclaim the six sailing crews at the end of a fast and frenetic series of races on the Great Sound.  Premier Michael Dunkley saluted the Bermuda public for their contribution to the spectacle saying: “I am bursting with pride — I said it was our time to shine, and we have shone as bright as the brightest star. If you think this was exciting, then just wait for 2017 — it’s going to be even bigger and better,” the Premier told The Royal Gazette. “Any questions there were about Bermuda hosting this event have been answered. I could not be more proud of the way people here have rallied together, stepped up to the plate and made this happen. The racing conditions on Sunday were just perfect and the Island looked amazing. Those images will continue to be shown for some time on televisions around the world.” Hundreds of boats headed into the Great Sound yesterday afternoon to get a front-row seat on the sailing drama that ultimately saw Artemis Racing overcome a high-speed crash with the umpire’s boat to claim the regatta spoils. The Swedish team may have topped the table in heroic fashion in Bermuda, but Emirates Team New Zealand still hold a slender lead in the overall standings going into the next round of World Series races in Chicago in 2016. As the curtain came down on the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda in a flurry of champagne spray, Gombey dancing and cheering crowds those responsible for bringing the America’s Cup to the Island reflected on why it had been the right decision. Sir Russell Coutts, CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority, said the World Series had worked out “exactly how we imagined it Bermuda has just come out and put their arms around this event. They are absolutely loving it and enjoying it and it shows this is going to be a really cool event in 2017. A lot of people that did not know all the reasons why we selected Bermuda perhaps could not understand the selection. But I am sure when you look at the event now anyone that was here in Bermuda, for this week in particular, really gets why we put the America’s Cup here for 2017 and frankly I think a lot of people are now realizing that.” Mr Dunkley added: “This event has shown what we are capable of doing when everyone pulls together. We are in a great position now to move forward and speaking with people who are visiting the Island for the first time it has been fantastic to hear how much they have enjoyed their time here. I am delighted at how it has gone and excited to now look forward to the potential of what lies ahead for 2017. There are always things you can learn and we will make sure we are prepared for that next challenge.” The World Series event brought unprecedented numbers of locals and visitors on to Front Street and into Hamilton for three days of live music, entertainment and gripping sport. The city’s retail stores saw a welcome uptake in business, while restaurants and bars also received a major economic boost. Bill Hanbury, CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, described the success of the event as “powerful medicine” for tourism and great economic news for the country. “It has shown Bermuda is very capable of staging and successfully holding a huge event like this — the logistics were flawless. Millions of television viewers saw us for the first time on global television. To have the kind of coverage is really powerful medicine for tourism. It will not solve the problem over night but it will help us. America’s Cup takes us to a place we could never go by ourselves and brings with it huge opportunities.”

2015. October 18. Artemis Racing overcame a collision with an umpire boat to win the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda in dramatic fashion today in the Great Sound. The catamaran and boat collided at the start of the second race, forcing the race to be delayed and Artemis to cut away their code zero sail. If anything the setback only served to inspire Artemis, and the Swedish team flew out to a big lead at the re-start as they won the second race ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand, with Oracle Team USA in third. “We owned that start,” Nathan Outteridge, the Artemis skipper, said immediately afterwards. “I’ve never seen the guys so pumped up.” Artemis had the best day overall yesterday, and were only denied a win in the opening race by some excellent sailing from Oracle, who pipped them on the line with a dramatic last turn. Still, the Swedish challenger needed to finish ahead of Oracle in the final race to win the overall regatta and did just that, rolling the American team on the final run to the finish line. Emirates Team New Zealand dominated that race, winning to maintain their lead at the top of the overall standings Meanwhile, a second and first today saw Emirates Team New Zealand maintain the overall lead on the World Series leader board. The win represented something of a comeback for the New Zealand team, who finished fifth in a first race that Oracle won, with Land Rover BAR third. The British team’s hopes of winning the regatta were all but ended in the second race when a mistake saw them slip from first to fifth, a position they never recovered from, and even a second place in the final race was not enough to lift them on to the podium. Artemis won the regatta, finishing just two points ahead of New Zealand, with Oracle two points further back.

October 18. For several tense minutes it seemed as though Artemis Racing’s bid for Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World glory would sink to the bottom of the Great Sound. A collision with an umpire boat at the start of yesterday’s second race left the Swedish challenger’s AC45F foiling catamaran without its bowsprit and genneker, and looking in very bad shape. However, when all seemed lost, Nathan Outteridge, the Artemis skipper, and his team pulled off an improbable victory that was the final act of a spectacular regatta, one which included plenty of lead changes, three different winners, close racing, and the fleet flying downwind at more than 30 knots up on their foils. After the first day’s racing was abandoned because of a lack of breezes, organizers scheduled three races in more suitable northwesterlies yesterday, and to make things even more interesting there were double points up for grabs in all of them. Artemis looked to have done enough in the first race, leading the fleet over the first five legs only to be passed by Oracle Team USA, the defender and regatta host, on the final run to the line. It was a cruel twist for the Swedish team, but pure delight for Oracle, whose gamble to split gates on the last beat ultimately paid off, as it allowed them to stay in the fresher breeze which gave them just enough momentum to squeak past the leaders. Land Rover BAR, the British challenger, took third. If Artemis thought that the worst was behind them, they were in for a rude awakening as they were dealt a heavy blow at the start of the second race, when they collided with the umpire boat. “At that point we couldn’t go anywhere,” Outteridge said. Fortunately, there were no injuries. The same, however, could not be said for Artemis’s boat. “Thankfully nobody was hurt,” Outteridge said. “There was a serious amount of damage to our boat though.” The mishap delayed proceedings as Artemis’s shore team stripped off the broken bow sprit and the genneker. Having suffered extensive damage, few could have predicted what was to follow, as Artemis exploded off the start and won the second race to snatch the overall lead of the regatta away from Oracle. “It was huge payback for all the hard work from the guys who stripped the gear off, checked the boat, and got us ready just in time,” Outteridge said. Land Rover BAR led briefly, but completely lost the plot after making a tactical error approaching the first windward marker, and then lost control of their starboard daggerboard. Emirates Team New Zealand, the overall World Series leaders, rebounded from a poor first race to take second behind Artemis, with Oracle completing the podium. The regatta remained wide open heading into the third and final race as the winds continued to build, with Artemis clinging to a two-point lead over Oracle, and Emirates Team New Zealand a further six points adrift. The Kiwis dominated the last race which they won from start to finish. At one stage it appeared as though Emirates Team New Zealand and Artemis would finish tied on points. However, a well-executed gybe on the final run gave Artemis good momentum, and enabled them to pass Oracle near the finish and secure the regatta victory — the team’s first of the series — by the skin of their teeth. SoftBank Team Japan and Groupama Team France had largely forgettable days, with the French team’s highest finish the fifth-place they managed in the second race. Japan at least finished on a high, grabbing third place in the final race to go alongside two fourth-place finishes.

2015. October 18. Races finally began in The America's Cup World Series preliminary event in Bermuda, two years before main event (also in Bermuda). Weather forecast predicted winds of up to 20 knots. There were three races, including one in which the Artemis Racing Team, eventual winners of this October 2015 Bermuda event, crashed into an umpire's boat but still managed to come out on top.  Artemis members were presented with their trophy by Bermuda's Premier Michael Dunkley.

World Series Bermuda - Overall

Before that, team standings were

2015. October 17. Light and fickle breezes forced organizers to abandon the opening day of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda today. After more than a two hour delay the race committee tried to stage a race on a short course in Hamilton Harbor to entertain the throngs of spectators on the water and dotting the shoreline. However, it wasn’t to be as what little breeze there was died out, and the decision was made to abandon racing till tomorrow. The breeze is forecast to blow over 20 knots tomorrow, which promises some exciting racing with potentially as many as three races scheduled. Emirates Team New Zealand are the overall World Series leaders, followed by Land Rover BAR and Oracle Team USA. There will be three races tomorrow, although they will be shorter to accommodate the extra race. With racing due to start at 2.10pm, and all races will be for double points. Nathan Outteridge, the helmsman for Artemis, said: “It was a frustrating day sitting around waiting for some wind. “We’re looking forward to tomorrow. The weather is meant to be a lot better and hopefully we can get some racing in. “I think heavier winds will suit Jimmy [Spithill] and the [Oracle] boys. They’re pretty aggressive with their foiling.”

2015. October 17. It is the moment Bermuda has been waiting for — and it may not happen at all. With light winds bringing a premature end to yesterday’s pedestrian practice races, there is a strong possibility that today’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda racing could be cancelled as well. Forecasters are predicting winds of five knots for today, less than the minimum six knots required to power the AC45F racing catamarans across the water. Last night organizers were making arrangements in the event that the wind is as light as predicted, with several options being discussed. Teams may try to get in one race today, with three tomorrow. Alternatively, one of the two races scheduled for today could be scrapped, with the other carried over to tomorrow, reducing the regatta to three races. The forecast for tomorrow is just as changeable, with the Bermuda Weather Service predicting anything from five to 18-knot winds, accompanied by the possibility of thunderstorms and poor visibility. “We could have anything between light and heavy conditions,” Glenn Ashby, the Emirates Team New Zealand team director, said. “All the meteorologists are unsure of what we are going to get, depending on a small system spinning off the coast of Bermuda. So we just need to be prepared for whatever comes.” Watching Formula 1 racing yachts virtually stand still with their parking brakes on was not the start organizers and spectators alike had hoped for, still SoftBank Team Japan were happy enough with their performance yesterday. The team will go into today’s America’s Cup World Series with team morale high after coming out on top in a less than dramatic practice session. “Despite the light winds and how delicate the sailing was on the Great Sound, this was a key day for the team,” said Matt Knighton, the Softbank Team Japan spokesman at the team’s Dockyard base. “To notch the first wins on the race course of the eventual Cup in 2017 is a great feeling. However, the real racing starts tomorrow [today] and if it’s light winds again, anything can happen.” Central to the challenger’s dominant display was an improvement in both communication and team cohesiveness. “The biggest take-away from today was that the teamwork felt solid onboard and the guys were communicating well which has been our goal and focus for the past few months,” Knighton said.

2015. October 17. Today’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda races will take place in the Great Sound to the west of Two Rock Passage. With light winds expected for much of the day, the exact location of the racecourse will not be decided until between 12pm and 1pm. However, organizers said that the conditions do mean that it is “very unlikely that the finish of the last race will be in Hamilton Harbour as previously indicated.” Officials have also said that if there is not enough wind to start the first race at 2.10pm, the start time will be postponed in short increments until a race can be started or the race committee decides that racing should be cancelled for the day. If there is no racing or only one race today, the teams have agreed on a provision to allow for three races tomorrow, with the same scheduled start time. With the racecourse yet to be set, organizers are asking boaters heading out to watch the races not to drop anchor until the course has been formed. Iain Murray, the race director for this weekend’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Bermuda event, has announced that today’s racecourse will be located to the west of Two Rock Passage in the Great Sound. Boaters should monitor VHF Channel 72 for up-to-date information about the racecourse and races. The official stake boats that form the outer edges of the racecourse will be flying a red stake boat flag, while the course marshals will be flying green flags. Boaters are also reminded to observe the five-knot, no wake zone which is in place for the whole of Hamilton Harbour and the area surrounding the racecourse. “With the lighter wind conditions today it is particularly important to limit the wake of the boats,” Ralph Richardson, ACBDA Water Operations Committee chairman, said. “It can quickly become a ‘washing machine’ out there, so boaters must respect the five-knot, no wake policy.”

2015. October 17. Ben Ainslie, the Land Rover BAR skipper, chose his words very carefully when asked about his thoughts on Oracle Team USA being labeled as the home team on an Island that flies the same Union flag as the one on the wing-sail of his team’s AC45F racing catamaran. “Obviously Jimmy [Spithill], Russell [Coutts] and Oracle brought the America’s Cup to Bermuda, and so they definitely have the rights to claim to be the home team,” said Ainslie, who won the “Auld Mug” with Oracle at the previous America’s Cup. We certainly have great ties with Bermuda with its British heritage. They have been incredibly supportive of us. I think Bermuda is as proud of its British heritage as we are from our side.” It was probably not the response many expected, but perhaps a wise one to avoid adding more fuel to Oracle’s burning desire to break their Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series duck at the venue they have chosen to call home. Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, seemed completely unfazed over which team has the right to call Bermuda home. His thoughts, perhaps, were focused solely upon rewarding the local community, who have embraced the Oracle team, with the victory that has so far eluded the defender. “Bermuda has been so welcoming to the team and to the America’s Cup, trust me, we’d love nothing better than to reward them with a great result,” Spithill said. The locals are behind us. We’re responsible for bringing it here. They’re getting behind us.” Oracle finished third at the first leg of the World Series n Portsmouth, and were second at the second leg in Gothenburg, a first on home waters would seem to be a natural progression. However, while Spithill is pumped up for the challenge, even he admits that his team have their work cut out among a formidable fleet boasting the best sailors and the fastest boats in the world. “With the levels of the teams, it’s completely open,” he said. “It will come down to the best team.” Before being put on the spot, Ainslie spoke fondly of sailing in Bermuda’s turquoise waters. The four-times Olympic gold medallist won a gold medal in the Laser when the Island hosted the 1995 World Youth Sailing Championships, and is also a two-times Argo Group Gold Cup winner, having won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. “It’s been fun racing here and we’ve had some great results,” Ainslie said. “We just love being here. It’s a great Island, fantastic sailing and great people."  Glenn Ashby, the Emirates Team New Zealand skipper and sailing director, said: "Emirates Team New Zealand are the overall World Series leaders heading into the third and final event of 2015, and are the only team that has finished no lower than third in every race so far. There’s a saying it’s better to be lucky than good, and we’ve been fortunate to have a couple of nice regattas. We haven’t sailed together as a team since Gothenburg so yesterday’s training session we important for us. The conditions on the Great Sound were perfect and we utilized it to full advantage to practice getting the boat around the course as best we can. We’ve seen any team here can win any race, so we’re looking forward to getting out and racing.” Further down the pecking order are the likes of Softbank Team Japan, Artemis Racing and Groupama Team France who will be looking to make inroads on the leaders. “We’ve had a couple of shockers,” Nathan Outteridge, the Artemis Racing helmsman, acknowledged. “We’ve been sailing well at times, but we haven’t been able to string it together. In Portsmouth and Gothenburg we made some big errors and if we can avoid them this week, we’ll be in much better shape.” The World Series is the first stage of competition of the 35th America’s Cup and will feature all six teams. At stake at the conclusion of the series are points that teams will carry through to the America’s Cup Qualifiers in 2017. Two races are scheduled for today in the Great Sound, starting at 2.10pm. Racing continues tomorrow on “Super Sunday”, when the points for positions on the leader board will be doubled.

October 17. Front Street burst into life with an explosion of colour, noise and excitement last night as the Island celebrated the arrival of Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series racing to Bermuda. Thousands descended on the capital to witness the opening ceremony of the third leg of World Series races that are due to begin on the Great Sound today — as long as the wind also makes an appearance. The shops were full, the balconies packed, and the bars buzzing as locals and visitors took to the streets to take in the party atmosphere and sample the first taste of America’s Cup action. Youngsters sped down waterfront zip lines and learnt the sailing art of grinding as the immaculate forms of the AC45F racing catamarans bobbed gently in Hamilton Harbour. Town crier Ed Christopher kicked off the evening’s festivities in front of a crowd of several hundred before the Royal Bermuda Regiment Band filed along Front Street and joined him on stage to perform a snappy little version of Pharrell Williams’s Happy. Mayor of Hamilton, Charles Gosling led the dignitaries in thanking Sir Russell Coutts, the America’s Cup Event Authority and Larry Ellison, owner of Oracle Team USA, for putting their confidence in Bermuda to host the event. He also thanked the Corporation of Hamilton crews for their tireless work in the build up to the World Series and urged residents to “embrace Bermuda’s role, embrace the event and have a great time. This is our moment to make sure Bermuda is not a paradise lost, but a paradise found. We must take up the challenge and showcase just what makes us special.” Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, hailed Bermuda’s achievement in becoming only the fifth country to host the America’s Cup. He also commended the success of the Endeavour Programme for young sailors that was launched in St George earlier in the week saying: “This was a great opportunity for young Bermudians. “I would not be surprised to see a young Bermudian sailing on an America’s Cup team in the future, and who knows we may have a Bermuda America’s Cup boat — wouldn’t that be special?” The six team’s skippers were then introduced to the crowd in a blaze of smoke and music — with the loudest cheers being reserved for Sir Ben Ainslie of Land Rover BAR and Jimmy Spithill of Oracle. The final honour of officially opening the World Series event fell to Michael Dunkley, the Premier. He thanked Coutts and Mr Ellison for bringing the cup to Bermuda and pledged: “We will make you proud”. He told the crowd: “Let’s go get it Bermuda, it’s our time to shine,” before a spectacular fireworks display light up the night sky over Hamilton Harbour.

2015. October 16. Bermuda will be thrust into the worldwide media spotlight as festivities surrounding the America’s Cup kick off in Hamilton today. This weekend, the planet’s most prestigious sailing event will take place in Bermuda’s waters for the first time, with thousands set to join in celebrations across the Island. After months of negotiations followed by intensive preparation for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda, economic development minister Grant Gibbons urged Bermuda to take its chance to “shine on the world stage. It is very exciting and you can feel the community’s sense of anticipation. It is a great opportunity for Bermuda. We have already had World Series races in Portsmouth, England and Gothenburg, Sweden, but now to have the first one in Bermuda is terrific. Now we’ll start to see what this event is really about.” The event village on Front Street, featuring entertainment and an extended happy hour, will be open from 5pm to 11pm today, with the opening ceremony starting at 8pm. A raft of activities for the weekend includes performances by international artists Maxi Priest and Shaggy, local entertainment, exhibition sailing, vendors, fireworks and world-class racing featuring magnificent AC45 catamarans. Many are pinning hopes on the fact the occasion — and in particular the 35th America’s Cup in 2017 — will provide a huge boost to Bermuda’s economy, especially for the tourism and construction industries, while the Endeavour Community Sailing Programme, launched yesterday, is one legacy that is likely to continue for years to come. Bill Hanbury, chief executive of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said: “So far, the America’s Cup is certainly living up to all expectations and already we can see a good result economically. The most exciting part for us is really around the long-term impact of having Bermuda on a global stage, not just this weekend, but for the next year and a half as we roll out this event.” New Zealand sailor Sir Russell Coutts would not be drawn on who he thought might be in with a chance of winning the next race but did say: “All of the teams have got incredible talent but you have got to think that Jimmy Spithill is going to be pretty determined to win this one. People are getting really psyched for this and it is going to be a great party. Bermuda should be very proud.”

2015. October 15. If the loss of vital funding, the right to host next year’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers and a team shake up is having a detrimental impact on Emirates Team New Zealand, then they are certainly not showing it. Team New Zealand have endured their fair share of setbacks off the water which, at one stage, left their 35th America’s Cup campaign teetering on the brink. On the water, however, a completely different story has been unfolding with Emirates Team New Zealand leading the overall Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series pecking order heading into this week’s Bermuda leg. “Things have not been that easy for the last couple of years but if it was easy then everybody would do it and be involved in the America’s Cup,” Glenn Ashby, the Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman/sailing team director, said. “It’s not an easy game and it’s a hard one to win but hopefully we are putting the pieces together now, particularly in the last few months that can help us go ahead and be successful in 2017.” The Kiwis, the only team to have been in the top three in every race so far, knocked Land Rover BAR off the top with victory at the previous World Series event in Gothenburg. They will now be looking to build on that momentum when America’s Cup racing takes place in Bermuda for the first time with a star-studded sailing team backed by tremendous support staff back at the boatshed. “We need to have the best guys to sail the yacht and on the actual America’s Cup side of things you have to have a good design team that can provide a good yacht,” Ashby said. “I think we are very fortunate that we have a great group of guys on and off the water.” In 24-year-old Peter Burling the Kiwis have unearthed a gem. The youngest helmsman on the cup circuit helped guide the Kiwis to second and first in the first two legs of the World Series and along with Emirates Team New Zealand team-mate Blair Tuke has won 20 consecutive regattas in the 49er. It is a phenomenal streak stretching back to the pair’s silver medal display at the 2012 London Olympics which went some way towards them being nominated this week for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year for the second successive time. Ashby has also been in the limelight lately, capturing a ninth A-Class World Championships title in Punta Ala, Italy, last month, his sixteenth world title overall. “We’ve got some excellent guys on the team and it does rub off on everyone,” Ray Davies, the Emirates Team New Zealand tactician, said. “It just picks everyone up and creates a really good atmosphere to be working in. It’s infectious.” Although the results of late have been encouraging, Davies said there is always room for improvement as the Kiwis bid to regain the “Auld Mug” which they surrendered to Swiss Challenger Alinghi in 2003. “We’re in great shape at the moment and we want to keep that momentum going,” he said. “We’ve had a couple of good regattas but we are still learning a lot, so we have been analyzing everything we’ve done so far and we’ve still got a lot to improve on. We are just going to try and keep chipping away and make sure we are diligent in our debriefs and always have an attitude of learning.” Ashby, who won the 33rd America’s Cup with Oracle Team USA’s forerunner BMW Oracle Racing, is champing at the bit for World Series Bermuda racing to get under way. “I was here in May for a few days to have a look around,” he said. “But coming here this time to race with the guys on the AC45F for the World Series is a real pleasure and we’re looking forward to getting out on the course and sailing on the waters of Bermuda.”

2015. October 15. The enthusiasm of children looking to participate in the America’s Cup legacy sailing programme Endeavour is palpable, according to Minister for Economic Development Grant Gibbons. The free community initiative, aimed predominantly at local children between the ages of 9 and 12, is being marked by an Endeavour Day ceremony in St George’s today along with a raft races, events and entertainment. The America’s Cup has invited more than 500 children to mark the official opening of the America’s Cup Endeavour Community Sailing Programme, and each child will have the opportunity to go out on taster sessions on the allocated boats throughout the day. While all eyes are on the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda due to take place this weekend, a historic event for the Island, Dr Gibbons is excited about the legacy the youth programme will have for years to come. He told The Royal Gazette: “I think we are going to have a terrific legacy programme here. I think about New Zealand after the couple of America’s Cups they have had. Winning the Cup and having the events there really took sailing to another level in New Zealand. Hopefully at some point Bermuda will have some young sailors coming out of this who will participate in some of these teams. I have seen the enthusiasm in the younger sailors who are perhaps experiencing this for the first time and they are so excited. The programme is absolutely fantastic and is the vision of Sir Russell Coutts. He is very passionate about it and this is the most extensive youth programme the America’s Cup has ever done.” St George’s officially opens to Endeavour Day at 12pm with a full raft of events to take place, culminating in a performance by Gombey Dancers at 7.20pm. Following the official opening of the TS Admiral Somers Building, the home of the Sea Cadets and the official home of the Endeavour programme, there will be a number of races that can be viewed from Ordnance Island. These include the Endeavour race on RS Feva boats, hobies and bics, a Bermuda pilot gig exhibition race and a race in traditional Bermuda fitted dinghies with America’s Cup teams competing against Bermudian sailors.

2015. October 14. Two of the Island’s leading real estate agents have seen a “huge uptake” in business on the back of the America’s Cup. Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty has seen a 32 per cent increase in the number of properties in the first nine months of 2015 compared to last year, while Rego Sotheby’s International Realty enjoyed a boost of about 25 per cent according to its baseline figures. Both companies have created special web portals to deal specifically with America’s Cup-related business. Coldwell is actively seeking new short-term rental inventory to meet demand as interest is already being expressed for rentals for the 35th America’s Cup 2017, while Rego said that some 30 homes it has rented could likely be attributed to Oracle USA and associated parties alone. Penny MacIntyre, executive vice-president at Rego Sotheby’s International Realty, told The Royal Gazette: “It is a wonderful time for real estate in Bermuda. This uptake is partly being spawned by people’s confidence in hotel tourism ­— hotel tourism is very vibrant now with international brands and developers taking interest. “World Series are great as smaller events but the 35th America’s Cup is expected to be the pinnacle of activity for sailing. All the hotels are sold out now so you can anticipate that for 2017 certainly that demand will spill into private residences. I think if we execute this well people will want to stay on land before they stay on a cruise ship.” Kendra Mello, general manager for Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty, said that the company had seen a particular growth in demand for its three-bedroom family homes priced between $5,000 and $8,000 per month; waterfront properties; one bedroom units in central locations; and city living. While she believes that the real estate industry is clearly riding the wave of the America’s Cup, much of the increase can be attributed to a general growing confidence in Bermuda’s economy. She said: “The broader impact that the event has brought to Bermuda centres around a renewed confidence in the Island economy and has reinvigorated external interest in Bermuda and what it has to offer. As an indirect result, we have seen an increase in the number of real estate transactions, both rental and sales, taking place over recent years. Comparatively, for instance, we saw a 32 per cent increase in the number of properties rented between January and September 2015 over the same period in 2014. The average days on market for well-priced rental inventory is currently less than 90 days indicating that leasing activity remains strong. It has created a ripple effect that has had a positive effect on real estate. People are looking to book ahead for 2017 and we are actively seeking short-term rental inventory for that very reason.” An initial surge in interest in the Dockyard area, where the 2017 event village will be located, was followed by interest in the central parishes, said Ms MacIntyre. “You can certainly see Dockyard has been buzzing. You also have people looking more centrally such as Warwick and Paget as they may have families. Southampton was a high request location being just a 15 to 20-minute drive out to Dockyard. There has been no real movement in St George’s because of the location. We have had an increase in interest from Hamilton west: still not all the way to Dockyard. Those coming to work with the teams still want to be somewhere central where they have children and families. I think that the impact on the market is broad-ranging.” Ms MacIntyre said that homeowners should waste no time if they plan to improve their properties to make them more attractive to potential tenants. “If people didn’t know Bermuda existed, it is certainly good in that sense both in terms of tourism and most definitely for exposure for real estate. Now is a good time to pay attention to what you own. Get advice on appropriate pricing; don’t price yourself out of the market; be realistic. Balance it knowing you are in a competitive market and there are people who are going to be doing the same as you are doing. Time it right. Understand contractors and architects are already getting booked up.”

2015. October 14. Unlicensed advertising that would unfairly exploit the America’s Cup is restricted by a protective order issued by economic development minister Grant Gibbons. Dr Gibbons said in a statement: “The order is tailored and necessary to prevent unauthorized commercial exploitation of the Louis Vuitton World Series event and the 35th America’s Cup, particularly since the event village and certain on-the-water areas around the race course will be open to the public. Restrictions are required in order to protect the commercial interests of the America’s Cup Event Authority and any of its designated commercial partners from “ambush marketing” — an issue that has arisen in previous America’s Cup events and other international sporting events. An example of ambush marketing would include actively promoting brands that are not official sponsors of the event. The order is also necessary to protect the interest of the 59 local individuals and small businesses who have paid to exhibit their goods and/or provide goods and services in connection with the staging of the event.“ The special order prohibits the exhibition or distribution of any advertisement in any public place within a defined area along the waterfront, unless authorized in writing by the America’s Cup Event Authority. The Order also covers business proprietors and operators working from a permanent structure within the restricted area, who will be prohibited from exhibiting, on or attached to the permanent structure, any advertisement that is clearly visible from anywhere within the restricted area or the race course area — and which is outside the scope of that person’s normal course of business; or appears to be an attempt to associate with the event, unless authorized in writing by the America’s Cup Event Authority. The Order also covers advertisements on watercraft that are clearly visible from the restricted area or race course area unless authorized in writing by the America’s Cup Event Authority.

2015. October 14. Bermuda-based insurer Ironshore has been named the official insurer for Oracle Team USA for the 35th America’s Cup. Ironshore will provide comprehensive insurance coverage for the team, from the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda regatta, taking place this weekend, through the America’s Cup finals in Hamilton, Bermuda in June 2017. “Ironshore is pleased to be a sponsor and the official insurer of Oracle Team USA, defender of the 35th America’s Cup,” Mitch Blaser, chief operating officer of Ironshore and chief executive officer of Ironshore’s Bermuda office. “Hosting the America’s Cup in 2017 will be a fantastic achievement for Bermuda with legacy benefits for years to come. We are proud to support Bermuda and Oracle Team USA during this extraordinary chapter in Bermuda’s history.” Ironshore, a Bermuda-based specialty insurance firm established on the Island in 2006, provides specialty property and casualty insurance products. As the official insurer for the Oracle team, Ironshore’s coverage includes marine, cargo, travel, umbrella liability, property, casualty and personal accident insurance. The Oracle team’s operations are based in Dockyard and its team of sailors, designers, shore crew and support personnel live and train in Bermuda in preparation for the finals in 2017. “We’re happy to partner with Ironshore, a company that knows Bermuda and understands the industry we work in,” Grant Simmer, general manager and chief operating officer for Oracle Team USA, said. “Ironshore has tailored its coverage to protect our risks both on and off the Island, giving us peace of mind as we continue our preparations to defend the America’s Cup in 2017.”

2015. October 14. A bird’s-eye view of the first Bermuda America’s Cup races is on offer this weekend. For new company Blue Sky Flights is offering aerial packages and the best seats in the house as the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda races get under way. Blue Sky Flights pilot Heather Nicholds said: “We have really just started for this weekend and we will be offering this when they have races on the Island. “It’s a really great way to see the races because you can the whole thing as it goes past you.” Blue Sky Flights also offers a series of tourism packages, including specialized tours — but expects a spike in clients with the lure of the America’s Cup, with flights available from Friday to Sunday. Ms Nicholds, 33, who has been flying since she was a teenager, said: “We are definitely hoping people will be interested in going up to see the races from overhead. “We offer lots of different tours and packages, but this is one way to have a very special experience of the America’s Cup.” The firm’s four-seater Cessna 172 has recently come back into service after passing the tough annual air operating certificate in May. Ms Nicholds said: “We have a few different pricing packages available for the America’s Cup — we’re working on custom packages for this weekend.” The Canadian-born pilot said she had already been stunned by the beauty of the Island on previous flights. Ms Nicholds added: “Bermuda is beautiful — it’s amazing to see the crystal clear water from overhead. It’s just amazing. You can see a bit of it landing at the airport, but only briefly then you’ve landed. To be able to fly around the Island and to see it that way, it gives you a really good perspective on how everything fits together and how beautiful it is here.” For more information and packages and prices, contact Ms Nicholds on 516 3305 or visit blueskyflights.bm or islandtourcentre.com.

2015. October 13. Sailing can be cruel at times — just ask Artemis Racing. The Swedish challengers have certainly endured their share of misfortune at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. Damaged rigging in Portsmouth and then capsizing and running aground in Gothenburg have perhaps resulted in sleepless nights for the Artemis sailors, who are now hoping their fortunes take a turn for the better when the series rolls into Bermuda this week. “We are really looking forward to it,” Iain Percy, the Artemis sailing team manager, said. “I think we need to put out a marker and we certainly have the talent within our group. We’ve had a couple of disappointing results at the last two events. We came back from our turbo programme [AC45S] and pretty much forgot how to sail boats like these [one-design AC45F]. We were pretty pleased how we were performing in Gothenburg but a couple of own goals, like hitting the bottom, stopped a good result. The performance was actually there in Gothenburg, but just not the result, because of those silly incidents. So, the performance needs to be there for this team this week and over time I think the results will follow.” One of the positives that Percy and his colleagues can take away from the previous World Series event were their reaching starts. “Nathan [Outerbridge, the team helmsman], I think, was starting the best of all the helms at the last event, and in the long run that’s the tough bit, so I was pleased with that,” Percy said. The other positive was getting a victory under their belt in the third race in Gothenburg, something that should have done the team’s confidence some good. “That was just one race and that in itself isn’t enough,” Percy, the Olympic gold medallist, said. “It’s just about momentum and getting it going.” This week’s World Series Bermuda event will be held in the Great Sound where Percy and his team-mates trained extensively this summer along with Oracle Team USA, the cup defenders. “I guess we’ve done as much sailing at the venue as Oracle, but actually they are predicting a northerly wind which not many of us have seen much of at all for the weekend, and it’s quite a strong one,” Percy said. “It will be a little bit different to what we are used to.”

2015. October 6. Oracle Team USA’s Dockyard base and racing equipment came through Hurricane Joaquin relatively unscathed. The hurricane swept past the Island on Sunday night, little more than two weeks before the start of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. “We came through Hurricane Joaquin relatively well,” the team said in a statement. “The base at Dockyard is in good shape and all our personnel on Bermuda are safe. We hope the same applies to all of our new friends in Bermuda. The wind is still very strong today [Monday], but the sun is starting to break through the clouds. We’ll be back at work tomorrow preparing to resume sailing later in the week.” As the hurricane approached the Island, the Oracle team staff put their plan for such scenarios into action. The roof of the tent had to be removed from the canteen area, all the containers closed up and the large glass panels covered in plywood. “Our logistics manager Ian Stewart has always had a plan for hurricane preparation,” Grant Simmer, the Oracle Team USA general manager, said. “That’s something that comes with living here. The forecast was a bit more severe so we took the decision to secure the base to the limit of what Ian had planned.” Oracle restarted their test programme prior to Hurricane Joaquin’s visit with the relaunch of their foiling AC45 prototype catamaran, which is expected to resume sailing in the Great Sound this week. Oracle’s second AC45 test boat is expected to be launched soon which will enable the defender of the oldest trophy in international sport to shift into two-boat testing mode. “We see the two-boat programme as a big competitive advantage for us in our development,” Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, said. “For me the most important was being the first team to set up here in Bermuda and getting a summer under our belt. We’ve achieved that and now we’re about to enter the next phase — getting two boats on the water.” Oracle officials do not expect the storm to have any impact on the World Series races, and Simmer said: “Bermudians are accustomed to dealing with these storms and recovering quickly.” Additional reporting by Sarah Lagan.

2015. October 2. Oracle Team USA have named an unchanged line-up for this month’s World Series race in Bermuda. The American team will again go into battle with Jimmy Spithill as skipper/helmsman and Tom Slingsby, the team manager, calling the shots as tactician. Kyle Langford, the wing trimmer, Joey Newton, trimmer, and Louis Sinclair, bow, make up the remainder of Oracle’s team, who will be keen on improving on their second-place finish in Gothenburg where they were overhauled by Emirates Team New Zealand on the second and final day of racing. “We’re going with the same line-up as last time,” Spithill confirmed. “We had a long list that we’ve worked on with Philippe since Gothenburg, and want to put that into play in Bermuda. We had a third in Portsmouth, a crew change for Sweden with Kinley Fowler’s broken hand and improved to a second, and with the restriction on training time, we decided to stick with the same group. We’ll get into a regular race crew rotation next year. We’re fortunate to have a very strong sailing team with a lot of depth. We have talent across our entire group. The crew on board is a good representation of that. But I’m also confident we can sub in any of our guys if we need to for injury or illness.” Louis Sinclair, Graeme Spence and Ky Hurst are three new additions to Oracle Team USA’s sailing team who bring a physical element that will be necessary on the new America’s Cup Class boats in 2017, as well as the AC45S test boats the team is developing. “All of the new guys fit in very well. Louis, Graeme and Ky are really leading the charge pushing and stepping up the physical side within our group which challenges the rest of us,” Spithill said. The America’s Cup World Series Bermuda is the first official racing at the home venue of the 35th America’s Cup and Oracle Team USA. “For sure we view this as our home event,” Spithill added. “We would love to do well here. We approach every event to win, but this one especially. We’re in front of our family and friends, not to mention all the Bermuda public who have welcomed us to the Island. We want to put on a good show, but it won’t be easy. You only need to look at a top team like Artemis currently at the back of the leader board, so it shows how hard it is. There are no weak links in this group of teams. As always it will come down to the last race on Sunday.” The America’s Cup World Series Bermuda will be held October 17 and 18 with teams allowed just one free training day on October 15, and one day of official practice racing on October 16. Emirates Team New Zealand top the overall leader board after two events, followed by Land Rover BAR, the British challenger, in second and Oracle Team USA in third.

2015. September 29. It promised to be a mini-business boom for street vendors, and next month’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event is on track to deliver. Almost 60 official vendor licences have been issued to small and medium-sized business across the community. A selection of the enterprising Bermudian entrepreneurs who have secured official licensee status have spoken about what it means to be involved in one of the biggest sporting events to come to the Island. Michelle Weldon, owner of cupcake business Xquisite Treats, heard about the opportunity for local businesses to become involved in the America’s Cup through the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC). She has been baking cakes and making desserts as a side business for five years, and was enrolled in a BEDC course for budding entrepreneurs when she was made aware of the chance to get involved with the America’s Cup as a vendor. “I filled out the application form and waited for the reply, and they came back and said I had been accepted,” she said. The BEDC helped to spread the word about vendor opportunities linked to October’s World Series event, along with other organisations including the Chamber of Commerce, and the America’s Cup Event Authority. Erica Smith, BEDC’s executive director, said: “Michelle is a great example of someone with passion who has followed through. She can launch her home baking business into something fully fledged. I’m sure people at the America’s Cup will try her cakes and want to know where they come from and how they can get them.” Ms Weldon said she is looking forward to the opportunity to be involved in the event, which takes place from October 16 to 18. Another food supplier to receive a vendor’s licence is Dakia O’Brien, owner of Wild Wing Wednesday. Ms O’Brien operated Dae N’ Night Catering before launching the fast food take-out Wild Wing Wednesday on Parsons Road, Pembroke, last November. She said many customers had told her she should get involved in the America’s Cup. She attended one town hall meeting, where she discovered the organizers were encouraging local vendors to apply for a licence. “They wanted something different and unique, so we applied and were accepted. I think we are one of the smallest businesses involved. I did not think we would get it, as there is a lot of competition out there and we’ve only been going for less than a year. It is going to be a big jump.” Wild Wing Wednesday has previously been assisted by the BEDC. Ms Smith said she believes the America’s Cup will provide an opportunity for Ms O’Brien and her business to become known beyond Bermuda’s shores. Ms O’Brien said: “It will definitely bring us exposure, and I see this as a chance to push ahead and show other young Bermudians what you can do if you apply yourself and follow the stepping stones.” There was a similarly positive message from Miki Richardson-Caines and Carlita Burgess, who run LifeStyles Co Ltd. The business provides a wide range of services, including home and office decor, guest supplies and other “essentials for everyday living”. After launching in December, the pair researched the America’s Cup in order to prepare for the possibility of getting involved. They attended Bermuda Tourism Authority events and town hall meetings featuring the America’s Cup organizers, and they accepted guidance from the BEDC. Those efforts paid off when LifeStyles was accepted as an official vendor. Ms Burgess said: “I think each of the vendors views this as an opportunity to see where we can go. It gives us a great opportunity to expand.” While Ms Richardson-Caines said: “People coming to the America’s Cup will want to know about Bermuda and Bermudians.” She added that it was good for the Island to have vendors who are proud to live in Bermuda and be part of the America’s Cup. “Who is better to showcase Bermuda than Bermudians?” she asked. A total of 59 vendor licences have been issued for the World Series event, along with about 50 service provider licences. There were between 90 and 95 completed applications for the vendor licences, coming from 500 initial enquiries. Looking ahead, the BEDC’s Ms Smith said: “There are still opportunities that will present themselves in 2017, and I hope beyond that.”

2015. August 31. The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series baton was officially handed over to Bermuda in Gothenburg yesterday. Bermuda will host the next event in the series, the first stage of competition of the 35th America’s Cup, from October 16 to 18. Representing the Island at yesterday’s ceremony at the race village was Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, whose bright yellow traditional Bermuda shorts proved popular among the crowd. “As you can see I brought my Bermuda shorts and brought the Dark ‘n’ Stormy ... we left the Bermuda Triangle at home, however,” said the minister, who led Bermuda’s successful bid to host the contest in 2017. Dr Gibbons praised the organizers of the World Series event in Gothenburg, and said they shared a common bond with Bermudians. “I think it’s been a fantastic few days here and I would like to thank the mayor and the people of Gothenburg for such gracious hospitality. It’s been a terrific two or three days here. I wasn’t sure how the Government arranged such wonderful weather, but it’s been very good. I hope we can learn from that in Bermuda. Gothenburg and Bermuda are very similar, I think, in some respects. We both have sailing in our DNA and we are an island nation and have been sailing for a very, very long time, so it’s something that we are very proud of as well. It’s great to be here and we certainly look forward to welcoming all of you to Bermuda in October and hopefully for 2017 for the finals as well.”

2015. August 31. Emirates Team New Zealand replaced Land Rover BAR at the top of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series pecking order in Gothenburg yesterday. Team New Zealand came from behind to win the fourth and final race that left them four points clear of overnight leaders Oracle Team USA. Land Rover BAR placed third, a further two points adrift of Oracle, who looked to be in control until they were undone by a double whammy on the first beat. The unbridled joy among the victorious Team New Zealand demonstrated just how much victory meant to them, particularly for Peter Burling, the challenger’s helmsman, who appears to have made a seamless transition at this level. “I’m definitely stoked to go there and take the win today,” Burling, the multiple world Moth and 49er champion, said. “For us, as a relatively new crew, to be able to come up with the goods was exactly what we were aiming at.” Fans were left on the edge of their seats as the four-race series drew to an exciting climax with Team New Zealand, Land Rover BAR and Oracle Team USA in a three-way tie at the top of the leader board heading into the final race. Oracle led the fleet on the short reach to the first mark and extended their advantage after making considerable gains on the first run to the bottom gate. But the defender’s hopes all but ended on the next leg when they relinquished the lead after getting on the wrong end of a wind shift and then lost further ground after sailing into spoiled air coming from SoftBank Team Japan’s wing-sail trying to cover Team New Zealand. Burling and company managed to take full advantage, sailing under Oracle and Team Japan on the layline to the marker and led the rest of the way. Sailing around a tight course littered with holes in light breezes presented a challenge for the teams. Team New Zealand, though, seemed to have things all figured out. “It was a tricky afternoon, but our guys had a forecast for it being light like this, so we’ve been preparing for it,” Burling added. “We just kept the boat in more breeze than anybody else to keep it going fast and minimizing maneuvers. That’s obviously really tricky sailing in that lighter stuff. We’re really happy to put together two solid races today and to perform under pressure in that last one is very satisfying.” Artemis Racing won yesterday’s first race by a landslide, with team New Zealand taking second and Land Rover BAR third to make things interesting at the top. Back-to-back victories on the opening day saw Oracle go into the final races with a slim lead over Land Rover BAR. But in the end the title would elude the defender who struggled in the light air. “We were having a very difficult time speed-wise and with our technique in the lighter winds,” Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle helmsman, said. Sir Ben Ainslie, team principal and helmsman of Land Rover BAR, also endured a day he would rather quickly put behind him. “It wasn’t one of our best days today,” Ainslie said. “It’s frustrating, but that’s the nature of the sport.” Land Rover BAR slipped to second in the World Series behind Team New Zealand after two stages. Oracle Team USA remain in third.

STANDINGS (after 2 events)

2015. August 29.  Preparations for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in October are on track, according to Grant Gibbons, the Economic Development Minister responsible for the 35th America’s Cup. “The organization is coming along very nicely,” said Dr Gibbons, who is attending this weekend’s America’s Cup World Series in Gothenburg, Sweden, to gather ideas ahead of the Island’s turn to be host. “The whole of Front Street down as far as Court Street will be closed off, and it will be nice to have that open space with the crowds out there.” The minister said the upcoming sailing spectacle would be a “dress rehearsal” for the main event in 2017. He is confident that the Island will put on a good show and live up to its expectations as host. “There will be a lot of Bermudian hospitality in terms of both vendors and others,” Dr Gibbons said. “It will be typically Bermudian in its own way and I am very excited. October’s America’s Cup World Series had been sparking the interests of potential visitors who might not otherwise have traveled to the Island. I hear there’s going to be a lot of people coming to visit Bermuda to have a look at it,” Dr Gibbons said. “I’m hearing a lot of interesting people — sponsors and senior people associated with the teams — will be coming, so we should do very well, which is great because it exposes Bermuda to probably a lot of people who wouldn’t be here before.” Gothenburg is the home of the Swedish Challenger, Artemis Racing. Explaining his visit to the city, the minister said: “The purpose of my trip is to get a better understanding so that we can prepare as best we can for the October World Series. The pier out here is a little bit like Front Street, where we intend to set up the VIP Centre and also all the hospitality. Gothenburg is an almost better model for Bermuda and it will also be interesting to see how they manage the dynamics with the city and also the sailing. We saw the British approach in Portsmouth and here we are getting a sense of how the Swedish manage it — it’s a good layout.” The minister’s agenda in Gothenburg includes promoting October’s America’s Cup World Series in Bermuda. “Another reason for me being here is to keep the interest of Bermuda up and to obviously represent Bermuda and I am delighted to be able to do that,” Dr Gibbons said. “It is hard work, but somebody has to do it.” As for a weekend of sailing that will feature the six America’s Cup teams competing in the foiling AC45F catamaran, Dr Gibbons said: “It should be very interesting, good fun and I look forward to getting out on the water as well.” Accompanying the Minister in Gothenburg is Adam Barboza, who is attending on behalf of the America’s Cup Bermuda. 

2015. August 29. Oracle Team USA stamped their authority at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Gothenburg today. The defender won both races on opening day to close the gap on overall points leaders Land Rover BAR. Oracle Team USA led every leg in both races to underline their dominance and emphatically claim bragging rights back at the race village. “The guys on board the boat did an awesome job today,” Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, said. “Tom [tactician Tom Slingsby] sailed really well tactically in the first race and really made some key calls under pressure. Second race was very encouraging because that’s the best we’ve sailed as a team. We were fast, we had great manoeuvres and Tom was just tactically really at another level.” Oracle moved up from third to second in the overall points standings. Ben Ainslie, the Land Rover BAR skipper, was satisfied with two second place finishes. “It was a good day for us,” Ainslie, a two-times King Edward VII Gold Cup winner, said. “We are happy with two second places. It was a tough old day out on the course and Jimmy and the guys at Oracle sailed really well and got themselves out ahead. But we battled through and got two good second places and I was really pleased with how we sailed.” A pair of thirds had Emirates Team New Zealand slip from second to third in the overall points standings. “Today was a fun day and the racing we had here was probably some of the closest we’ve had in quite awhile,” Glenn Ashby, the team New Zealand skipper, said. “The guys done a great job getting the boat around the track. We haven’t had a huge amount of training time between the two events, so to come here to Gothenburg and be able to mix it up with the big boys that have been putting a lot of time and effort in is really nice.” Artemis Racing, the home team, found the going tough and had to settle for a fourth and sixth. “Obviously we didn’t have a good day on the results card and we had some damage between the two races,” Nathan Outteridge, the Artemis helmsman, said. “But we were really happy with how we were starting. Starting in race one was good and starting race two was actually even better. But unfortunately with a damaged foil we didn’t have any boat speed.” Groupama Team France posted a fifth and sixth and Softbank Team Japan a fourth and fifth. Racing continues tomorrow with points doubled.

2015. August 29.  Artemis Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand are hoping their fortunes take a turn for the better when Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series racing starts in Gothenburg today. The two Challengers were forced to return to port prior to the start of yesterday’s official practice races, with Artemis’s AC45F catamaran capsizing and Team New Zealand’s suffering a minor breakdown. The crew of Artemis went for an unscheduled swim in Frihamnen Harbour after a gybe set went horribly wrong. “We were doing a bit of routine training before the start,” Nathan Outteridge, the Artemis skipper, said. “We did a good gybe and then we thought we would do one more and the calls weren’t very clear as to what the next move was. We’re all out there pushing hard and that’s what happens when you push too much.” Artemis’ one-design catamaran suffered minor damage to its wing sail while the crew escaped injury. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get to line up with anyone today. It was a little bit disappointing. But that won’t slow us down and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow. We are really excited to be here and more importantly excited to put on a good performance.” The crew of Team New Zealand also spent most of the afternoon on dry dock after their AC45F also had to be hauled out of the water for repair. “Very disappointing,” Glenn Ashby, the team’s sailing team manager, said. “We all love sailing these boats in good conditions and today was perfect with flat water and good winds, so we’re thoroughly looking forward to tomorrow to getting stuck in with these guys.” Land Rover BAR and Oracle Team USA both laid down early markers after claiming a victory in each of the day’s two practice races. It was just the start that America’s Cup World Series points leaders Land Rover BAR, led by former Oracle tactician Sir Ben Ainslie, was looking for. “We’ve all seen how close the racing was [in Portsmouth] and one mistake makes all the difference,” Ainslie, the Land Rover BAR skipper, said. While team confidence is high, Ainslie knows he and his team-mates have their work cut out. “With the race course being that much tighter, all of the teams are getting more experience, it’s getting harder to stay ahead on the development curve,” he added. A pumped-up Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle Team USA skipper, is champing at the bit to mix it up with the world’s best sailors. “It’s always good to be pushed and go up against the best,” he said. “We love competition, we love being pushed and that’s what we’re going to get this weekend.” Softbank Team Japan and Groupama Team France were the remaining teams that sailed in yesterday’s 16-20 winds, which provided a test for some of the crews with no experience sailing the AC45F in strong conditions. “Yesterday and today was good for us as it was windy, for the first time for us on these boats,” Franck Cammas, the skipper of Team France, said. “We’re still in a learning process.” Dean Barker, the skipper of Team Japan, who finished second in both practice races, added: “It was good to be back out racing.”

2015. August 28. Artemis Racing have been granted planning permission to begin construction on their fully operational base at Morgan’s Point. The Department of Planning has approved the Swedish challenger’s application to build several temporary structures near the end of the Southampton peninsula, with a floating dock structure to the south. “It’s exciting that we are able to move forward with the build phase of our new base,” the team said. “Our aim is to be fully operational in Bermuda by early next year and, with this good news, we are certainly on target to achieve that.” Artemis’s new headquarters will include three aluminium-framed buildings to be erected on an area already paved with concrete. Two of the buildings will be used for storage, housing the team’s sailing equipment, while the third will include the main team office. A mobile crane will be placed on the site to aid with the boat-launch process. All of the structures are intended to be removed after the America’s Cup has ended. Artemis reached an agreement with Morgan’s Point Ltd to relocate their home base to Bermuda, and specifically to Morgan’s Point in the spring. The developers welcomed the America’s Cup team and granted them 8½ acres of land on the point overlooking the Great Sound. This strategic location, which is very close to the racecourse, allows for ease of access for the team’s AC45 boats to be brought on shore and stored. The point is being enhanced to include a parkland and hospitality areas for VIPs and the team’s growing fan base. “We were happy to provide this much-needed space for Artemis Racing to be able to set up their operations in Bermuda,” said Craig Christensen, the president and chief executive officer of Morgan’s Point. In addition to the sailing team, Artemis intend to bring their research and development team to the Island from California to help with preparations for the 35th America’s Cup. This activity is critical to the development of America’s Cup technology to be used by the team, and fundamental to their operation in Bermuda, as prototypes will be investigated, tested and adjusted in real time with feedback from the team. “The relocation of the team from San Francisco is a great boost to Bermuda’s economy with the increased amount of personnel moving to Bermuda to design and assemble the AC yacht,” Mr Christensen said. “This is an historic event, having an America’s Cup boat assembled right here in Bermuda. Bermuda should be very proud and honored to be a part of this.” Artemis, who are hosting this week’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Gothenburg, formally announced their intended move to Morgan’s Point in June.

2015. August 28.  Artemis Racing’s AC45F has capsized during a practice sail today. The Swedish Challenger’s foiling catamaran capsized in strong winds in Frihamnen Harbor. All of the crew are reported to be safe while the team’s multihull racing yacht is back upright and being towed back to the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Race Village. It now remains to be seen whether Artemis’ boat will make it back out for any of today’s two scheduled practice races. Artemis are the hosts for this week’s second stage of the America’s Cup World Series in Gothenburg featuring all of the six teams, including Oracle Team USA, the defender.

2015. August 21. Land Rover BAR made the perfect start to their campaign to bring the America’s Cup back to British shores with victory at last month’s America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth. The British challenger, led by Olympic great and multiple Argo Group Gold Cup winner Sir Ben Ainslie, were declared the winners after the final day of racing was cancelled due to gale-force winds. Now Ainslie and crew will be keen to build on that success heading into the second stage of the World Series in Gothenburg, Sweden next week to enhance their chances of facing off against Oracle Team USA, the defender, for the ‘Auld Mug’ in Bermuda in 2017. However, while confidence may be running high in the camp, Jonathan Macbeth, the Land Rover BAR Sailing Team Manager, is well aware that there is still work to be done in terms of trying to achieve the team’s primary objective of being the first British team to win the oldest trophy in international sport. “Gothenburg will be the second leg of a long tough series,” Macbeth, a three-times America’s Cup winner, said. “Portsmouth was a great regatta for us, yes it was a good start but by no means was it an indication of the final standing, we have a long, long way to go. As a team we have our feet firmly on the ground, we understand the level of competition. We are certainly not going into Sweden thinking that we’re favorites. When we started this series, I didn’t think there would be one team that dominated, the fleet is just so strong. It is going to come down to the sailors minimizing mistakes. If you look at the way the races developed in Portsmouth there were big gains and losses on the racecourse throughout the build-up and during the weekend. But, at the end of the day, it was the same principals of yachting racing that won or lost races, good tactics can win you the race, poor boat handling could lose you the race. The other thing that was quite evident is that you can never give up. Just when you thought someone was dead and buried, they would come ripping through and be at the front of the fleet again.” Macbeth, who traveled to Bermuda with Land Rover BAR earlier this year for a series of training camps, believes conditions in Gothenburg will “throw up a little bit of everything. Traditionally it looks like it’s quite a light wind venue, but in the daily forecasts that we have been looking at so far there might be a mix of conditions,” he said. “It can be anywhere from 7 — 20 knots, sometimes you can get nothing, on the flip side I have been racing there and experienced quite a lot of wind. So we’re gearing up for everything. It will be a sailor’s racecourse for sure. This regatta will be all about extracting the most from the boat, ensuring that you have good speed in and out of the maneuvers, making sure that the boat is going as fast as possible all the times.” The America’s Cup World Series in Gothenburg will be held from August 27 to 30 and will feature all six America’s Cup teams, including home team Artemis Racing. NB. ESPN has acquired the exclusive multi-platform rights to the 35th America’s Cup. Under the agreement, ESPN International will air live racing and highlights of all events in the 35th America’s Cup, including the America’s Cup World Series in 2015 and 2016; the America’s Cup Qualifiers and Challenger Play-offs; the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup; and the America’s Cup Match in Bermuda in May and June 2017. “We’re happy to be working with the ESPN team again to build on the strength of what we achieved together in the last America’s Cup,” Harvey Schiller, the America’s Cup commercial commissioner, said. “This agreement will bring America’s Cup racing to millions of fans in Mexico, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean.” ESPN will air this month’s America’s Cup World Series in Gothenburg, Sweden, with racing on August 29 and 30.

2015. April 2. Prada fashion house boss Patrizio Bertelli has announced that he is pulling Italy and his Luna Rossa sailing team out of the next America’s Cup in 2017. This follows a decision taken on Tuesday by a majority of the participants to change once again the rules, including the introduction of a new boat, unspecified, but probably a 48-foot foiling catamaran, in place of the published choice and design rules for a 62-foot foiling catamaran. The announcement throws into confusion plans for a warm-up regatta at the Italian team base city of Cagliari in southern Sardinia in June and their participation in the second of the four 2015 warm-up regattas in Portsmouth in July. It appears that both are off the agenda. Bertelli is annoyed at the changes after having spent considerable sums of money developing the designs of the 62-footer. It is not just like Formula 1 saying it will scrap published plans for the car mid-way through their development; it is at the behest of one team, the defender, which also controls the organisation of the next event. Britain’s BAR challenge, headed by Ben Ainslie, had voted in favour of the change, citing cost-cutting as the main reason. But, Ainslie was also against staging an elimination series in Auckland at the beginning of 2017, the year when the next America’s Cup is to be held in Bermuda. Team New Zealand was also against the changes, not least because essential funding, some of it from the government, was dependent on bringing that regatta to New Zealand. It puts New Zealand participation in the whole event in jeopardy. Team New Zealand has been winner of the right to be sole challenger to the Californian holder Oracle Team USA in San Francisco in 2013 and held an 8-1 lead in a first to nine wins final only to go down 9-8. The French challenge had voted in favour of the changes, but still has not been able to announce funding for 2017, so the only two certain challenges are from Britain and Sweden’s Artemis Challenge, led by Ainslie’s friend, rival, and fellow Olympic gold medallist Iain Percy. The organising America’s Cup Event Authority, headed by Harvey Schiller, continues to talk confidently of a late entry from Japan and hopes that the introduction of a supposedly cheaper to build and run boat could even entice other late challengers. In a statement brimming with controlled anger, Luna Rossa said: “Following a careful evaluation of the serious implications of this unprecedented initiative, Team Luna Rossa confirms that it will withdraw from the 35th America’s Cup. “Team Luna Rossa, indeed, considers illegitimate the procedure adopted and founded on an evident abuse of process by surreptitious use of procedures to modify the Protocol in order to overturn the Class Rule, which instead requires the unanimity of the teams entered. This is an attempt to introduce boats that are substantially monotypes and in total contrast with the ultra-centennial tradition of the America’s Cup, not to mention a two-month extension period to introduce further modifications to the rules, decided by the majority. All of the above contributes to a lack of credibility and uncertain technical grounds for what should instead be the most sophisticated sailing competition in the world.” Luna Rossa said it is considering appealing to an arbitration panel, but acknowledged that such a panel has yet to be constituted, and Luna Rossa spokesman Francesco Langanese Cattani said: “The adventure is over.” “We are very sorry to hear the disappointing news regarding Luna Rossa’s future in the America's Cup,” said Ben Ainslie. “They have been great participants in the Cup over the last 15 years, bringing their individual brand of flair, talent and determination.  BAR stands by the importance of the new ‘AC class rule’, which we see as being critical to creating a future for the America's Cup whilst continuing the design challenge which is a passion for so many fans of the Cup.”

Luna Rossa

Team Luna Rossa pulls out of 2017 America's Cup

ACBDA 12/29/2014. This new firm was set up by Government to help run the America's Cup yacht races. The new limited liability company will work closely with the event's ruling body, the America's Cup Event Authority (ACEA), in the run-up to the 2017 finals. ACBDA Ltd will play a critical role in delivering on Bermuda's obligations and making the America's Cup happen. It's a facilitation group, a host group, to assist the ACEA to host these events. ACBDA will work with Wedco, which runs Dockyard, to ensure it was ready for the event and also with the Corporation of Hamilton to guarantee smooth sailing for the America's Cup series races due to be held in October next year. It might work with others to assist with, for example, getting appropriate Government permissions in areas like planning. The new company is similar in structure to the existing Bermuda Land Development Company and will have only one shareholder, the Government. Crew members, representatives of the ACEA and others connected with the events began the move to Bermuda in early 2015. The ACEA has scheduled a series of racing events in Bermuda beginning with the America's Cup World Series. Other events will include the Youth America's Cup in 2017, the America's Cup Challenger Play-offs 2017, the America's Cup Concert Series 2017 and the America's Cup Super-Yacht Regatta 2017, leading up to the finals, to be held in June 2017.  ACBDA is funded by an annual government grant and will be responsible for fulfilling Bermuda's commitments to the event. Peter Durhager, the former chief administrative officer and executive vice-president of RenaissanceRe, is chairman of the board and Mike Winfield  chief executive officer. The board of directors will include John Collis, David Dodwell, Darren Johnston, Warren Jones, Donna Pearman, Denise Riviere, Jasmin Smith and Blythe Walker. ACBDA would represent Bermuda's interests with the America's Cup Event Authority (ACEA), the teams and other parties, and work with ACEA to help to raise sponsorship to offset the Island's financial guarantee commitments. The body will play a central role in helping Government and Bermuda fulfill its responsibilities as the host venue for the America's Cup 2017. The ACBDA will have the ability to hire a small staff, engage consultants and enter into contracts in order to carry out its responsibilities. During its operation, the ACBDA will be funded by an annual grant from the Ministry of Economic Development, much like the Bermuda Business Development Agency. Mr Durhager recently retired from RenaissanceRe and played a key role in the success of the Bermuda bid. The ACBDA will help deliver Bermuda commitments under the host venue agreement with the ACEA. It will liaise between the ACEA and Bermuda, and assist the ACEA, Oracle Team USA and challenging teams in relocating to and operating in Bermuda. It will represent Bermuda's interests across all parties, including defining a positive long-term legacy and ensure effective communication within the Bermuda community relating to the America's Cup.

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