America’s Cup delegates pay Bermuda a visit
A delegation from cup holders Oracle Team USA is presently in Bermuda to scrutinise the Island’s bid to host the 2017 America’s Cup, The Royal Gazette can reveal.
Team Oracle USA officials travelled to Bermuda this week to meet with a team, headed up by Economic Development Minister Grant Gibbons, that submitted the bid to host the 2017 America’s Cup earlier this year.
Bermuda, Chicago and San Diego are among the remaining bids.
The details of the Bermuda bid remain secret because of a confidentiality clause agreed with Oracle Team USA.
A Bermuda race would create another precedent in that it would be the first time that an American defender has taken the venue from the United States.
It was confirmed yesterday that San Francisco, who hosted the previous America’s Cup last year, has been ruled out of hosting the event again in 2017.
Oracle Team USA CEO and America’s Cup Event Authority director Russell Coutts confirmed news reports that San Francisco hadn’t made the shortlist to host the 35th sailing regatta.
“Given the tight timeline and demands from prospective teams to confirm the final venue, it has been necessary to continue reducing the shortlist of candidate cities,” Mr Coutts wrote in an e-mail to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “We have therefore taken the difficult decision to no longer consider San Francisco as a possible candidate to host AC35.”
The letter gives no explanation, but mayor Mr Lee has been adamant that the city not use general fund money to host the event after losing $11.5 million in city funds on the sailing races last year. In addition, the mayor wanted the race organisers to pay rent on the piers and to pay prevailing union wages for construction projects.
Those demands appear to have been rejected by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Mr Coutts, who is a seven-times winner of the King Edward VII Gold Cup, contested annually in local waters.
San Francisco hosted the America’s Cup last year. As last year’s winner, Oracle CEO Mr Ellison gets to make the ultimate decision on the host city.
Bermuda will learn by the end of the month if it has made the final round of bidding for the 2017 America’s Cup.
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