Ready to embrace world stage
Next month’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event will both highlight Bermuda on the world stage and introduce the series to the Island’s public.
“I think at its core this weekend is really about sport,” America’s Cup communications director Peter Rusch said yesterday.
“It’s about the best sailing teams in the world racing some of the fastest boats on the planet for points that go towards the America’s Cup.
“More than that, it’s an opportunity for Bermuda and the America’s Cup to get to know each other. While Oracle Team USA has already moved here, this is really the first time we’ve had a public facing event.
“I think what makes this event so important to Bermuda is it’s a real opportunity to show the America’s Cup what Bermuda is all about and for America’s Cup to show the world what Bermuda is all about.
“Everything from the event village to the racecourse and the conditions and seeing the six teams here and training for a couple of days and racing. I think this is going to be the first time it clicks.”
While he said Bermuda has already garnered some attention through the earlier America’s Cup World Series events, the upcoming races will be the first time America’s Cup fans get to see Bermuda in action.
“I think a big element for Bermuda is how this gets showcased on the national stage via the media,” he said. “It will be on television in more than 100 territories worldwide, and that list keeps growing.
“On top of that there’s the magazines, the newspapers, the photographs that go out showing Bermuda. That kind of coverage is incredible value in terms of the legacy that the America’s Cup leaves for Bermuda.
“Bermuda has already been exposed as the BTA is a partner, and Bermuda has been showcased through the various activations at the locations of the earlier races, but to see the pictures of the Great Sound and the colour of the water on television, it’s really going to be pretty cool.”
Events are set to kick off on Friday, October 16 with an opening ceremony, with festivities continuing throughout the weekend. While races will take place in the Great Sound, those in the event village will be able to view the race live via a big screen and the later races on both days are expected to finish off of Front Street.
“It’s slightly weather dependent,” he said. “It’s not guaranteed, like everything in sailing, but that’s the plan. That’s the goal. Seeing them race through Two Rock is going to be fantastic.”
Meanwhile, dozens of vendors will set up shop in the area along with a Fun Zone, which will feature a zip line running over the water from No 5 Car Park to the back of the flagpole.
Concessions manager Chris Garland said: “The Harbour Nights theme has been a strong one for a long time, and this is a strengthened, tightened version of that with everything from arts and crafts to jewellery to hand-made Bermudian products to food vendors that bring that local flavour to the table.”
He also noted the Endeavour programme, which he said could have a lasting impact on the Island by introducing young people to sailing.
“I know it’s a big part of what the America’s Cup would like to leave, if they do leave Bermuda, and that is exciting from a young Bermudian’s perspective,” he said. “They are not just speaking about it. There is passion behind it, and you will see their set-up on event nights and days in the city.”
Meanwhile, Eugene Dean, who will be managing the Fun Zone, said the event village will have something for everyone.
“Some will come for the sailing, some will come for the entertainment, some people will come because there are activities for their kids, some people will come because it’s just a nice opportunity to spend time with their family,” Mr Dean said. “Everyone likes a festival, everyone likes to have fun.
“I’m very positive about this because of my involvement with other festivals on Front Street has always been very positive.
“When we had the 400th anniversary thousands of people came out. When we had the Tall Ships down on Front Street we had thousands of people who came out and attended.
“Bermudians have historically supported things like this very well and I think it will be the same thing for the America’s Cup.
“It is important to get the right mix and I think the team has done a good job in getting Bermudians involved to make this experience unique.”