America’s Cup: our time to shine
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,” Dr Gibbons said.
“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.”
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