‘We will bring Cup back’
Bermuda could get more America’s Cup excitement in years to come, Larry Ellison told the crowd on Saturday night — as long as his team does its job on the water.
“If we sail fast enough we are definitely going to come back,” Mr Ellison, founder of Oracle Team USA, remarked from the stage at a spectacular opening ceremony.
“We are thrilled to be here sailing in the most beautiful sailing venue in the world.”
Mr Ellison joined Michael Dunkley and Grant Gibbons in rallying the audience as the 35th America’s Cup was given its official send-off at the end of a day of sailing and festivities.
During his speech, the Premier said: “We will not disappoint you. This is our time to shine. We are going to have a wonderful six weeks and the world will never forget Bermuda.”
Mr Dunkley later hailed the opening weekend of the America’s Cup as an “incredible spectacle” that showcased the island in an “amazing light” and urged Bermudians to get behind the island’s Red Bull team.
“Being able to see all of the hard work become a reality should fill all of Bermuda with an overwhelming sense of pride,” Mr Dunkley said.
“The atmosphere in Dockyard was truly a magical experience and Bermuda looked absolutely stunning on live TV.
“There were sceptics when we won the right to host the America’s Cup, with some even saying we could not deliver the event. But I am confident that after this weekend, those criticisms have been silenced.”
Dr Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, said: “It’s truly extraordinary to stand here with you tonight knowing that 2½ years ago even the land we’re standing on didn’t exist.
“Bermuda had just won the right to host the 35th America’s Cup, and I remember riding with Sir Russell Coutts and that big, silver trophy along Bermuda’s roads, as the smiles and cheers of hundreds of schoolchildren welcomed the Cup to our island.
“But the very next day, we rolled up our sleeves and set our sights on keeping Bermuda’s promise to create a fantastic venue for the 35th America’s Cup.
“We were presented with a very high bar: creating nine acres of new land, developing infrastructure and utilities, establishing plans for transportation and security and health, engaging the community and ensuring opportunity and jobs for Bermudians.
“So we find ourselves here tonight, having kept our promises and proud of Bermuda’s achievement. And the achievement is truly Bermuda’s.
“More than a thousand Bermudians, most of them volunteers, have played a part in fulfilling what was once just a dream. Others have been gracious hosts to the hundreds of America’s Cup staff, team members and families who have integrated so smoothly into our community.
“To all Bermudians who have given their time, professional skill and moral support to the event, I can’t thank you enough.”
America’s Cup Bermuda CEO Mike Winfield said in a statement yesterday: “Bermuda has celebrated the day we’ve all worked so hard towards, the first day of hosting the largest international event ever staged on Bermuda soil.
“Bermuda has a lot to be proud of, we have achieved a great deal. We have shown that Bermuda has what it takes to host a world-class event and with most of the steep learning curves behind us, we now know what to expect in hosting any future large-scale event.
“The planning and processes that have been developed throughout, are a part of the legacy that has been created in the last two years.”