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Gibbons gets tips in Sweden for World Series

Gathering ideas: Grant Gibbons in Gothenburg yesterday (Photograph by Colin Thompson)

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 organisation 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.”

The minister said that October’s America’s Cup World Series had been sparking the interests of potential visitors who might not otherwise have travelled 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.