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Heartbeat of the fan experience

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It is fair to say the sprawling America's Cup Village looks every bit a complex worthy of the “greatest race on water”.

The bespoke structure built on Cross Island — a nine-acre parcel of reclaimed land — will be the heartbeat of the America's Cup, offering something for everybody from hardcore fans to first-timers.

Not only is the Village the home of five of the six teams competing for the “Auld Mug”, it will be the entertainment hub for the thousands of spectators expected to descend on Royal Naval Dockyard over the next month.

For a competition that has existed since 1851, as the oldest international sporting trophy, Bermuda is already promising to be a host like no other, certainly in terms of its natural beauty and spectator experience.

Hanging above the entrance of the Village, a short stroll up Cut Wharf Drive, is a Team Oracle USA test boat, both beautiful to look at and awe-inspiring in size and impact.

It is the type of flying foiling machine that Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, and his team-mates will use to defend the title they won in San Francisco in 2013 in one of the greatest sporting comebacks, having trailed Emirates Team New Zealand 8-1.

Glenn Ashby's Kiwis — the last of the teams to arrive in Bermuda, opting to stay in Auckland during their testing and development period — are joined by Dean Barker's SoftBank Team Japan, Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR and Franck Cammas's Groupama Sailing Team in calling the Village home.

Artemis Racing, skippered by Nathan Outteridge, are based at Morgan's Point, the former US Naval Air Station, although they do have a hospitality presence in the Village.

If you did not already know, hospitality is a crucial ingredient in the America's Cup onshore mix.

There is no doubt the Village will be the place to see and be seen in Bermuda, whether at the Gosling's Dark ‘n Stormy Island, the VIP hospitality at the Longtail Lounge or rubbing shoulders with the high rollers at the exclusive AC Club, with its breathtaking panoramic views of the Great Sound.

While the Village will undoubtedly cater for the rich and famous, whose extravagant superyachts — some of the most impressive the world — fringe the edges of the reclaimed land, there is still much on offer for those whose pockets are not quite as deep.

There are plenty of familiar faces in the Village with cuisine at concession stands from local favourites such as Docksider Pub & Restaurant, Smokin' Barrel, Devil's Isle Café and Rosa's Cantina.

For those looking for family fun, a nautical-themed adventure playground — to be donated to Botanical Gardens after the event — should keep the children happy while their parents relax with a cold one at the shaded picnic tables, enjoying live local bands.

All of the entertainment and festivities are a mere sideshow for the main event, however, when the star-studded teams will go head-to-head for the right to face holders Oracle in the America's Cup matches.

The grandstand, with a 750-people capacity, offer some of the best seats in the house, with its stunning vantage point creating the stadium-style racing the organisers believe will add to the allure of the show.

Sir Russell Coutts, CEO of the America's Cup Event Authority, has been involved with the America's Cup since 1990 and has no doubt the purpose-built Village is the best in its history.

“The Village has been customised for this sort of event,” he said. “You've got spectacular views of the racecourse and it's also a really nice location. All of the teams are based here so you will be able to see the boats being prepared each morning. It's just about big enough for what we need and I'm sure the atmosphere will be great on race day.”

Artemis has a partial presence at the America's Cup Village, with their main base in Morgan's Point (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Scenes of the AC Village in Dockyard, 1 day ahead of the official start of the event (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Scenes of the AC Village in Dockyard, 1 day ahead of the official start of the event (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Scenes of the AC Village in Dockyard, 1 day ahead of the official start of the event (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Scenes of the AC Village in Dockyard, 1 day ahead of the official start of the event (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Scenes of the AC Village in Dockyard, 1 day ahead of the official start of the event (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Scenes of the AC Village in Dockyard, 1 day ahead of the official start of the event (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Scenes of the AC Village in Dockyard, 1 day ahead of the official start of the event (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Scenes of the AC Village in Dockyard, 1 day ahead of the official start of the event (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Scenes of the AC Village in Dockyard, 1 day ahead of the official start of the event (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Scenes of the AC Village in Dockyard, 1 day ahead of the official start of the event (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Scenes of the AC Village in Dockyard, 1 day ahead of the official start of the event (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Scenes of the AC Village in Dockyard, 1 day ahead of the official start of the event (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Scenes of the AC Village in Dockyard, 1 day ahead of the official start of the event (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Scenes of the AC Village in Dockyard, 1 day ahead of the official start of the event (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published May 26, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated May 25, 2017 at 11:55 pm)

Heartbeat of the fan experience

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