Bermuda’s pride as America’s Cup opens
Michael Dunkley declared “today is a proud day for Bermuda” at the ribbon cutting ceremony of the America's Cup Village in Dockyard.
Large numbers of people were on hand for the momentous occasion held under glorious morning sunshine.
Patriotic spectators waved Bermuda flags as the Premier, America's Cup Event Authority chief executive Sir Russell Coutts and America's Cup Endeavour programme participant Ocean Archeval, 13, of Bermuda Institute, cut the ceremonial ribbon at the entrance of the race village.
“To stand there with Ocean and to cut the ribbon is a tremendous accomplishment for a small place like Bermuda,” Mr Dunkley said. “We've always punched above our weight and it's just a wonderful experience to be in this position.
“Today I understand there is going to be 11,200 people in the event village and 2½ years ago we would have been with the turtles. But today here we are with the eyes of the world watching upon us and this goes to prove that despite some challenges we face from time to time Bermudians we get it done and so it's a very proud day for all of Bermuda.”
Sir Russell added: “What a Bermudian day, this is fantastic. Everyone is going to have a great time here today.
“We're going to see some good racing and the village is looking great. Really looking forward to a big day.”
Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economics and Development who played a massive role in delivering a successful bid, was also among the dignitaries on hand for the ceremony.
“I'm excited we've finally made it through all of the hard work of literally thousands of people that volunteered to put this together and I think it's tremendous,” he said. “We could not have asked for better weather and nicer breeze.
“There‘s a real buzz in the air and it's exciting and I feel so proud of what we've accomplished here today. It's terrific and the best is yet to come.”
Mike Winfield, the ACBDA chief executive, added: “I think the only word I can give is overwhelming. This has been thousands of man hours, volunteers and Bermudians putting in their best time and time again and it's paid off.
“We managed to cut the ribbon and have lots and lots of happy faces, and let's hope it continues for the next five weeks.”
Racing is scheduled for 2pm until 5pm, with Wyclef Jean set to entertain the crowds from 5.15pm before an official opening ceremony at 8.30pm.