Bermuda to miss out on hosting 2016 race
Bermuda’s hopes of hosting the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series next year now appear slim.
During last night’s well attended America’s Cup Town Hall meeting at St Paul’s AME Church, Sam Hollis, the America’s Cup Event Authority chief operating officer, rolled out the venues that have been confirmed for 2016 as well as those that could potentially play host to the two-year series.
Excluded from the shortlist was Bermuda which will host the event next month.
The two cities confirmed to host the America’s Cup World Series next year are Chicago, in June, and Portsmouth, England, in July.
Four other venues, Abu Dhabi, New York, Gothenburg, Sweden and Tokyo, Japan were mentioned among the list, but have yet to be confirmed as hosts. Portsmouth and Gothenburg both hosted the series this summer.
During a lengthy presentation, that included a highlight video of the two America’s Cup World Series events already held this year, Hollis provided further insight into the various activities surrounding next month’s America’s Cup World Series in Bermuda at the Event Village on Front Street and also on the water.
He also revealed that organisers have not ruled out the possibility of racing being held in Hamilton Harbour instead of in the Great Sound.
“In an ideal world, if all of the stars were aligned, we would have racing in the harbour,” he said. “That’s still a possibility, but we are planning to have the racing in the Great Sound.
“The second race each day we hope to bring the sailors through Two Rock Passage and have them finish right in front of the fans.
“Not just for the fans, but also for our television broadcast for the millions of people around the world to see that spectacular image of those boats flying through Two Rock, and then finishing in front of the fans down on Front Street, which should be pretty cool.”
Sir Russell Coutts, the America’s Cup Event Authority CEO, added: “Technically we wouldn’t want to compromise the integrity of the racing, that’s the key really. So, we would only ever consider doing that if the wind direction was aligned perfectly, and the wind was light enough because these boats are so fast that we could get a proper course inside of the harbour.
“Realistically it would have to be an easterly or westerly wind direction and have to be a relatively light wind for us to even contemplate doing that.”
The America’s Cup World Series event in Bermuda will be held from October 16 to 18 and will feature all six America’s Cup teams competing on foiling, wing-sailed 45ft catamarans known as the AC45F.
The Series is the first stage of competition for the 35th America’s Cup to be held in Bermuda in 2017 and an early opportunity for the teams to put points on the board that carry forward into the next stages of the competition.
The winner of the America’s Cup World Series will carry a two-point advantage into the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers. The winner of the qualifier, also involving Oracle Team USA, the defender, will then go into the America’s Cup Match with a one point advantage.
Cup organisers also confirmed that next month’s America’s Cup World Series will be televised and broadcast live on ZFB TV 7 and on Power 95 and FM89.
They also revealed that the Event Village will feature as many as 59 local businesses while 530 private and public school students that meet the criteria will receive free tickets to watch live racing aboard two ferries.
*Eugene “Penny” Simmons, the Bermuda skipper, will look to sign off from the 2015 International One Design World Championship on a strong note during today’s final day of racing off Nantucket Island.
Simmons’s hopes of defending his crown have already been dashed and the only thing left at stake will be pride heading into the final two races of the nine race series.
The veteran sailor started yesterday in twelfth and managed to climb one spot up the leaderboard after posting a thirteenth, tenth and sixth.