Shrubb so proud on Bermuda’s big day
Peter Shrubb has his work cut out for him throughout the 35th America's Cup.
The former Royal Bermuda Yacht Club commodore will assist the umpires as a spotter during racing on the Great Sound, a role that he is looking forward to.
“I'm in a supporting role on the umpire team, trying to make sure the boat stays out of trouble away from all the other boats, so the umpires can do their job effectively and efficiently,” said Shrubb, who will also serve as an umpire during the J Class and Superyacht regattas.
“It's a good safety feature and good for them to be able to do their job properly without having to worry about what else is going on around them.”
Shrubb experienced first-hand how hazardous modern-day America's Cup racing can be when the umpire's boat he was on ploughed into Artemis Racing during the pre-start at Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Bermuda in October 2015. The collision propelled the local umpire between the two boats, and only his helmet and the quick thinking of the Artemis crew saved his life.
“That was an unfortunate situation and I will not be going out in the water without a helmet on,” Shrubb said. “I don't care how light it is and I think everyone feels the same way these days.”
The latest generation of foiling America's Cup Class catamarans are much faster than the one-design AC45F catamarans used during the World Series. “Yesterday we were out for a practice day and it was blowing about 16 knots and we topped out going downwind at about 43 knots, which is about 48mph, and we're just about keeping up with the boats,” Shrubb said. “We weren't going faster and when they bear away they can get up to speeds even faster than that.”
Shrubb first officiated at the 2007 America's Cup in Valencia, Spain — the first time the “Auld Mug” was defended in foreign waters — as will be the case for two-times defending champions Oracle Team USA this time around.
“I am a lucky young man; it's pretty special for anybody to be able to do two America's Cups,” Shrubb said. “I just feel really fortunate to be involved in the things I have been involved in. Not everybody gets an opportunity to. You have to do be dedicated to do the job, this umpiring thing, making sure you know the rules and work hard and do as many events as you can and do a good job.
“Eventually, if you get in the right place at the right time, you can be selected for special things. It's just a matter of dedicating yourself to it like anything else in life. You dedicate yourself to it and good things happen.”
As for Bermuda hosting sailing's holy grail for the first time, Shrubb said: “It's always been a vision for a lot of people. They would be proud of what Bermuda is doing and how far we've come since the days of the beginning of the King Edward VII Gold Cup.
“I have been involved in sailing for a long time and have always advocated that we should have sailing recognised as a national sport.
“This just goes to show we are on the world stage and we can host any event now. It's a good testament to the hard work that everyone has done on this island.”