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America’s Cup: D-Day for Bermuda

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Michael Dunkley remained cautiously optimistic about Bermuda's chances of hosting the 35th America's Cup on the eve of today's venue announcement in New York.

Either Bermuda or San Diego will get the nod to host the next instalment of sailing's greatest race at today's press conference at an undisclosed location in Manhattan, which will be attended by the world's media.

Recent unofficial media reports have already declared Bermuda as the winner.

But those pulling the strings behind Bermuda's bid have kept their feet planted firmly on the ground and chosen instead to wait until the America's Cup Event Authority (ACEA) makes an official announcement.

Upon his arrival in the Big Apple yesterday, the Premier declared that “these are very exciting” times for Bermuda, with so much now at stake in terms of the enormous revenue and media exposure that the Island will receive from hosting one of the world's biggest sporting events.

“Should Bermuda be chosen as the home of the America's Cup, this would be an extraordinary opportunity that aligns perfectly with our heritage and spirit,” Mr Dunkley said.

Today's press conference announcing the venue for the America's Cup can be followed live online at americascup.com from 12.30pm.

“I encourage all of the country to follow tomorrow's events,” Mr Dunkley added.

It is also expected that rules governing the Cup will be rolled out at today's press conference.

The Premier is being accompanied in New York by Dr Grant Gibbons, Minister for Economic Development, who is spearheading the Island's bid, as well as other members of the Bermuda America's Cup Organising Committee.

Should Bermuda be successful, it will mark the first time that a United States team has defended the prestigious cup in foreign waters.

Oracle Team USA, who are based at the Golden Gate Yacht Club in San Francisco, are the America's Cup holders.

Last September in San Francisco, Oracle pulled off arguably the greatest comeback in sporting history to retain the Auld Mug that it won from the Swiss boat Alinghi in Valencia, Spain, in 2010.

The America's Cup is the oldest trophy in international sport. Its origins date back to 1851, when the schooner America, for which the trophy is named, defeated the best of the British fleet in a race around the Isle of Wight.

The trophy won that day was donated in trust through a Deed of Gift and has since become an iconic symbol of achievement.

Last month, the Associated Press reported that Bermuda had been chosen ahead of San Diego to host the Cup.

This was further supported by Joe Terzi, chief executive of the San Diego Tourism Authority, who told the U-T San Diego newspaper that Bermuda got the nod because of the “financial incentives” the Island could offer.

Several newspapers around the world published the AP report, but government officials in Bermuda have declined to comment on any sensitive matters surrounding the bidding process because of a non-disclosure agreement between themselves and the ACEA, headed up by Russell Coutts, the most decorated skipper in local King Edward VII Gold Cup history.

James Spithill, who skippered Oracle to that sensational victory over Emirates Team New Zealand last year, is also a past Gold Cup winner.

Sea monster: High speed catamarans, the likes of Emirates Team New Zealand, could grace the seas of Bermuda should the Island win their bid for next 37th America's Cup in 2017

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Published December 02, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 02, 2014 at 12:52 pm)

America’s Cup: D-Day for Bermuda

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