Log In

Reset Password
BERMUDA | RSS PODCAST

Boatyards champing at the bit for invasion

Hosting an event the magnitude of the America's Cup will require Bermuda to accommodate an army of support staff and press, on top of unprecedented numbers of visitors.

So far, the Ministry of Home Affairs has held back from commenting on how local officials will deal with the flood of overseas workers — from mechanics to media — that will accompany the 35th America's Cup.

However, business as usual seems unlikely for the Department of Immigration, which will have to issue work permits for hordes of support staff, including engineers and designers.

Officials from the America's Cup Event Authority will set up shop long term, along with teams from news organisations around the world.

“It would be a boom, not only for cargo shipping,” said Joe Simas, Meyer Agencies' vice-president of marine operations. “There would be specially built vessels bringing yachts into Bermuda — and, Bermuda having a low bed count, there would be extra cruise ships coming in. It would be very big for the entire Island, not just shipping.”

For an industry whose imports have dropped precipitously in recent years, the influx of materials and manpower required for the Cup will prove an enormous boost.

“Volumes into Bermuda are extremely low, so we stand to gain in a big way from this,” Warren Jones, CEO of Polaris Holding Company, said. “When you consider the size of the teams, and the fact that they will most likely move to Bermuda for an extended period to get ready, it's big. There is also potential for the craft to be built here.

“All that equipment coming in does not create any problem for the docks. During our heyday, when Bermuda was booming, we were seeing almost double the numbers we're seeing now. The potential is that all ports could see equipment coming in.”

Mr Jones added: “For us, there's nothing that we need to do differently, but as a country it represents a huge shift from what we've been experiencing. It is a game-changer for Bermuda over at least three years.”

The local boating community will be kept busy, but the high-tech yachts will require their own highly specialised support staff.

A spokeswoman for West End Yachts said the company, like other local boatyards, would bring in a wealth of supplies to cater to the America's Cup, but said the expertise would likely come from abroad.

“Nobody will be able to touch the boats if they're not qualified,” she said. “This is like Nascar; they'll have their own team. These things are balanced down to eighths of an inch and ounces. They will have their own team to take care of that.”

Whatever the numbers, the Cup's impact on the Island stands to be profound: San Francisco, which hosted last year's America's Cup, took in about $325 million in visitor spending — and the city hosted some 700,000 people for the event.

Joe Simas, of Meyer Agencies

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published December 02, 2014 at 12:49 pm (Updated December 02, 2014 at 8:18 pm)

Boatyards champing at the bit for invasion

What you
Need to
Know
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon