America’s Cup vox pop: Central parishes
As soon as the official announcement was made yesterday afternoon that Bermuda would be hosting the America's Cup finals, The Royal Gazette's reporting staff fanned out across the island to gauge reaction to the news. The event is predicted to spur an infusion of capital investment that Bermuda has not seen in decades — as well as provide the breathtaking spectacle of huge state-of-the-art catamarans flying along and out of the water in their respective bids to win the coveted ornate silver trophy. In the west and to the east, and from every demographic sector, the response was one of delight and excitement. There are concerns — accommodating potentially hundreds of thousands of visitors who would come to view the racing being the principal worry among Bermuda residents, but for now, it is time to celebrate.
Ashton Thomas, of Southampton, who is retired, said: “I think it's a great idea. Bermuda needs something like this the way the economy is. I'm not a sailor, but I will be out there to watch it myself.”
David Thomas, Jamaican Grill manager/owner, Pembroke: “It's needed, plenty of jobs, better of exposure for the island's business and people.
“The more people here — the more opportunity for us. I'm not into sailing but I admire them. I've absolutely not seen anything as big as this come to the Island and I was born here. Nothing of this magnitude – I hope they don't sink us.”
Vernal Davis, a nurse and tennis pro from Smith's, said: “It will be fantastic — in terms of people coming here and I hope they fill our hotels right up. I've done a little sailing in the past, but not much lately”
Mr Davis added that the event was an ideal springboard to attract other major sporting events, like major women's golf tournaments, to replace the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
Anita Simons, secretary, Sandys: “I think its excitement and I look forward to being a part of the America's Cup I just hope we have the space and accommodation to accommodate all the spectators that we hope to receive. I have sailed but not racing but I love it.
“I think its going to trickle down into the community and everyone will hopefully be able to be on the receiving end of so many people coming in.”
Professional fisherman Wyman Minks, from Hamilton Parish, said: “I want to go and see it, anyway. I've never sailed but I'm a fisherman, so I'm always out on the water. I have no problems with them bringing the America's Cup here. I'll be happy to see it.”
Union leader Chris Furbert said: “It could be good for the country and it's something that could galvanise the country.”
The BIU president added: “It needs to be handled in the right manner so that we can get jobs for Bermudians. This is a time for Bermuda to come together in the interests of the country.”
Nicola Ellis-Cole, a therapist at a Hamilton hair and beauty salon, said she had just heard the news from a colleague — and admitted she thought it was a golf tournament.
But Ms Ellis-Cole, from Pembroke, said: “It will be great — if it improves tourism, I'm all for it. And if it means more activity for local businesses, I'm all for that too.”
She admitted: “I didn't even know what it was and I don't sail — but I'll certainly become interested.”
Steve Simons, managing director, Spinning Wheel, Pembroke: “If it lives up to the expectations then Bermuda will be in good standing. We look forward to hosting people from all over the world. I would say I am cautiously optimistic. I look forward to the excitement and hopefully it will benefit the Island.”
Gap year student Alex Joll, from Warwick, said: “I'm sure it's going to bring tourists to Bermuda — and as long as the Americans don't win, I'll be happy.
“It will bring a lot of money and you can't argue with that — we all like money, so they are welcome. And maybe it'll help get us out of our debt and create more jobs.”
Emma Lockstone, hairdresser, Paget: “I think it's a massive thing and it's really, really good. I can't wait for it to happen.
“I just think even if they have no interest in it everyone is going to be overwhelmed by the whole thing. Everyone will have a new interest by the end of it.”