AC35: Course praised by champions
Representatives of the syndicates taking part in the 35th America's Cup are giving Bermuda's two-mile course in the Great Sound the thumbs up.
“It's a great little track,” said Jimmy Spithill, skipper of America's Cup holders Oracle Team USA. “It is tight, which is perfect.
“The past America's Cups were long courses, way offshore, not that exciting and almost impossible to see.
“Now, as you saw in the last edition, it's stadium sailing. It's about getting the fans on the sidelines like at a football match, and this racecourse allows that. The downside of San Francisco, as great as it was last time as a racetrack, was you couldn't see the entire racetrack — and that's a big flaw.
“The great thing about Bermuda is that you can see the entire track from the start to finish, and every turning gate.”
Mr Spithill, a former King Edward VII Gold Cup winner, believes that Bermuda's shifty conditions will encourage exciting and tactical racing.
“From my experience racing in Bermuda, you get quite a variation of conditions, which just means good racing,” he said.
“That means passing and to have good racing, you have to have passing. We will get that in Bermuda.
“It won't be a one-way track and it's a new track, so for all of us as sailors, it's something that's really interesting to get out there and learn. It's a tight track and a tight track is better because it just means more action and more opportunities for passing.”
Echoing Spithill's sentiments was Sir Ben Ainslie, a multiple Gold Cup winner and the most decorated sailor in Olympic history, winning medals at five consecutive Games.
“I have had some great experiences racing there in the Gold Cup,” Ainslie said. “It's a great venue, so I'm looking forward to it.
“As a British team, we have historic ties to Bermuda, so we're absolutely delighted that they are able to host the America's Cup.
“I want to congratulate the Premier and all Bermudians.”
Massimiliano Sirena, of Luna Rossa Challenge, also endorsed the 2017 America's Cup course.
“It is a great place to sail and as a team we are looking forward to being there in 2017 and 2015 for the AC45s,” he said.
“This is something new, which is going to give us an opportunity to move forward with this new evolution of the America's Cup.”
Kevin Shoebridge, chief operating officer of Emirates Team New Zealand, said: “Bermuda is a fantastic sailing venue.
“It's an Island with a huge maritime history and there will be absolute engagement by all of the Bermudian public to really support the event. We will have a really amazing event there.”