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Gearing up for the Cup

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More than 500 people attended a roof-wetting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the America’s Cup base for SoftBank Team Japan.

Michael Dunkley, the Premier, performed the traditional honours, capping a five-month construction programme along the Dockyard waterfront.

SoftBank Team Japan’s general manager, Kazuhiko Sofuku, who proposed a ceremonial sake toast at the opening, said: “Unbelievable! I am really proud of our team. Since the end of last year, we’ve put lots of effort into building our base along with our sailing programme. It was an enormous amount of hard work for a small team in such a short time but it proved that we could achieve a big task as we work together.”

Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, said: “The sake toast and traditional Bermuda roof wetting were a wonderful cultural exchange and it was great to see such a big crowd out for the event.

“Everyone that I’ve spoken to at SoftBank Team Japan has been delighted with the support they’ve received here in Bermuda. I’d like to thank everyone involved, from local contractors to movers to Bermudian members of their team for all the hard work in getting them set up so quickly and successfully.”

The new base is constructed primarily out of renovated shipping containers, and consists of training facilities, a hospitality suite, management offices, athlete locker rooms, design offices, and a wing shed.

Mike Winfield, the CEO of America’s Cup Bermuda, said: “This is another important milestone in the America’s Cup journey for Bermuda.

“Of course, SoftBank Team Japan was not even entered into the America’s Cup when we won the bid, so we’re especially happy that they decided to set up their main base here and bring the entire team, which is about 40 families, to Bermuda.

“This is our third America’s Cup roof wetting, so we’ve got three more to go.”

Oracle Team USA and Artemis Racing have already opened bases of operations.

Party time: Japanese clothing was worn by some and traditional music performed as SoftBank Team Japan celebrated the completion of their America’s Cup base. The facility, right, is built primarily out of renovated shipping containers and features training facilities, a hospitality suite, management offices, athlete locker rooms and a wing shed
Dock and roll: hundreds gathered for the roof-wetting party at the new base of SoftBank Team Japan, with Michael Dunkley performing the traditional honours, above. Below, the Premier, second left, was accompanied by, from left, SoftBank general manager Kazuhiko Sofuku, skipper Dean Barker and Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development