Speculation increases linking Bermuda with regatta
Bermuda has again been linked with an international racing circuit being touted about showcasing the foiling catamarans used in the 35th America's Cup, which the island successfully hosted last year.
In an article published by Sail World, Tom Ehman, a former America's Cup sailor and Oracle Team USA head of external affairs, suggests that Bermuda will host an event on the proposed AC50 World Series circuit next year.
He also named six teams said to be interested in competing on the tour, among them four of those involved in Bermuda last summer.
Ehman, who said his information came from “highly reliable” sources, also suggested that the first regatta of the AC50 World Series circuit will take place from October 28 to November 1 this year in San Francisco, the headquarters of Oracle Team USA.
Local authorities have yet to comment on the proposed AC50 tour. However, Pat Phillip-Fairn, the Bermuda Tourism Authority chief product and experiences development officer, stated in a press release announcing this year's BTA Bermuda sailing calendar that “ongoing talks continue, potentially adding more events for 2018 and 2019”.
The Royal Gazette revealed last October that plans were in the works for the launch of a world series circuit involving the wing-sailed AC50 multihull racing yachts, with the island among the potential host venues.
Speculation over the proposal heightened after various reports suggested that Larry Ellison, the Oracle owner, “is believed to be close to announcing the series” to be contested at a number of venues around the world.
The tour will be based on the same concept that software billionaire Ellison used to change the face of America's Cup racing, with the introduction of the high-speed hydrofoiling catamarans and spectator-friendly courses for the 34th and 35th editions of the America's Cup, held in San Francisco and Bermuda.
The 34th America's Cup featured 72-foot foiling catamarans, which were replaced by the AC50 in Bermuda four years later.
Emirates Team New Zealand beat Oracle 7-1 in the final to exact revenge on the defender, who overcame an 8-1 deficit to claim the title in San Francisco in 2013.
The AC50 is the smallest class raced in the America's Cup and capable of speeds approaching 60mph.