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Shrubb backs Bermuda to be the perfect host

Overdue: Peter Shrubb

An America’s Cup in local waters is something that has been long overdue, according to Peter Shrubb, the ISAF International umpire and judge.

Bermuda was announced as the hosts of the America’s Cup in 2017 at a press conference in New York last week. It was a decision that Shrubb believes was a long time coming given the Island’s ideal sailing conditions.

“Bermuda has always been a great place for sailing,” he said. “The conditions here have always been ideal for America’s Cup racing.

“Every place has its days when there’s no wind and days when there’s too much wind. On the whole I think our sailing conditions are as good as anywhere in the world if not better.”

Shrubb has first-hand experience of being directly involved in the America’s Cup having officiated at the 2007 event in Valencia, Spain.

“It was absolutely an honour to be involved in the America’s Cup which is the pinnacle of sailing,” the past Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore said.

“For sailors it’s like going to sailing heaven where you want to be with all the top sailors, top race officials, top rules advisers, top yacht and sail designers and tacticians and strategists.

“You are working with people that are really on the top end of the scale and it’s pretty exciting to be there with them and just discussing the intricacies of sailing with them is an amazing thing to do.”

These days state-of-the-art technology plays a major part in the officiating at the America’s Cup.

“Now you’ve got GPS units much more accurate than they have ever been and you can do a lot of it from inshore. You can see the positions of the boats but you do need on the water people who can give you a precise distance of how close the boats got,” Shrubb said.

“While you can see on the GPS that the boats were close you cannot actually see exactly how close, so you still need people on the water.”

Having already sampled a dose of officiating in the America’s Cup, Shrubb said that he would love an opportunity to be involved in some capacity again.

“I would be lucky to be involved again but I won’t probably be involved in umpiring because there are a lot of younger guys coming along and we need to give them a chance to get the exposure and the opportunities that we had,” he said.

“I am lucky to have done an America’s Cup and Olympics and those kind of things, so now it’s time to let other people have the same enjoyment and same excitement doing those events. I’m happy with what I have done and I’m sure there’s other ways I can help with this regatta.

“I don’t have to be on the water umpiring, I can be involved in any other aspect like any other volunteer. All the jobs are just as important, so I’d be happy just to be involved with whatever level they want me to be involved in.”

Shrubb added: “Having the America’s Cup here is really special.

“When you hear about it in other parts of the world you often think it would be nice to be a resident over there to be able to watch the racing every day and we are going to have that experience here.

“We are going to be able to see the top sailors out sailing and practising. We are going to be up close and personal with them and it’s going to be a special time.”