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Oracle preparing for Dockyard move

Photograph by Nicola MuirheadTidying up: Cranes clear sections of the South Basin in Dockyard in preparation for the arrival of America’s Cup teams

Oracle Team USA could potentially set up shop in Bermuda in the not-too-distant future.

It is expected that the America’s Cup holders will relocate into their new Bermuda headquarters in Dockyard by early spring to step up preparations for the title defence in the Great Sound in 2017.

“There is a South Basin up there which is where the bases will be set up for the finals,” said Dr Grant Gibbons, the Economic Development Minister, who spearheaded Bermuda’s successful bid to host the 35th America’s Cup.

“Many teams may set up there early, but we just don’t have a clear indication of what the timing on that would be.

“But the team that will be probably be coming in the earliest, if I had to guess, would be Oracle — and they will be based up in Dockyard.

“I don’t know exactly when, but based on what I’m understanding probably March or April because they have to dismantle stuff where they are now and sort of ship it in and people have to come in and the rest of it.”

Dr Gibbons said that work has already started on the designated site in Dockyard for America’s Cup teams to set up their bases.

“What’s started already is an effort to clear the dock up at the South Basin,” the minister said.

“There are a number of old dilapidated structures up there, while some people have boats and other things stored up there, so there’s a fair amount of preparatory work that has started already to essentially clear off the dock and start to make it available to teams that want to set up there.

“We know in conceptual terms where things will go, but there’s a fair amount of prep work that needs to be done in terms of hook-ups for electrical and water.

“Some of that is going on right now but the biggest task is getting that dock cleaned up so that it’s available for teams that will want to set up there.

“There’s also some buildings that will need to be repaired and cleaned up at Dockyard because some of those will be used for the purpose of the Event Village in 2017 and before that.”

America’s Cup officials, meanwhile, are expected to begin relocating their offices to Bermuda as early as this month.

“Some of the America’s Cup Event Authority, which is obviously the organising group, are starting to move in January and February,” Dr Gibbons said. “But they will be working out of offices and that sort of thing.”

As well as the America’s Cup challenger qualifiers and finals, Bermuda will also host the America’s Cup World Series in October of this year.