Sir Russell Coutts hails Bermuda as 'ideal location’ for SailGP relaunch
Sir Russell Coutts hailed Bermuda as the “ideal location” after the island was named the host destination for the opening round of the updated second season of the SailGP.
The Bermuda Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess, will be held on April 24 and 25, and will set the stage for an expanded season that is planned to feature nine events.
Although San Francisco and New York were initially set to host the first events after SailGP’s season two postponement because of Covid-19, the league shifted the schedule to ensure greater certainty and to reduce travel in the early part of 2021.
Bermuda has been largely shielded from the pandemic owing to successful health and safety measures, and is seen as an ideal venue to restart SailGP’s global racing championship as well as to host pre-season training.
SailGP’s eight national teams — Australia, Denmark, France, Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the United States — will use the Great Sound to hone their skills before season two gets under way. For the first time, female athletes will also be included in the training as part of SailGP’s gender-equity initiative
Bermuda played host to the 35th America’s Cup in 2017, providing a spectacular playing field for the competition that first featured the foiling catamarans that evolved into the F50, which is being used for SailGP.
Coutts, the SailGP chief executive, is relishing their return to the Great Sound.
“Bermuda is a truly ideal location to open our global championship next year,” he said. “It is not only a stunningly beautiful destination with perfect racing conditions, but it also offers a haven for our league to safely resume our calendar amidst the pandemic.
“The island has proven itself as an incredibly capable and welcoming host to major international events and is where the first generation of our F50 catamarans was introduced to the world during the America’s Cup in 2017.
“We look forward to fully engaging with the local community via our Race for the Future purpose-driven actions, and in spending April in Bermuda as we prepare for and launch our second championship season, which is shaping up to be a huge step forward in the world of professional sailing.”
The Bermuda Tourism Authority will serve as the official host partner of the league’s inaugural Bermudian event and, as part of the commitment, will have first option to renew for return engagements in 2022 and 2023.
The Bermuda Grand Prix will broadcast live in the United States and Canada on CBS Sports and in Britain on Sky Sports, with added exposure in more than 150 countries.
SailGP will also work closely with Bermuda on the common goal of diverse and meaningful social impact, with clear engagement points across the community, including through SailGP Inspire.
Glenn Jones, the BTA’s interim chief executive, said: “Bermuda is incredibly proud to have been selected to host the prestigious 2021 season-opening event for SailGP, which is rapidly emerging as the pinnacle league in professional sailing.
“The island's tremendous sailing legacy, cultural diversity and global proximity will be on full display.
“Last month, the island hosted the 70th Bermuda Gold Cup and 2020 Open Match Racing World Championship, along with golf’s Bermuda Championship that became the first PGA Tour event to welcome live spectators since March."
After the league’s restart in Bermuda, SailGP will shift to Europe for a series of five grand-prix events, beginning in the city of Taranto in Italy.
Great Britain Grand Prix Plymouth will then take place on July 17 and 18, followed by Rockwool Denmark Grand Prix Aarhus on August 20 and 21. Two additional European host cities will be announced as well as the rest of season schedule early next month.