Parting thanks from SailGP
David Burt, the Premier, says the inaugural Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess was much more than a spectacular show on the water.
The official SailGP Season 2 opener last weekend exceeded the expectations of many as eight national teams comprising the best sailors in the world battled in the Great Sound in the high-performance, wing-sailed, foiling F50 catamaran.
Great Britain, led by highly decorated helmsman Sir Ben Ainslie, won the fleet-racing spectacle after rallying from a poor showing on the opening day of the two-day event.
However, the Premier said there was more to the event than the exciting racing that captivated spectators both here and in other jurisdictions around the world.
“For Bermuda, SailGP is much more than a weekend of adrenalin,” he said in a press release speaking in his capacity as Minister of Tourism. “Our partnership [SailGP and Bermuda Tourism Authority] also creates a lasting legacy from SailGP team pairings with community sailing clubs, to youth engagement through the Endeavour and Inspire programmes, to virtual Steam learning and career guidance, and Cedar & Sail — a public education campaign elevating the stories of Bermuda’s maritime heritage, particularly the contributions of Black sailors."
Sir Russell Coutts, the SailGP chief executive, thanked the people of Bermuda for their wonderful support in helping to make the event such an overwhelming success.
“We owe a huge thanks to the people of Bermuda,” he said. “These are challenging times, and it is through everyone’s support that we managed to put on such a spectacular show in a safe way.
“Last weekend saw some of the best racing I have ever witnessed, and it really showcased Bermuda as the great venue that it is and a fantastic location to run international sporting events.”
The event was broadcast in more than 175 territories, including key markets in the United States and Britain, at a crucial time in Bermuda's continuing recovery from the global coronavirus pandemic.
"As we continue to work towards the restoration of our island's tourism economy, and the livelihoods of those in the industry, we welcome the global visibility our island enjoyed, particularly in critical gateway markets,” Charles Jeffers II, the BTA chief executive, said.
“The event was executed safely, seamlessly and ended with a spectacular finish. What’s more, the organisation has delivered on significant community initiatives that will endure — positively impacting us economically, socially and environmentally."
Event organisers, sponsors and the BTA worked closely with the Ministry of Health and Ministry National Security, as well as other leading experts and medical professions with support from other elite sports events to create and implement a robust Covid-safe plan.
The stringent measures included creating and living in designated bubble environments that ensured no external contact, daily health reports and regular testing, which have allowed other professional sports to operate worldwide in locked-down countries and was successfully executed for the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix.
However, as the event drew near, the Government responded to a surge in locally transmitted Covid-19 cases, and organisers initiated big changes to the programme. As a result, the hospitality programme was cancelled, and the on-site team headcount was reduced by half.
SailGP and the BTA thanked the island in a video presentation also featuring sailors from Britain, New Zealand, Spain and Australia, the 2019 champions.