Bermuda will host the 35th installment of sailing’s most prestigious event, after the island was confirmed as the host of the America’s Cup on Tuesday.
The America’s Cup match, between defender Team Oracle USA and the victor of the challenger series which will be contested by five other teams, has been scheduled for June 2017.
Following lengthy deliberations, Bermuda was selected ahead of San Diego and Chicago, despite concerns about infrastructure on the small Caribbean island. Bermuda’s population is around 65,000, far short of the approximately 837,000 residents of San Francisco, the city which hosted the 34th Cup in 2013. Bermuda’s Royal Naval Dockyard will be the host for the teams and fans during the competition.
“Being the home of the America’s Cup is an extraordinary opportunity that aligns perfectly with the heritage, profile, spirit and future of our island,” said Michael Dunkley, the premier of Bermuda, at the announcement in New York on Tuesday.
“We thank the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) for their confidence in us – and for their vision to evolve the experience for spectators and participants alike. There is no more vivid and hospitable setting than Bermuda to stage an event of this nature and for the next evolution of the sport. This announcement today marks an exciting new chapter for Bermuda too. That our futures are linked in such a meaningful way will make for a great partnership.
Buckley added: “From the very start, Bermuda’s bid was designed around our many strengths, including our near perfect sailing conditions, our temperate year-round climate for team training, our optimal location and time zone for visitors and television viewers alike, the intimate and unmatched setting offered by Bermuda’s Great Sound, our maritime legacy and innovation, and the spirit and hospitality of our people.”
Harvey Schiller, the US sports executive who is the America’s Cup first commercial commissioner, described Bermuda as a “perfect international venue”, adding: “The 2017 America’s Cup will build on the successful elements that now define the event - close racing in fast, foiling catamarans crewed by the very best sailors in the world and delivered to an international audience by award-winning broadcasters.”
The ACEA has also confirmed that the second edition of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, for sailors aged between 19 and 23, will be staged in 2017, following a successful debut in San Francisco. America’s Cup World Series events, essentially warm-up events for the main Cup match, will take place in 2015 and 2016, allowing the six competing teams the ability to race against each other and offering greater exposure for commercial partners. Four events are likely to be staged in 2015, beginning with an event in an as-yet undetermined location in June.
Events in the British city of Portsmouth and the Swedish city Gothenberg were confirmed last week, part of an effort to stage World Series regattas in the home nations of challenging teams. British entrepreneur Sir Keith Mills and Sir Ben Ainslie, who is spearheading a British challenge for the Auld Mug, unveiled details of the Portsmouth event at a briefing last week. Mills will organise the British regattas through his Team Origin company, which he created in 2007 for what turned out to be an ill-fated challenge for the Cup.
British organisers have been granted the rights to secure four official event partners for their World Series events and are planning an activation programme which will run from the start of 2015 until the Cup match in Bermuda two years later. Team Origin has also secured the UK host broadcast rights to the Portsmouth World Series events.
Aside from Ben Ainslie Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Challenge, Artemis and Team France all declared themselves as challengers for the 35th Cup earlier this year.
The 2017 America’s Cup will be raced in AC62 catamarans, continuing the spectacular foiling style of racing which debuted in San Francisco last year.