Column: 10 Things We Learned At America’s Cup

October 27, 2015

[Written by Mike Winfield CEO of the ACBDA]

With the dust settled and a week to reflect, here are ten things we can take away from the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda.

10 Things We Learned At America’s Cup 2 (1)

1. The boats are stars.

Whether in person, on TV or on the AC+ app, the sight of the AC45Fs flying above Bermuda’s waters was a jaw-dropping experience. The boats seem to teeter on the edge of catastrophe and travel at speeds that leave motorboats in their wake. Intriguingly, the boats raced in the America’s Cup finals in 2017 will be a little bigger and, potentially, quite a bit faster.

2. The sailors aren’t bad either.

The nerve, athleticism and mental agility required to wrestle an AC45F around the racecourse is as impressive as the boats themselves. The near disastrous collision of Artemis Racing with the iconic [even more so now] pink Bermuda umpire boat showed all these qualities and more. Despite their broken boat, the team first saw to the safety of the umpires before manually tearing off the unneeded bits and winning the next race. Legends are born in moments like that.

3. Bermuda is up to hosting the America’s Cup.

Sure there is an extraordinary amount of preparation required, but the enthusiasm and commitment of everyone involved demonstrated Bermuda’s ability to “get the job done”. This bodes well not only for the America’s Cup, but for all other international events now looking at Bermuda as a potential venue.

4. The opportunities were widespread and meaningful.

The volume of foot traffic in the Event Village meant that vendors selling gifts, apparel, food, drinks and treats were kept busy from Friday evening to Sunday evening. Businesses along Front Street also reported brisk trade while the service providers like charter boats, stage and lighting crews, video production and the security teams were tired but satisfied by the end of the event.

5. Our boating community came through under pressure.

Waiting patiently for wind on Saturday, word rippled out that a course was being set in Hamilton Harbour. With that, more than 500 spectator boats relocated, en mass, from the Great Sound in very short order. Kudos go to the local race course marshals and to the spectator fleet for their general boatsmanship and common sense. An observer from the US said he was “floored” by the seeming ease with which Bermuda managed the situation.

6. Front Street is a fantastic event venue.

The Event Village was billed by some as Harbour Nights on steroids, but it turned out to be much more than that. This was an open air festival complete with entertainment, alfresco dining, on-street and in-store shopping plus integrated use of the harbour, with sailing, sky diving and zip-ling. The public certainly seemed to enjoy this use of the space.

Training Day -1 of Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Bermuda

7. Bermuda looks great on TV.

One of the reasons the America’s Cup Event Authority [ACEA] chose Bermuda is that we provide a stunning backdrop for their racing machines. This was clear on “Super Sunday” for those who watched on big screens in the Fan Zone or in the comfort of their own homes, not to mention viewers from over 100 territories around the world.

8. Social Media tells the story.

The volume of traffic generated on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram illustrates the reach that Bermuda can expect from hosting the America’s Cup. Artemis Racing’s aforementioned altercation with the umpire boat became an instant viral sensation, prompting one of the weekend’s best tweets when Bermuda’s Fan Zone MC, Glenn Jones posted “Mind Blown! Artemis is Swedish for MacGyver”. Videos of the incident on Facebook have over 750,000 views.

9. The competition is fierce.

Three events this year produced three different winners. The defender, Oracle Team USA [OTUSA], was not one of those but still find themselves in second place overall. In Bermuda, Artemis Racing passed OTUSA on the last leg to win the regatta. Meanwhile Emirates Team New Zealand, the team that was on the wrong side of the “Greatest Comeback in the history of Sport”, leads the standings with a 24-year-old phenom [Peter Burling] at the helm.

10. Three days versus six weeks.

When Bermuda first set out on its America’s Cup journey insiders remarked that they would have “done a back-flip” just to get a World Series event for Bermuda. Now we can see why. We can also see that landing the America’s Cup finals was the big prize. Considering the media exposure, the opportunities for Bermudian businesses and the enjoyment of both visitors and locals during this three-day event, the scope of six weeks in 2017 comes into sharper focus.

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Comments (5)

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  1. stunned... says:

    well done. looking forward to 2017.

  2. Not exactly says:

    Amen.

  3. Skipper says:

    It was awesome!

  4. Best event we have ever had, Please .Please try to have another 2016 it was so uplifting and spectacular.Never has the Island looked so good, Cant wait till 2017 Here us an idea ;its have them sail a race in a Bermuda fitted dingyNo foiling there

  5. Yellowtail says:

    Beg to differ, 11, We did it and did it well for a small island.