BTA: Spike In Registration For Sailing Regattas

February 25, 2016

Bermuda’s sailing races and regattas are seeing registration spikes, attributed to the excitement surrounding the America’s Cup, the Bermuda Tourism Authority said today.

The Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club [RHADC] reports 34 registrations for this June’s Annapolis Bermuda Race, with more than two months still left in the registration process. That’s an 89 percent increase over registrations from the most recent race in 2014.

To date the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race, the 50th since the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club [RBYC] co-organised the classic in 1906, currently has 179 applications for entry.

Of those, 160 have been accepted, while the remainder are working to meet the strict qualifications. Organisers expect to reach the new 200-boat limit. This would be an increase of 22 percent over 2014.  The deadline for online entry is May 15th.

In both cases race organisers believe they are seeing a spike in interest because Bermuda is home to the America’s Cup in 2017, the BTA said.

“We are hosting the sailors of the Annapolis Bermuda Race for the first time and we are overjoyed to see this incredible level of interest,” said Neil Redburn, vice commodore at the RHADC.

“There was concern about the sustainability of the race given the relatively low number of entries in 2014, but the excitement around the America’s Cup has clearly solved that issue.”

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“Sailing races are especially important to the tourism economy because they can bring volume – up to ten sailors per vessel on the water and usually a contingent of family and friends by air,” said BTA CEO Bill Hanbury.

“We’re proud to support these events and we’re thrilled to see the new excitement generated by America’s Cup. Our team is working to sustain this positive momentum in nautical tourism – not only in the lead up to the America’s Cup but long after it’s gone as well.”

“Meantime, the BTA is preparing for the first-ever RC44 Championship Tour regatta next week. The RC44 Bermuda Cup gets underway Tuesday, March 2nd on the Great Sound and will last through the weekend,” the BTA said.

“The RC44 Championship Tour is an international yacht racing circuit of amateur owners driving their high performance one-design yachts with the help of elite sailors from around the world.

“Bermuda is the start of the 2016 circuit before the RC44 vessels head to Spain, the U.K., Portugal and Malta.  The Great Sound was a desirable venue for organisers because of its association with the America’s Cup, the world’s most prestigious regatta.

“In November, the Viper 640 International Championship will race in Bermuda as part of a co-hosting partnership between the RBYC and RHADC.  Organisers have been pleasantly surprised with the 50 Vipers already registered, bringing a crew of three per vessel along with sailors’ friends and family.”

Mr. Hanbury said: “I’ve said previously that the America’s Cup is a game changer for our tourism product. The positive impact it is having on existing sailing events and the leverage it gives us to attract new races and regattas is undeniable.”

More information about Bermuda’s Sailing Race Calendar is available online along with a new website section dedicated specifically to nautical tourism.

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