BTA: AC Is “Game Changer” For Sailing Tourism

October 20, 2015

“The America’s Cup is quickly becoming a game changer in our effort to build a year-round sailing tourism calendar,” said Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] CEO Bill Hanbury, with the BTA saying that since Bermuda was named home of the America’s Cup, seven international races have been introduced to the island.

“Between this November and next March we now have six new tourism sailing events and some of them, like the new M32 and RC44 events, attract a wealthy crowd of competitive boat owners with crews, spectators and media in tow.

“They will bring welcomed economic activity at a time we need it the most.

“On a weekly basis the BTA and ACBDA are having new conversations with sailing enthusiasts expressing interest in Bermuda and after the breath taking Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series racing here last weekend I wouldn’t be surprised to see that activity intensify,” Mr Hanbury said.

The BTA said, “Bermuda has added an M32 sailing series to its sailing tourism calendar for the upcoming winter. Next year five races will take place on Bermuda waters in M32s, which are considered the next generation of catamaran racing.

“These races are in addition to the two sailing events announced last month – RC44 in March 2016 and the Flying Phantom races in November of this year. Organisers of these race events say they wanted to come to Bermuda because it is the home of the America’s Cup.

“Four of the five new M32 races will take place in the first quarter of 2016, the fifth in April. The high-tech M32 catamarans will be stored in Bermuda with owners and relative parties flying in and out of the island.”

“The M32 dates are: January 8-10; February 26-28; March 5-6; March 11-13; and April 15-17. Meantime, the biennial Annapolis Bermuda Race is returning and will launch from Maryland on June 10, 2016.

“Since Bermuda was named home of the America’s Cup, seven international races have been introduced to the island. The list includes Flying Phantom, RC44, and five M32 races over a span of four months.

“The BTA was part of the original bid team creating the proposal to land the America’s Cup and has also been a partner in landing other events for Bermuda.”

The BTA today released an updated Sailing Tourism Calendar, which is below:

Sailing_Race Calendar_Oct 20 2015
click here banner Bermuda tourism

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Comments (34)

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  1. Some Beach says:

    Because we are an island…where u think the description Bermuda rig came from?……We are a sailing destination and it is “high time”…We harnessed our heritage and embraced maritime tourism….the whole bay…every bay must be a place to go and a thing to do…entertainment restaurants,and nightclubs all on the water with flating docks to access…

  2. Some Beach says:

    Water taxis abound.

  3. sfsdfsd says:

    I call for Sailing to be a national sport. Sailing and Swimming, the most successful sports in Bermuda. Any thoughts?

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Why not? We are the joke of the world when it comes to soccer or cricket in spite of millions thrown at those sports.

      Invest where we get results.

      • Onion Juice says:

        The reason we’re not progressing in cricket and soccer is because,
        #1 we don’t have regional competition’s being isolated in the middle of the Atlantic and being so small and limited selection to pick from compared to countries with millions.
        #2 we NEVER capitalized on our RAW natural talent with FUNDS back in the days when we used to beat teams like U.S.A., Mexico, Canada, etc., where these countries pumped millions of $$$$ into their programs over the last 30 years.
        Ironically there is a obvious distinction of interest in the respective sports which has its Historical roots.

        • Anbu says:

          aahhhh the old code word “historical” again. Never miss a beat do u? Sailing will put this island back on the map and you’ll have the “historical” element to thank for it. Get over it. How many millions have we dumped into football and cricket? What to we have to show for it again? Great that nahki, reggie, and freddie r doing well and all but it hardly equates to bang for buck.

          • Onion Juice says:

            Not my fault a certain segment are ASHAMED of History, it just determines the state our world and mindset we are in presently.

      • I heart 441 says:

        Those investments in football from the grassroots level and up has allowed hundreds of young men and now young women obtain scholarships to numerous colleges/universities in the UK/Canada/USA.

        I have nothing against sailing, as my family has a history of sailing and I’ve sailed myself, but how many young men/women have obtained scholarships from sailing?

        I’ll wait for your response.

      • Sickofantz says:

        One would argue that the best bang for the buck is Triathlon with Flora and Tyler right at the pinnacle of this massively fast growing sport. Where better can you swim, ride and run?

        Ironically Tucker Murphy representing us in the winter olympics is also great value because of the unusual (cool runnings) aspect of a Bermudian skiier.

        For a tiny place we have some banging footballers. Everyone who gets to represent Bermuda in anything is putting us on the map and should be supported.

    • Varied says:

      You may get a few to support the cause, but you’re probably not going to win the popularity contest. Not the fault of sailing or swimming, but more people participate in football in some capacity. It is what it is.

      Sailing, for its part, probably warrants more attention anyway.

    • Jim bob says:

      Put rugby in there also as the Bermuda rugby teams appear to be quite successful

      • Where's the BEEF? says:

        Yes…there because there are very little Bermudians on the team! ROFL!!

    • I heart 441 says:

      I’ve always felt it should be our third national sport.

  4. Well says:

    Well this time around don’t let them bring their own transportation. Make them take advantage of taxi drivers , private drivers, etc. Help the common folk make money also.

    • Lois Frederick says:

      AC35 is of such a scale that allowing their own limos is justified. These other sailing events much like Newport Bermuda race will rely on on island transport and we can handle it no problem.

    • Jus Wonderin' says:

      You can’t rely on taxis now what makes you think it would be any better when tons of people are here lmfao. I can’t even get a cab late at night in St. George’s or Dockyard, hardly in Hamilton even…ridiculous.

    • Unbelievable says:

      How could they bring their own transportation? I spoke with cab drivers cuz I’ve relied on them to move crews around this weekend an they all aid they have been hectic.

    • Zevon says:

      Yeah. Then they can listen to the obligatory hate radio while being driven around with no A/C at $50 a trip.

    • Mr E Case says:

      Taxis quite simply cannot be trusted. They are legendary for how unreliable they are. We simply cannot trust them not to screw this up. Leaving transportation to taxis would be even worse than the BIU deliberately messing things up. Taxis have become an unrealistic way to travel due to their own bad performance. They are a national embarrassment even more so than the BIU.

  5. Mucho Gusto says:

    No local sailing going on? What happened to the frostbite, IOD series, J105, J24, Etchells, BOCA events? Huge international events are great, but let’s not forget the vibrant local sailing scene which was here long before and will be here long after the AC circus has left.

  6. Lois Frederick says:

    This a fantastic bonus brought about by AC35 and it is still growing. There will be other knock on benefits that will surprise us along this journey. What an opportunity for Bermuda to seize.

  7. stunned... says:

    Thank God for Dr Grant Gibbons for working so diligently to bring the AC to Bermuda because what would BTA’s Bill Hanbury do with himself, really.

    I keep seeing him clinging to the sailing which will culminate in 2017 so what great events or initiatives does he propose for the future post 2017? Or is he waiting for Dr Grant to do the heavy lifting so that he can piggy back of it.
    So not impressed with BTA under his leadership. Here we have someone in the BTA who has attained some accreditation, how is that being utilized to help Bermuda? In short BTA need to do their own work because they sure as hell are paid decently for it.

    • Lois Frederick says:

      Who would you like to see as the head of the BTA? It’s early days for that new organization. Try to give them a chance. They cannot fix a problem that has festered for years in a matter of a year or two. Let’s be realistic.

      • stunned... says:

        @ Lois – I am trying to be patient and I realize these matters take time. I am with you on that.

        The fact remains that the BTA are all over the sailing as if that is the only jewel in the tiara. I am afraid that when the sailing events are exhausted we shall be in the same position we were before Dr. Grant pulled off the AC35.

        Hanbury needs to bring something of substance already. The latest BTA advertising offering is damn right amateurish and embarrassing…”Brenda”…wtf???

        • Lois Frederick says:

          So if you are so disappointed with the fledgling BTA, how did you rate the dinosaur called the Bermuda Department of Tourism? Change is happening and a fresh start allowing for new ideas to be explored is a good thing. Of course bigger advertising budgets would be nice but I have a feeling the exposure Bermuda will be getting worldwide for AC35 is going to push our exposure to a level we have never seen before and we will see the benefit. I remain optimistic with the prospects of the BTA rather than what was in place before. Now, if the results over a 5 year period are poor, then sure, I have no problem with booting Hanbury out and giving someone else a go at it.

          • stunned... says:

            it matters not what i thought about the dinosaur BDOT or the nepotic marketing arrangements that were in place. the country moved forward and created the newly created BTA to address the inefficiencies and the lack of value of aforegoing and to improve the state of affairs vis-a-vis Bermuda Tourism today.

            either i didn’t make the point clearly or it was missed. the creation of the BTA was a good thing. the bad thing is that in the course of nearly eighteen months the only event that has brought Bermuda to the attention worldwide is one that was brokered by Dr. Grant Gibbons. the America’s Cup. the BTA has done nothing but piggy back on the AC and to date followed up on the leads by scheduling additional races and created sailing calendars.

            the director needs to let it go, delegate that ongoing AC project to a competent associate and focus on the NEXT BIG thing. what about organizing a Tour de France stage right here? how about breaking into the prestigious horse racing circuit – isn’t that part of our Bermuda Heritage? the Isle of Man has TT weeks – motorcycle racing – surely we can do something similar. these are mere suggestions but i’m sure the director hanbury can do better…

  8. Acegurl says:

    ‘Stunned’ you are absolutely correct, there has not been one initiative from the BTA. They have jumped on every other initiative that has been developed. I have previously stated that there needs to be a published annual report with the costs of the BTA, which can be compared. to the foreign exchange generated by this group. Then taxpayers can then determine the ROI. There does not appear to be any accountability for this group. They are allowed to go blithely on. I think the AC has overshadowed how ineffective the BTA are. Time for decisions, we can no longer afford this luxury. Thank the Lord for Grant Gibbons and his team! Anyone seen the Minister of Tourism lately?

  9. hotcrossbuns says:

    Where do you think the idea for America’s Cup came from? Big surprise: BTA.

  10. stunned... says:

    taken from BERNEWS May 15 2014:

    The Premier added, “It is a great opportunity to showcase Bermuda on the world stage – our people, our island, our rich maritime heritage, our way of life.

    “I want to commend the work of the bid team put together by Dr. Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Education and Economic Development. They worked fast and hard to put together an impressive bid document in a short period of time. Their work will continue as we continue to pursue this remarkable opportunity.”

    Representatives of the America’s Cup Event Authority visited the Island in March to inspect possible event locations and racecourses in The Great Sound.

    Following the invitation to bid for the race, Dr. Gibbons organized a small bid team with representatives from the private sector, the Bermuda Government and the Bermuda Tourism Authority…”

    do you still think the idea came from the BTA?

    • Tourism Advocate says:


      Well this is what the commercial commissioner of the America’s Cup said:

      “The Bermuda Tourism Authority’s strength as a sales and marketing organisation was evident during the bid process and its efforts were a significant contributing factor to Bermuda coming out on top,” said Harvey Schiller, Commercial Commissioner of the America’s Cup. – August 6, 2015.

      You decide if you want to take the word of the politician or the commissioner.

  11. stunned... says:

    laughable comment. you too have missed the boat…

    it was Russell Coutts, the former helmsman for Oracle who first suggested that Bermuda bid for the Cup. the BTA’s involvement in the AC was AFTER the fact, when they were chosen by Dr. Grant Gibbons to form the bid team. for the BTA to attempt to credit themselves for the success of the AC is just plain disingenuous.

  12. Robert Daniels says:

    Think Beyond! We are an island Destination. embrace a NEW Paradigm Shift
    Embrace a NEW idea. Embrace the