Column: Should Bid To Bring Back America’s Cup

January 31, 2022

[Opinion column written by OBA Senate Leader Ben Smith]

If you repeat a lie enough times some people will start to believe it’s the truth. The PLP did a great job of repeating to everyone that the America’s Cup was bad for Bermuda. They continue to repeat this lie every time they feel the pressure or don’t want to answer probing questions.

It is the trick of a magician to distract with one hand while creating the illusion with the other. The PLP’s trick was to continue complaining about the ‘billionaire boat race’ to distract you from the $336m benefit AC35 had on our GDP. Political gain at the expense of progress for our community.

The America’s Cup created jobs for Bermudians. It brought investment into our country and showed our people hope; a reminder of how great we can be if we work together. There is a lasting legacy for youth sailing with the Endeavor Programme, which brought diversity to the sport and continues to benefit our youth.

Team Bermuda saw nine Bermudians selected out of 120 athletes who tried out.  These young Bermudians gained world class training and life changing experiences. Team Bermuda made us proud, winning races after such a quick learning curve.

A look at the America’s Cup series in Bermuda in 2015

Our young people need to feel encouragement.  They need to know our country is vibrant and creating solutions to bring them sustained success. Bermuda needs a success; we need a shot in the arm to get people back to work.  We need to regain the enthusiasm that will get us back on track. Despite a 30-6 majority, the Government keeps asking the Opposition for solutions.

So here’s one.  Why not dust off the solution the OBA already achieved? There are media reports that America’s Cup 37 needs a home. The Government should swallow its pride and bid to bring back the America’s Cup.

During AC35, the world was able to see Bermuda in all its beautiful color with 450 million viewers. Bermuda has the best environment for the race, we have the best hospitality, and we know how to put on a show.

The PLP should have built upon the momentum AC35 created.  Instead, they repeated lies for political gain.  Why not put aside past behaviour and work together to make Bermuda the envy of the world again? Why don’t we bid to bring back that amazing energy to back to our island? Let’s have Cross Island become the home of AC37.

I know we will need outside investment, but there are people here who would be excited to support the return of the Cup. How many people are still seen wearing AC35 merchandise from their favourite team? How many businesses would love to see the return of the teams?  Who wouldn’t want the business that was created during the Cup?

Teams training here means more people spending more money. This adds money to the local economy at all levels of our community. Everyone has been waiting to hear the Government come up with new ideas. Why don’t they just borrow another successful idea from the OBA.  We would support the PLP if they did – because we understand it’s about doing what’s best for all of Bermuda.

It will take strong leadership to swallow its pride and admit that the Cup was good for Bermuda.  Sail GP will be a good first step, but why not make the big push to have the Cup back in Bermuda.

It would be the perfect relaunch of the Bermuda product after the darkness of Covid. Let’s hope the Government reaches out to see if America’s Cup could return. We need jobs, we need tourists, and we need some good news. Why not AC37, Bermuda?

- Ben Smith

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Comments (14)

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  1. Unbelievable says:

    This is an awesome idea but the PLP can’t make it happen. It’s not a matter of will they or won’t they. They just don’t know how to do it. Vote them out in 2025.

  2. unknown800k says:

    Didnt want mega yachts either, but now trying to attract them.
    Biggest bunch of hypocrites, well the voters get what they voted for.
    Can we at least see burts travel expenses to the GREAT crypto extravaganza that’s saving Bermuda.

  3. Kitchen sink says:

    Way wouldn’t the government make this happen!!
    Don’t hold your breath!!

  4. sandgrownan says:

    Not going to happen.

    Two reasons. One, they’d have to publicly admit AC35 was good for Bermuda, something they know but can’t do because it destroys the narrative. Remember, it’s always party and power before country.

    Secondly. They simply couldn’t pull it off. They are inept, incompetent and couldn’t figure out how to even begin to do it.

    You’re dreaming.

  5. Sailor Sam says:

    A GREAT GREAT idea, but alas they the present govt couldn’t organize a piss up in a leaking brewery. Nor would they want its an elitist rich w mans sport, and NO BURT COINS or FOF way in to syphon funds. But we can only live in hope.

  6. Rig says:

    I have no interest in sailing but Bermuda during the AC was magical. Truly the island at its best. This is a fantastic idea.

  7. Talbot Wilson says:

    First, The AC35 was great for Bermuda. It brought International awareness that was priceless
    Second, Bermuda should have fielded a team for AC36 supported by residents and corporations who call Bermuda home. Build on the success.
    Third, You should have published this opinion piece a year ago.
    Fourth, who is the leader who can make this happen?

    I wrote a big part of the original Bid to get AC35 for Bermuda and then was the Royal Gazette AC35 event analyst special reporter.

  8. watching says:

    Yes the AC was a great experience for many people and a moneymaker for some, but did it impact most of Bermuda in a tangible way? Did government make money off it? It is not a revenue generator and almost everytime it has been held it has lost money. The pros and cons should be weighed out but will it impact those that really need a financial impact? Unlikely.

    • question says:

      Yes, it benefitted hotel workers, restaurant workers, taxi drivers, rental property owners, local entertainers, supermarkets, shops, auto dealers, etc. For several straight years.

      But don’t worry about it. The PLP would never in a million years succeed in landing the AC.

      • Joe Public says:

        The OBA paid out over $85 mill in tax payer money for a rich boy boat race to Billionaires.

        The PLP is still looking for the $800k and Bermuda is still on the hook for $185 million morgans point hotel that the obaUBP signed off on. (:

        Both parties are wack!

        • sandgrownan says:

          Just because you keep repeating it, doesn’t make it true.

          Fact is AC35 was the best thing to happen to Bermuda in the last 20 years. And the PLP could never, ever replicate that success.

          • Hmm says:

            Even the swing voters think the Oba is washed up. Know wonder they only have 6 seats.

            • sandgrownan says:

              But it’s Bermuda that’s sunk after 20 years of PLP failure, ineptitude and incompetence.

              The PLP could never, ever, do anything like that – they lack the wit, the expertise, the desire, the energy and work ethic.

              Failures. 30-6 and look where we are. F***ed.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Short answer, yes it did. Go read the PwC assessment.