Bermuda’s first chance to host America’s Cup racing was hailed an “outstanding success” last night as a stunning sunset over Hamilton Harbour signalled the end of an action-packed World Series.
The thousands that had made Front Street their new home away from home for the event rose to acclaim the six sailing crews at the end of a fast and frenetic series of races on the Great Sound.
Michael Dunkley saluted the Bermuda public for their contribution to the spectacle saying: “I am bursting with pride — I said it was our time to shine, and we have shone as bright as the brightest star.”
“If you think this was exciting, then just wait for 2017 — it’s going to be even bigger and better,” the Premier told The Royal Gazette.
“Any questions there were about Bermuda hosting this event have been answered. I could not be more proud of the way people here have rallied together, stepped up to the plate and made this happen.
“The racing conditions on Sunday were just perfect and the Island looked amazing. Those images will continue to be shown for some time on televisions around the world.”
Hundreds of boats headed into the Great Sound yesterday afternoon to get a front-row seat on the sailing drama that ultimately saw Artemis Racing overcome a high-speed crash with the umpire’s boat to claim the regatta spoils.
The Swedish team may have topped the table in heroic fashion in Bermuda, but Emirates Team New Zealand still hold a slender lead in the overall standings going into the next round of World Series races in Chicago in 2016.
As the curtain came down on the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda in a flurry of champagne spray, Gombey dancing and cheering crowds those responsible for bringing the America’s Cup to the Island reflected on why it had been the right decision.
Sir Russell Coutts, CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority, said the World Series had worked out “exactly how we imagined it”.
“Bermuda has just come out and put their arms around this event,” he said. “They are absolutely loving it and enjoying it and it shows this is going to be a really cool event in 2017.
“A lot of people that did not know all the reasons why we selected Bermuda perhaps could not understand the selection.
“But I am sure when you look at the event now anyone that was here in Bermuda, for this week in particular, really gets why we put the America’s Cup here for 2017 and frankly I think a lot of people are now realising that.”
Mr Dunkley added: “This event has shown what we are capable of doing when everyone pulls together.
“We are in a great position now to move forward and speaking with people who are visiting the Island for the first time it has been fantastic to hear how much they have enjoyed their time here.
“ I am delighted at how it has gone and excited to now look forward to the potential of what lies ahead for 2017. There are always things you can learn and we will make sure we are prepared for that next challenge.”
The World Series event brought unprecedented numbers of locals and visitors on to Front Street and into Hamilton for three days of live music, entertainment and gripping sport. The city’s retail stores saw a welcome uptake in business, while restaurants and bars also received a major economic boost.
Bill Hanbury, CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, described the success of the event as “powerful medicine” for tourism and great economic news for the country.
“It has shown Bermuda is very capable of staging and successfully holding a huge event like this — the logistics were flawless,” he said.
“Millions of television viewers saw us for the first time on global television. To have the kind of coverage is really powerful medicine for tourism. It will not solve the problem over night but it will help us.
“America’s Cup takes us to a place we could never go by ourselves and brings with it huge opportunities.”
This story appeared in The Royal Gazette on October 19th, 2015.