By Brigitta Wohlmuth
A grand event is fast approaching that will change Bermuda’s history forever. People have been buzzing with anticipation since the news first released that Bermuda will host the most prestigious yacht racing tournament in the world. The 35th America’s Cup is beckoning sailing enthusiasts world-wide to this beautiful island, and if you happen to be visiting this month then you have a remarkable opportunity. From October 15th – 18th the first stage of this epic concours will kick off with the Louis Vuitton World Series Event, so get ready to join in the exitement! We’ ve crafted this handy guide, in case you’re feeling a bit out of the loop, to give you everything you need to know to enjoy the races from start to finish.
What is the America’s Cup?
The America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in international sport. The “Auld Mug”, as it is affectionately known, was first held in 1851 in England. When the schooner America defeated the Royal Yacht in a race around the Isle of Wight the win symbolized a great victory for the New World over the Old World, which is how the competition got it’s name.
Why is it so important?
This illustrious tournament is much more than just a sporting event. Historically it predates the first modern Olympic games, which weren’t hosted until 1896 in Athens, by which time the America’s Cup had already been contested nine times.
The cup is also considered one of the most difficult to win. It is open to all nations, but since the first races were held 160 years ago only four have won; America, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland.
Who is competing?
Oracle Team USA won the cup in 2013, making them the defending champions for the 2017 finals. The challenging teams are Artemis Racing (Sweden), Ben Ainslie Racing (United Kingdom), SoftBank Team Japan, Emirates Team (New Zealand) and Groupama Team France.
How does it work?
Basically, the first team to 9 points wins the cup. The champion is automatically in the finals for the following America’s Cup tournament and other teams apply to challenge.
The challenging teams compete in a number of World-Series regattas (held in different countries around the world) in order to gain points to qualify for the finals in 2017. The first stage of the competition in Bermuda is the Louis Vuitton World-Series race event, happening this month!
Where do I go to watch the Louis Vuitton World Series event?
The races take place on the Great Sound, the large body of water shaped by Bermuda’s central and west end parishes. Part of the reason Bermuda was chosen to host the AC is because this body of water is the perfect setting, acting as a natural amphitheater with a gorgeous backdrop. The races will be visible from a number of points on the Island, but the place you want to be for a clear view of the action is on Hamilton’s Front Street in the Fan Zone.
I know nothing about sailing, why should I attend this event?
Front Street will be the ‘place to be’ during the weekend of the World Series event, with lots of activities for everyone to enjoy, not only sailing fans. According to the ACBDA, Front Street will also host the “Our Bermuda” festival, turning the weekend into a massive three-day celebration on the Saturday. Be sure to check it out, this is your opportunity to be a part of history.
To learn more about the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda visit www.acbda.bm