When the world’s media turned their attention towards the Island for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda, it offered a rare glimpse of how our tiny archipelago is perceived by the outside world.
An event of such magnitude being hosted on such a little Island was not lost to the international media and those quoted in it — the fact has been met with both humour and annoyance.
There was definitely a strong focus on the spectacular racing and breath-stopping collision between Swedish catamaran Artemis and an umpire’s boat, but the locals’ love of fish sandwiches and strange fashion choice of Bermuda shorts with long socks did not go unnoticed.
• New York Times, October 15
Artemis Racing’s Iain Percy gave an interview to the ‘New York Times’ about his late friend and sailing mate Andrew Simpson, who died in San Fransisco Bay. He shared his impressions of Bermuda.
“I find it so completely halfway between the US and the UK that it’s hilarious,” he said. “There are some real quirky British things, like where we are sitting right now in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. And I’m sure they even wore Bermuda shorts and long socks at some point in the UK a hundred years ago. But at the same time obviously there is a big US influence, through tourism really, and I think through the business community. Sometimes you feel you’re in a country town in the UK and the next time you feel like you’re in the US in one of the cities. So it sits in the middle and it’s culturally in the middle.”
• New York Times, October 15
The ‘New York Times’ opened its preview piece by introducing the world to one of the most Bermudian products on the market — the fish sandwich.
“Fish sandwich in hand, Lorne Bean, a pastor with a mellifluous voice and a maritime past, talked last week about what the America’s Cup might mean to his tiny, isolated country in the North Atlantic Ocean,” the paper reported.
The writer Christopher Clarey described the initial idea of Bermuda as host as a “stretch” due to the big hitters it was up against including San Diego and Chicago.
“You’ve been hit in the head by the boom too many times. What are you talking about, man?” was apparently ACBDA chairman Peter Durhager’s reaction to Sir Russell Coutts’s original suggestion of Bermuda as host. Even when we secured it, lawyers scoured through the two-paragraph acceptance letter sure they would find a loophole.”
The businessman leading the San Diego bid was a tad bitter, claiming the America’s Cup had been “prostituted” for the first time.
• Sail-World, October 15
A touch of scepticism was apparent from regatta director Iain Murray in www.sailworld.com.
“The AC seems to work well when it is a big fish in a small pond — Newport, Perth, Bermuda … but when it has to compete with the Golden Gate Bridge it’s different.”
The article also states that “it
• Yachting World, October 15
‘Yachting World’s’ Matthew Sheahan created a video in the run-up to the World Series that focused on some of the challenges Bermuda’s confining waters might pose for the racers but once he took a trip up to the top of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, he said it was easy to see why Bermuda’s America’s Cup would be “a knockout”.
He questioned our little roads though, writing: “The only road that leads to the venue is the width of a country lane. It’s like holding the America’s Cup at the end of your street.”
• The Telegraph, October 17
In ‘The Telegraph’s’ Luxury section, Michael Harvey wrote about joining the Land Rover BAR team in Bermuda and how he was impressed with the speed with which their plan came together.
“It’s hard to process just how quickly this plan to win — for the very first time — the America’s Cup for Great Britain has come together.”
• Scuttlebutt Sailing News, October 17
“Skunked in Bermuda” was Sailing Scuttlebutt’s lighthearted description of Saturday’s lack of racing. The story was accompanied by a picture of a skunk saying “Go home, no racing today”. Land Rover BAR sailor Giles Scott was still impressed with the day, saying: “When we finally went out to race this huge spectator fleet came in — very impressive.”
• The Daily Express, October 18
The ‘Daily Express’ began its round-up with the well-trodden angle of novelist Mark Twain once saying: “You can go to Heaven if you want, I’d rather stay in Bermuda.” The report barely made reference to the America’s Cup and was more of a travel feature which ended with the fact that the journalist, having enjoyed his stay here, was nearly there [Heaven].
• Maxim, October 20
Introducing the America’s Cup as the “billionaire death race”, the international men’s magazine wrote about commentary from “lifelong Bermudian” Nick Jones, the former coach for the Bermuda National Sailing Team.
“Jones, whose stocky frame and creased features recall a more menacing Gordon Ramsay, says he’s a ‘traditionalist’ when it comes to sailing, and prefers the slower, pre-catamaran days. But like everyone else, he attributes the racier design to a renewed interest in the genteel sport, as hazardous as that transformation may be. ‘You’re on the course, you take the risk,’ Jones says with a Bermudian twang as we cruise past a cluster of boats crowding Hamilton Harbour. ‘It’s the same as being a Formula 1 driver. That’s part of sports, and that’s just how it works, unfortunately’.”
This story appeared in The Royal Gazette on October 21st, 2015.