America's Cup Venue Remarks

The Hon. Michael H. Dunkley, JP, MP
Premier of Bermuda

Dec. 2, 2014

This is quite a remarkable moment for Bermuda and our people.  

We are delighted to be here with you today and honored that Bermuda was selected to host the 35th America’s Cup in 2017. Being the home of the Americas Cup is an extraordinary opportunity that aligns perfectly with the heritage, profile, spirit and future of our island. 

Since the very first race, only four nations have won what is often called the “oldest trophy in international sport.” And in its 163-year history, The America’s Cup has been held in just 8 locations. Bermuda is honored and proud to join this distinguished group.

We thank the America’s Cup Event Authority for their confidence in us – and for their vision to evolve the experience for spectators and participants alike. 

There is no better vivid and hospitable setting than Bermuda to stage an event of this nature and for the continued evolution of the sport. 

This announcement today marks an exciting new chapter for Bermuda too. That our futures are linked in such a meaningful way will make for a great partnership.

The history and focus of sailing in Bermuda provide perfect synergy with the America’s Cup. Bermuda is, at its essence, a marine environment. 

Sailing is foundational to Bermudians. Our island invented the Bermuda rig – which is still used in 95% of all racing yachts today.

From the very start, Bermuda’s bid was designed around our many strengths.  

These include:

  • our near perfect sailing conditions 
  • our temperate year-round climate for team training
  • our optimal location and time zone for visitors and television viewers alike
  • the intimate and unmatched setting offered by Bermuda’s Great Sound
  • our maritime legacy and innovation
  • The spirit and hospitality of our people

I am also excited that The Royal Naval Dockyard, with its magnificent setting and rich maritime history, has been selected as the venue to base the 2017 America’s Cup.  

In the South Basin of Dockyard a purpose-built event village will be developed offering an unparalleled viewing experience along with infrastructure to support and service the sailing teams and spectators. 

We are mindful that all developments associated with the America’s Cup must be sustainable and in the best long-term interests of Bermuda and Bermudians. 

The work to develop the event village will dovetail with the investments made by the Government in the restoration and evolution of Dockyard, a publicly owned property. 

  • Significantly, all team bases will be accommodated in one location, in an integrated event village
  • State of the art facilities will include a first ever "pit row" fan experience for the public and onshore hospitality venues with views of the entire race course
  • Given our Atlantic location, we offer a unique connection with the international yachting community. Our island will provide an unprecedented on-water spectator experience for numerous super yachts and spectator vessels
  • A range of wind conditions that will provide an intriguing design challenge for the teams and test the world’s best sailors.
  • Add our crystal blue waters and pink sand beaches that will provide such a stunning setting and it will present the most vivid backdrop for those who attend in person or tune in through television or online coverage

Our vision for the America’s Cup in Bermuda is to deliver an unforgettable experience that will be nothing short of spectacular for the teams, sponsors and spectators alike – whether they be with us  on-island or watching on from  around the world. 

Despite our relatively small size, we are no stranger to staging world-class events. Bermuda hosted the PGA Grand Slam of Golf for eight consecutive years. 

And quite a number of world-class sailors in this room have sailed Bermuda’s waters in the Argo Group Gold Cup or the Newport Bermuda Race. 

We’ve made our livelihood on sailing, hospitality, tourism and international business. Hosting America’s Cup takes us to the next level. 

I want to thank a small team of dedicated Bermuda Government officials and private sector volunteers – led by Minister of Education & Economic Development, Grant Gibbons – for contributing their experience, perspective and passion to this very challenging yet rewarding task. 

For over four centuries, the mystique that is Bermuda has been evolving, with each generation adding its own contribution. Now, there’s a new generation of Bermudians ready to write the island’s next chapter. 

And there’s a new generation of sailors and designers prepared to do the same for the sport of sailing and America’s Cup. I can’t think of a better story! Bermuda brings a dash of British charm with our own unique island culture and vibe to create a place and experience that is distinctly Bermudian. 

We invite the America’s Cup family and the world to be a part of a place of rich culture and heritage, pink sand beaches and crystal blue challenging waters, proper food and drink – and old world-charm and business innovation. 

That’s Bermuda and we very much look forward to welcoming all associated with the America’s Cup. 

Tomorrow, we will have the opportunity to welcome the America’s Cup to Bermuda. 

We are planning a very warm reception. 

For above all else, beyond the beauty of our Island, the time zones and the infrastructure, my fundamental belief is that the America’s Cup is coming to Bermuda based on a reputation for warm hospitality and excellence.  

And that is what we are going to provide -- from the Cup’s first visit tomorrow through the summer of 2017 and beyond.

Sir Russell, General Schiller and all in the America’s Cup family, thank you for believing in Bermuda, thank you for bestowing this honor on our Island community. 

I can tell you that each and every one of us will, from this day forward, say with a deep and fundamental pride,  America’s Cup, welcome to your home for the next three years.

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