Bermuda enters bid to host America's Cup

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 11:19 19/05/2014

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The next edition of the America's Cup has taken another twist with Bermuda now short-listed to host the event in 2017.

Bermuda officials have revealed they were invited by the America's Cup Event Authority to place a bid in March.

They had subsequently been informed they were through to the second round of considerations with three other locations.

One of those was San Francisco, which hosted last year's America's Cup where holders Oracle defeated Team New Zealand 9-8.

The other two contenders remained uncertain, but were drawn from a list that included San Diego, New York, Chicago and Hawaii.

Holding the regatta in Bermuda would be a setback to Team New Zealand in commercial terms.

They would prefer an American market to showcase their sponsors, and particularly, any government input into their budget.

Bermuda officials said the authority would narrow the selection to two locations "in the next month or so," with the final decision expected by September.

They said that if Bermuda was successful in being selected as one of two finalists, it would be assured a World Series event, which was part of the new challenger series for the Cup.

The World Series, using smaller 45-foot catamarans, would be sailed next year and in 2016.

Hosting the America's Cup in Bermuda would be a radical move given that the small island in the north Atlantic was a British Overseas territory.

But it had a strong sailing history and presented favourable wind and climate conditions.

"This is a great opportunity for Bermuda on many levels," Premier Craig Cannonier said, confirming Bermuda's bid.

"The America's Cup is a spectacular sporting event attracting worldwide attention, generating business, jobs and extensive television exposure for the host location.

"It is a great opportunity to showcase Bermuda on the world stage - our people, our island, our rich maritime heritage, our way of life."

The need to widen the search for the 35th edition of sport's oldest contest has came after America's Cup officials and San Francisco city leaders continued to battle over details despite the success of last year's regatta.

The delay in naming the next venue - it was now eight months since Oracle successfully defended the cup - was placing increasing pressure on potential challengers, including Team New Zealand.

Short of details, they were struggling to nail down sponsorships.

A blueprint for the new class rule covering foiling 62-foot catamarans - 10-feet shorter than last year's cats with crew reduced from 11 to eight - had been circulated to potential teams.

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But the official protocol, covering off the fine details of this complex event, was yet to be sighted.

- Stuff

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