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Bermuda tapped for 2017 America’s Cup

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The 35th America’s Cup will be raced in Bermuda in June 2017. The race will take place on The Great Sound, a natural amphitheater with room for racing and spectators. The proposed America’s Cup Village will be at the Royal Naval Dockyard.

“The 2017 America’s Cup will build on the successful elements that now define the event — close racing in fast, foiling catamarans crewed by the very best sailors in the world and delivered to an international audience by award-winning broadcasters,” said Harvey Schiller, the Commercial Commissioner for the America’s Cup.

At a presentation to the Sailing Foundation of the Lauderdale Yacht Club in early December, Oracle Team USA Skipper Jimmy Spithill told guests that Bermuda beat out San Diego — where he lives — for two reasons: Bermuda is in a better time zone for international television coverage and the race village could all be in one place.

“Our vision for the Americas 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 from around the world,” said Michael Dunkley, the Premier of Bermuda.

Six teams have so far taken up the challenge of racing for the next America’s Cup, the oldest trophy in international sport. The defending champion is Oracle Team USA. Challengers include Emirates Team New Zealand, Artemis Racing (Sweden), Ben Ainslie Racing (Great Britain), Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy) and Team France.

“Racing in Bermuda will be an incredible experience for the spectators, both on-site and for those watching the broadcast, and for the sailors, it’s going to be very challenging,” Spithill said. “I’ve raced there several times and the variety of conditions means you can never let your guard down. We’ll all need to be at the top of our game to have success and that’s how it should be.”

The second edition of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup was also confirmed. In the inaugural edition, over 40 national youth teams (aged 19-23) applied to enter the qualifying phase. The top 10 teams raced on the America’s Cup course in the same AC45 catamarans the pros had used in the America’s Cup World Series.

The purpose of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is to provide a pathway toward a career as a professional sailor in the America’s Cup. In that, it has already proved successful, after just one edition.

“Sailors on the winning team in the first event, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, are now valued members of Emirates Team New Zealand,” Schiller said. “That’s an impressive proof of concept.”

Next year, at least four events are planned as part of the America’s Cup World Series, including the season opener June 5-7 (location undetermined), and races in Portsmouth, UK (July 23-26), Gothenburg, Sweden (Aug. 28-30) and Hamilton, Bermuda (Oct. 16-18).

In 2016, as many as six events are expected, including a summer regatta in Chicago and another race in Portsmouth, UK, July 21-24. Portsmouth is a city on the south coast of the UK that is home to the UK team, Ben Ainslie Racing.

In 2017, all teams will compete in their new AC62 catamarans, powered by wingsails and designed to fly above the water on foils at speeds near 50 mph. Racing begins for all teams. The top challengers then go on to the America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs and the right to race Oracle Team USA in the finals in June 2017.

— Lucy Reed

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