Getting Mighty Crowded in Great Sound

Published on April 26th, 2017

With a month to go before the challenger elimination series begins for the America’s Cup, space on the Great Sound of Bermuda is at a premium. With easily three times less room to roam than in 2013 on San Francisco Bay, not only are the race boats now dangerously close to each other in Bermuda, but the public is too.

Complicating the constraints is how the path of a foiling catamarans is not often predictable. Keeping the hulls airborne often means rapid turns, and when traveling at high speeds, curious spectators can quickly become road kill.

The Bermuda Water Safety Council has issued the following warning on behalf of America’s Cup Bermuda (ACBDA), the local organizing committee:

“It has been noted that the Bermuda boating public are getting too close for safety both to themselves and the AC teams. Please give the AC boats as much room as you are able and try to stay near shorelines when you are out on the water. The consequences of a collision with one of these foiling boats could be catastrophic. You or anyone involved could also ruin a team’s chances of being in the cup. We are all in this together. This is our America’s Cup. The ACBDA understands that the Great Sound is for everyone to enjoy, and not just for the America’s Cup teams. But do advise that extra care and caution should be taken at this time. Safety first.”

When racing begins, boundaries will be established to contain the race boats, while people eager to watch from the water will have two options:

Official Spectator Boats: Daily tickets ($150 to $200) will gain people access to official Spectator Boats that will be situated as close as possible on the racecourse, offering unrivaled views of the competition.

Private Boats: A one-time event fee ($35 to $1,185) will provide these boats access to the designated spectator zone on the racecourse.

Noteworthy is how in 2013, monetizing restricted water areas for spectating was not permitted. San Francisco agreed to restrict an area in the Bay for racing, but areas outside that zone were public space. But in Bermuda, the prime areas around the race course will come with a fee.

Background: The 35th American’s Cup has attracted six teams (5 challengers and 1 defender) that will compete in the new 15-meter AC Class, with a series of qualifiers beginning on May 26, 2017 that lead to the start of the America’s Cup Match on June 17, 2017. Complete schedule.

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