Why not AC37, Bermuda?

Published on February 1st, 2022

When the 2021 America’s Cup defender plotted out the path for the next edition in 2024, Team New Zealand had a venue announcement pegged for September 17, 2021. However, the riches they hoped would come from host fees lagged, and when more time was needed, the deadline for the Match Venue and approximate event dates became March 31, 2022.

While their home waters of Auckland are an option, the team’s pursuit of greener pastures has them reviewing bids from Ireland, Spain, and Saudi Arabia. Recognizing an opportunity, factions within Bermuda are showing interest. In this opinion column for Bernews, One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) Senate Leader Ben Smith makes his pitch:

If you repeat a lie enough times some people will start to believe it’s the truth. The Progressive Labour Party (PLP) did a great job of repeating to everyone that the 2017 America’s Cup was bad for Bermuda. They continue to repeat this lie every time they feel the pressure or don’t want to answer probing questions.

It is the trick of a magician to distract with one hand while creating the illusion with the other. The PLP’s trick was to continue complaining about the ‘billionaire boat race’ to distract you from the $336m benefit AC35 had on our GDP. Political gain at the expense of progress for our community.

The America’s Cup created jobs for Bermudians. It brought investment into our country and showed our people hope; a reminder of how great we can be if we work together. There is a lasting legacy for youth sailing with the Endeavor Programme, which brought diversity to the sport and continues to benefit our youth.

Team Bermuda saw nine Bermudians selected out of 120 athletes who tried out. These young Bermudians gained world class training and life changing experiences. Team Bermuda made us proud, winning races after such a quick learning curve.

Our young people need to feel encouragement. They need to know our country is vibrant and creating solutions to bring them sustained success. Bermuda needs a success; we need a shot in the arm to get people back to work. We need to regain the enthusiasm that will get us back on track. Despite a 30-6 majority, the Government keeps asking the Opposition for solutions.

So here’s one. Why not dust off the solution the OBA already achieved? There are media reports that America’s Cup 37 needs a home. The Government should swallow its pride and bid to bring back the America’s Cup.

During AC35, the world was able to see Bermuda in all its beautiful color with 450 million viewers. Bermuda has the best environment for the race, we have the best hospitality, and we know how to put on a show.

The PLP should have built upon the momentum AC35 created. Instead, they repeated lies for political gain. Why not put aside past behavior and work together to make Bermuda the envy of the world again? Why don’t we bid to bring back that amazing energy to back to our island? Let’s have Cross Island become the home of AC37.

I know we will need outside investment, but there are people here who would be excited to support the return of the Cup. How many people are still seen wearing AC35 merchandise from their favorite team? How many businesses would love to see the return of the teams? Who wouldn’t want the business that was created during the Cup?

Teams training here means more people spending more money. This adds money to the local economy at all levels of our community. Everyone has been waiting to hear the Government come up with new ideas. Why don’t they just borrow another successful idea from the OBA. We would support the PLP if they did – because we understand it’s about doing what’s best for all of Bermuda.

It will take strong leadership to swallow its pride and admit that the Cup was good for Bermuda. Sail GP will be a good first step, but why not make the big push to have the Cup back in Bermuda.

It would be the perfect relaunch of the Bermuda product after the darkness of COVID. Let’s hope the Government reaches out to see if America’s Cup could return. We need jobs, we need tourists, and we need some good news. Why not AC37, Bermuda?

Following the publication of the AC37 Protocol and AC75 Class Rule on November 17, the entry period opened December 1, 2021 and runs until July 31, 2022, but late entries for the 37th America’s Cup may be accepted until May 31, 2023. The Defender is to announce Match Venue and approximate event dates on March 31, 2022. – https://www.americascup.com/en/home

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