Bermuda to Host SailGP Season Opener in 2021
Monday, November 23, 2020
Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) will be the Official Host Partner for the launch of SailGP’s Season 2, when the global league stages a four-week training camp in Bermuda followed by its two-day, live-televised kick-off event on the waters of the Great Sound next April.
The Bermuda Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess is scheduled for April 24–25, adding Bermuda to the dynamic league’s second-season roster that’s set to feature nine events in host nations around the world. The showdown will follow a month-long camp held on the island for SailGP’s eight national teams—Australia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the United States—to hone their skills in pre-season practice. And, for the first time, female athletes will be included in the training as part of SailGP’s gender-equity initiative.
Delivering critical direct economic benefit to the island, the event also offers educational programmes, community engagement, local business and entrepreneurial opportunities, incentives to attract superyacht charters, and a legacy example of a climate-positive sports event.
“This is a thrilling opportunity that not only offers Bermuda significant economic stimulus and international exposure outside the summer months, but also presents local business opportunities and community engagement benefits for our young people,” said BTA Interim CEO Glenn Jones. “Notably, it will also provide a compelling reason for superyachts to visit in the spring of 2021, taking advantage of Bermuda’s new chartering allowance which came into effect earlier this year.”
“The partnership is the result of much brainstorming by the BTA with SailGP, starting as long as two years ago, to host an event originally targeted for 2022,” said Victoria Isley, BTA Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. “Bermuda’s world-recognised health and safety record during the pandemic propelled that timeline to make a 2021 event in Bermuda both desirable and possible. After further discussions over the past year with SailGP, West End Development Corporation (WEDCO), the Bermuda Government, and other local partners, we’re now proud to deliver a scenario that is well-suited to Bermuda, aligned with National Tourism Plan goals, and geared to quickening the island’s economic recovery.”
Established in 2018 and headquartered in London and New York, SailGP is an annual, global sports championship featuring cutting-edge technology and athleticism. Rival national teams battle it out at speeds reaching up to 50 knots (about 60 mph) in F50 catamarans that evolved from the foiling vessels first featured during the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda in 2017.
“Bermuda is a truly ideal location to open our global championship next year,” said SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts. “It is not only a stunningly beautiful destination with perfect racing conditions, but it also offers a haven for our league to safely resume our calendar amidst the pandemic. The island has proven itself as an incredibly capable and welcoming host to major international events and is where the first generation of our F50 catamarans was introduced to the world during the America’s Cup in 2017. We look forward to fully engaging with the local community via our Race for the Future purpose-driven actions, and in spending April in Bermuda as we prepare for and launch our second championship season, which is shaping up to be a huge step forward in the world of professional sailing.”
The BTA has committed to be Host Partner for the 2021 event, with a first option to renew for return engagements in 2022 and ’23. Spending by teams, staff and visitors on-island would be derived across economic sectors, from accommodation, food and beverage, transport and tour boats, to myriad contracted services like security, equipment rentals, marine parts and expertise.
The economic benefits will be matched with diverse and meaningful social impact throughout both the training camp and event, with clear engagement points across the community. SailGP will work with Bermuda partners to encourage wide participation and inclusion, from local schools to sailboat clubs throughout the island. Notably, the league’s SailGP Inspire programme, championed by league athletes, will collaborate with Bermuda’s Endeavour programme for youth, including a project targeting at-risk young Black men in middle schools.
The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club will serve as Title Partner for the kick-off event, while WEDCO is the Official Venue Partner—leveraging strategic use of the former AC35 staging site at Cross Island for the competition. Three additional partners include BF&M, RenaissanceRe and Butterfield Group.
The Bermuda Grand Prix will broadcast live in the US and Canada on CBS Sports Network and in the UK on SkyTV. Television and media coverage will generate exposure for Bermuda in more than 150 countries. Bermuda will also benefit from association with premium global brands that are currently sponsors of SailGP, including Rolex, Oracle and Rockwool.
Additionally, SailGP, which currently employs four Bermudians in full-time positions, will hire an estimated further 26 temporary positions.
The event is expected to attract numerous superyachts and high-net-worth guests to visit Bermuda during the sector’s all-important spring season. The incentive would leverage new legislation enacted by Bermuda’s Parliament in 2020, permitting vessels 24 metres (78 feet) or larger to charter for the first time in island waters.
As the first climate-positive sports organisation, SailGP, together with local partners, will also commit to delivering the event under the latest UN Climate Framework.
About Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA)
The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) is an award-winning, accredited destination marketing organisation that promotes Bermuda internationally and works to empower our tourism industry stakeholders. Explore Bermuda’s National Tourism Plan at BermudaNTP.com.