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Legacy of AC35 relies on leadership

  • Providing opportunity: Sir Russell Coutts lauded AC35 legacy

The legacy of the America’s Cup for Bermuda will depend on follow-up action and leadership, ACBDA chief executive Mike Winfield said.

He added the financial figures in an independent PricewaterhouseCoopers report on the event were impressive, but that the information contained in the ACBDA’s legacy report was “of equal value and importance”.

Mr Winfield said: “There is the potential for much more, but that potential will only be realised with leadership and determination.

“We need to seize those opportunities as they will exist for a short period of time.”

Mr Winfield was speaking after reports into the economic, environmental, social and legacy impacts of the event were unveiled on Thursday.

The 55-page report on the legacy impact of the America’s Cup highlighted the new Cross Island and improvements made in Dockyard and Morgan’s Point, as well as other sporting events secured since AC35.

The report said: “Bermuda has secured rights to host the ITU World Triathlon Series, Oyster Regatta and International Moth World Championships in 2018.

“Other possibilities include Formula E motor racing, international offshore powerboat racing and Red Bull air races.”

The report also referred to a $500,000 donation by America’s Cup-related groups to the island.

It said: “From refurbished sailboats to school supplies, playground equipment, furniture, hydration stations, wi-fi devices for public schools and computer equipment, donations were received by communities, schools, and government departments.”

Mr Winfield added: “More than 1,600 students aged 9-12 years were engaged with the America’s Cup Endeavour Programme. The Endeavour Community Programme will have a sustained legacy impact on Bermuda.

“Two sailing forts are established and this programme will continue to impact thousands of Bermudian children for the foreseeable future.”

Mr Winfield also revealed that 80 per cent of the visitors for the America’s Cup said they would recommend Bermuda as a holiday destination.

He added: “Our emergency services received international training that will stand them in good stead for the future and they have been exposed to the efficacies of a joint agency, tightly co-ordinated approach.

“The creation of the Joint Agency Control Centre was a first for Bermuda and provides an extremely useful model for co-ordinated command of major events going forward.”

The legacy report also detailed a series of donations of cash, equipment and supplies by the America’s Cup Event Authority, the ACBDA and the teams to various local organisations including schools, Government departments and charities.

Sir Russell Coutts, chief executive officer of the America’s Cup Event Authority, said: “Through the America’s Cup Endeavour Programme thousands of Bermudian children have been provided with an opportunity to learn and grow through the sport of sailing, and there will be thousands more to come.

“This legacy was close to my heart but the following report gives you a sense for how wide-reaching the impact has been and we hope will continue to be in Bermuda for many years.”