In the race: San Francisco is still the frontrunner to host the 2017 America’s Cup, but Bermuda is in good position to host at least a challenger event after the elimination of Newport, Rhode Island, as a contender. See page 10 for how hosting the America’s Cup could financially benefit Bermuda. *MCT Photo
In the race: San Francisco is still the frontrunner to host the 2017 America’s Cup, but Bermuda is in good position to host at least a challenger event after the elimination of Newport, Rhode Island, as a contender. See page 10 for how hosting the America’s Cup could financially benefit Bermuda. *MCT Photo

And then there were three.

Bermuda’s surprise bid for hosting the America’s Cup moved one step closer to reality when it was revealed that Newport, Rhode Island, was no longer a contender.

Tom Ehman, vice commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, told the San Francisco Gate this week that the three finalists were San Francisco, San Diego and Bermuda.

Previously, it had been announced that there were four locations in the running to host the America’s Cup in 2017.

Ehman told the Gate: “Hawai’i is out, and Newport is out.”

He added that he’s “cautiously optimistic” the event will return to San Francisco and talks with the city are slated to resume today (Friday, June 6). 

Dr Grant Gibbons, Minister for Economic Development, was erring on the side of caution. “There’s no guarantee that Bermuda will host the Cup or host some of the World Series Challenger events.

“The next stage for us is, and we’re hopeful and optimistic, that we’re one of the two finalists locations. We probably won’t know that until some time later this month. We’re simply in the running with a number of cities in the US.”

World Series

He added that if Bermuda does make it to the final two “our understanding is the runner-up location will be guaranteed to host a World Series event”.

Dr Gibbons said one of the strong points of Bermuda’s bid is our location.

“From a television perspective we’re in a very good time zone. We’re very close to the east coast, but we’re reasonably close to Europe as well. The time perspective for live events, we have a number of advantages, from what we’ve heard.”

He said the America’s Cup team has already viewed the Great Sound as the racing venue if Bermuda is selected.

“We have a natural amphitheatre there,” Dr Gibbons said. “In some respects, that parallels San Francisco. The stunning shots of the Great Sound with Bermuda around it, would be spectacular from a Bermuda promotion and marketing perspective.”

Dr Gibbons said there were three possible locations that the boats could use as a base. 

Morgan’s Point could be the favourite, if Bermuda hosts the America’s Cup or an America’s Cup event here.

“That’s an interesting spot. It’s prominently located. Dockyard is another possible venue, and some people have talked about the possibility of White’s Island being a part of this as well. 

“It’s a little preliminary and the event authority has looked at a number of locations.”

Dr Gibbons said they were approached by the America’s Cup team on putting in a bid and then it was all hands on deck in getting one submitted in three week’s time. 

“Russell Coutts is a senior member of the event authority and he has been in Bermuda on a number of occasions for the Gold Cup. I suspect he was influential in being asked to bid, but that’s my supposition. We were a little bit surprised and honoured to be asked to bid for it.

“We had a number of people from the event authority looking at logistics and from the marketing side. We were very successful and very pleased to be a part of the Group. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the next cut.”