Final preparations for the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda’s Great Sound moved into high gear this week in the lead up to the official opening on Friday, May 26th.

According to the Minister of Economic Development, Dr Grant Gibbons, the AC event village on Cross Island is almost complete. The America’s Cup Event Authority’s (ACEA) sponsor hospitality facilities and a Kids Zone area in the centre of the village are also in the final stages of completion.

In his latest update in the House of Assembly on Friday, the Minister said: “Over the next week structures and facilities for ACEA partners and vendors will be finished, as well as amenities in the public areas. For spectators in the event village there will be large video screens that will feature the races and commentary.

“Significant investments have also been made by local telecom providers, as well as the ACBDA, to upgrade the Wi-Fi and telecommunications infrastructure for the event, both over land and water in the Royal Naval Dockyard area in order to better serve the thousands of anticipated spectators.

“These enhancements include:

  • Free Wi-Fi for the Cross Island event village
  • The launch of LTE service by both major telecom providers with significantly increased bandwidth for cellular communication as well as additional temporary antennas, fibre and microwave links
  • A fibre network on Cross Island
  • A new submarine cable between Spanish Point and Dockyard

“In addition, a unique ‘Wi-Fi on water’ proposal in the Great Sound, using boats to support access points, is currently being reviewed.”

He also commended the “remarkable work done by The West End Development Corporation and their construction partners in renewing and refreshing the whole area”.

“WEDCO is in the final stages of their construction program which includes renovating Moresby House, Prince Alfred Terrace and many other historic buildings. The entire area has been renewed and the Cross Island build-out adds to the overall attraction of Dockyard as a superb site for AC events.

“Work also continues on the Hamilton waterfront to prepare the area for the arrival of the Tall Ships and super yachts over the AC period,” he added.

“To date over 1,550 students have been exposed to sailing and learning opportunities through the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) curriculum.

“Team Bermuda will be participating in the Red Bull Youth AC Qualifier races which commence 12th June. The ACEA has scheduled races on 12 and 13th June from 5pm to 7pm in the evening to encourage residents to come out and support the Bermuda team.”

As for business opportunities, Dr Gibbons said: “Bermuda’s hosting of the America’s Cup has encouraged some entrepreneurs to develop new business concepts or enhance their current offerings specifically for the AC period, while others have created new businesses that they intend to operate long after AC35.”

On that note he said: “The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) has assisted numerous small businesses with business development guidance, funding advice and financial support. About two dozen businesses have applied for the BEDCs microloans and guarantees for opportunities arising out of the America’s Cup.”

The ACBDA has also created an “online local services directory with local resources” to help connect with visiting guests.

The Minister concluded: “Hosting AC35 would not be possible without the extraordinary support of many organizations, businesses, residents and volunteers.

“I would like to thank the ACBDA and its Board and committee members, the ACEA, the teams, government department representatives, the West End Development Corporation, construction companies and contractors as well as all the volunteers who have so ably assisted in the AC35 preparation and process to date.

“I encourage everyone to work together in support of Bermuda during AC35 – it is our time on the world stage – let’s enjoy ourselves and make the most of it.”