ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill is in Bermuda this week, along with other team members, to lay the groundwork for a smooth transition for the team as it moves to the new host venue of the America’s Cup over the coming weeks.
“The objective of being here this week is to start work on setting up our base, our new home, in Bermuda. It’s been fantastic to get here and feel the energy and experience the welcoming we’re getting from Bermudians,” Spithill told the local media on Tuesday morning at Dockyard, on the west end of the island.
“Our plan at ORACLE TEAM USA is to be sailing out on the Great Sound at the beginning of May. It’s important for us to hit that deadline, so we’re working to put a plan in place to achieve that. Our team members, the designers, the athletes, their families and kids, we’re all coming here to Bermuda from about now onwards really – looking for houses, schools, getting integrated into the local community. For me personally, having been here the past few days, the local people here are really behind it. I have no doubt we’re going to have a fantastic America’s Cup here.”
The new ORACLE TEAM USA base will be set up at Dockyard, which is where all team bases will be located as well as the public village for the America’s Cup competition in 2017.
ORACLE TEAM USA will set up the first team base and Spithill says it needs to be operational as soon as possible.
“From a work point of view, the plan that we’re going through this week with ACBDA (America’s Cup Bermuda), WEDCO (the West End Development Corporation) and BCM McAlpine and others is going to result in a very functional, efficient base so that our designers and engineers have a great spot, our athletes have the working area they need and the on-water operations is all integrated. The thing is that the race track is right here as well, so I think we will be very efficient and very productive when we are here working.
“It’s very important to ORACLE TEAM USA to get set up here first,” Spithill continued. “I look at it like we’re the home team – we’re responsible for the Cup coming to Bermuda, we’ll be the first ones to set up here and get integrated into the community. And in my experience, it’s so important to have the home crowd behind you. The local Bermudians are going to be a big part of the result. We need them to get behind our team if we want to win. That’s a key part. It was key last time. We want to welcome them with open arms they way they’ve welcomed us. It will make a difference to us.
“I think people here will be blown away when they see these boats,” Spithill concluded, talking about the foiling AC45 and AC62 catamarans used in the America’s Cup racing. “Most people, when they think sailing, they think of cruising boats. When they see us here sailing for our training sessions, they’ll think they’re looking at some kind of spacecraft. These boats literally fly. They do over 80km/h on the water. They have to be powered by just the wind and the athletes on board. I think people will be really impressed and I think kids will be really excited by it too. Hopefully it helps groom a new generation of sailors.”
ORACLE TEAM USA has a final training session scheduled in San Francisco next month before moving its operations to Bermuda, with a target to start training sessions on the Great Sound at the beginning of May.
– Oracle Team USA Media