The staging of a spectacular America’s Cup preview regatta on the Gold Coast in February next year would create a long-term, multi-million dollar boost to the region’s economy according to the commodore of Southport Yacht Club, Phil Short.
Mr Short said that the area of the Broadwater that would be prepared for the staging of the America’s Cup series would present the club and the community with the opportunity to stage many other major regattas, including world, Australian and state championships, and Olympic lead-up events.
He said that economic impact studies that have researched such regattas staged in Australia and overseas confirm millions of dollars would be pumped into the local community if the Gold Coast Broadwater could host major sailing events.
“Right now we just don’t have an expanse of water deep enough in the Broadwater for the staging of these regattas,” Commodore Short said. “The area off the Broadwater Park, at Southport, that is being proposed for the America’s Cup regatta would be ideal for such contests if it was made deep enough.
“Our club has had to say no to the opportunity to stage 10 major sailing events this year, including seven world championships, simply because we didn’t have an area within the Broadwater where racing could be staged. When it is realised that these events involved 2575 sailors and more than 1000 support staff over 105 days of competition, it’s easy to realise that our community is missing out on many, many millions of dollars annually, just because we don’t have a suitable arena.”
The move to bring the extremely fast hydrofoil America’s Cup catamarans to the Gold Coast in February is being propelled by V8 supercar ace, and the head of the The Boat Works marine precinct at Coomera, Tony Longhurst, and legendary hairdresser-cum-boating identity, Stefan Ackerie. They are proposing an area off the northern end of Broadwater Park as the best location for the series
The same venue would prove ideal for championships to be staged by Southport Yacht Club.
The proposal is currently being considered by the State Government for funding. The America’s Cup Regatta Director, Iain Murray, has already visited the Gold Coast and confirmed the location was ideal for the regatta should the water be deepened a by only a few metres.
Commodore Short stressed that if the proposed venue was developed as a race course area it would also be suitable for many maritime activities, like kite boarding and canoe racing events. He added that making this venue even more ideal was the fact that spectators on the shore would be “ringside” for the racing.
Commodore Short added: “We can only hope the State Government realises that there is much more to this current proposal than just the America’s Cup regatta. By supporting that event the Gold Coast community will benefit immensely forever and a day.”