From exciting on-the-water action to fun-filled parties and events, the 35th America’s Cup, presented by Louis Vuitton brought a memorable mix of serious sailing competitions and island-style celebrations.
The main event – the 35th America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton – unfolded on Bermuda’s Great Sound over five action-packed days from June 17-26, 2017. With Peter Burling at the helm, challenger Emirates Team New Zealand faced off against the defending team, ORACLE TEAM USA, helmed by Jimmy Spithill. Ultimately, Emirates Team New Zealand dominated the competition, winning 7 of 8 final races and becoming champions of the 35th America’s Cup.
At 26 years old, Peter Burling became the youngest winning helmsman in America's Cup history. Under his lead, Emirates Team New Zealand took an unprecedented approach to powering their boat (all racing boats were hydrofoiling AC50 America's Cup Class yachts). Instead of relying on traditional hand-cranked “grinding stations” to operate the wings and foils, the Kiwis opted for four small bicycles – the idea was that using their legs instead of arms would give them a powerful boost. The strategy proved successful.
Official America’s Cup racing began in late May with 10 days of qualifying races followed by Challenger Playoffs Semi-Finals and Challenger Playoffs Finals. Mid-June welcomed Superyacht Regattas, J Class Regattas and the Red Bull Youth America's Cup Finals.
America's Cup Events & Celebrations
America’s Cup festivities kicked off May 26 with an opening ceremony featuring Bermudian singer Gene Steede joined by the band of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, H&H Gombeys, Gombey Evolution and the cast of Proud to be Bermudian. Several local talents performed, from a comedian to music groups, coming to a crescendo with a fireworks show. On Saturday, June 3, the legendary Rev Run – who was part of the influential hip hop group Run-DMC – headlined a welcome party for the media and public ticket holders at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.
Entertainment continued throughout the America’s Cup event. The official America’s Cup band, 4-Forty-1 (a reference to the three-digit area code of Bermuda), played regularly at the America’s Cup Village. Celebration Zones brought entertainment and local vendors to the streets of Hamilton and St. George – themed events included Bonfires & BBQs and the maritime-inspired Pirates & Plunder.
Grammy-winning R&B singer Neyo performed at the America’s Cup Village in the final days of the event. The AC Endeavor Junior Regatta Half-Time Show, held on the two final weekends, featured young sailors from around the world racing in front of cheering crowds that were several thousand strong.
Bermuda's Sailing Legacy
With great sailing conditions and a long legacy of sailing, Bermuda was a natural choice for hosting the America’s Cup. Sailing is ingrained in the island’s history: Bermuda’s first colonists were the surviving sailors of the shipwrecked Sea Venture in 1609, and sailing is how the island thrived. Bermudians invented the Bermuda rig, which is still used in almost all sailing yachts today.
Over the years, the island has fostered strong ties with the U.S. and Europe as well as with the international sailing community. Seasoned sailors have either personally experienced or heard about Bermuda's natural advantages when it comes to sailing and boating. The island boasts near-perfect sailing conditions year-round, with a range of wind conditions that challenge the even the world’s best sailors.
The racing action took place on Bermuda's Great Sound, a natural amphitheater dotted with islands and beaches. Here, steady ocean breezes mix with protected waters that are flat and fast, making it one of the best sailing venues on the planet.
Read more about how Bermuda and the America’s Cup are a match made in sailing heaven.
The America's Cup has been hosted by only nine destinations in the world, including Bermuda.
The Ideal Island Setting
In addition to its rich maritime heritage, Bermuda offers an unmatched location enhanced by natural beauty and warm, welcoming culture. The temperate year-round climate was ideal for America’s Cup team training and hospitality.
With rare pink-sand beaches, turquoise waters, world-class hotels, oceanfront golf courses, delicious local seafood and rich culture, it’s easy to fall in love with this award-winning destination. See Bermuda's top 21 experiences or check out the island’s 40 greatest outdoor adventures.
Bermuda also offers an optimal Atlantic location and time zone. The island is easily accessible via direct flights from Boston, New York, Miami, Atlanta, London and other major cities. See more about getting to Bermuda.
The official America’s Cup Village was built in the South Basin of the historic Royal Naval Dockyard, one of the island’s most popular hubs. This lively home base hosted racing teams and spectators from around the world. The South Basin area incorporated modern facilities for the teams and a first-ever "pit row" fan experience for the public. From here, you could view the entire race-course from onshore, or enjoy on-the-water views from yachts, official spectator boats or private vessels.
As a first-time host, the island of Bermuda joined an elite group of destinations that have welcomed the pinnacle event in the sport of sailing. Since the first America’s Cup race was held in 1851 off the southern coast of England, the event has been hosted by only nine destinations in the world, including Bermuda.