Sailing Grand Prix countdown not running like clockwork – The Royal Gazette

Updated: February 04, 2022 08:43

Officials tried to start the countdown marking 100 days until the return of the Sailing Grand Prix yesterday and… nothing happened.

Charles Jeffers II, CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, was on hand for the unveiling of the symbolic countdown clock at the Bermuda Visitor Services Center and the introduction of the Bermuda Sailing Grand Prix Steering Committee.

The BTA were joined by representatives from title sponsor Hamilton Princess & Beach Club and SailGP to mark the build-up to the opening event of the World League’s third season, scheduled for May 14-15.

It was the official duty of Mark Clarke, as vice-chairman of the new steering committee, to start the clock.

But he later conceded: “I couldn’t make it work. The clock was on, but I couldn’t get the remote to work. ”

He tried to take the blame, saying The Royal Gazette with a laugh last night: “It was probably user error. So that’s one of the first things we have to sort out. I’ll make a few calls right away.

“We have a lot of things we want to do, so we want to meet as early as next week.”

Early bird tickets offering a 15% discount to see the fast, high-flying F50s on the Great Sound – driven by the sport’s top athletes – go on sale at today.

New steering committee chairman Paul Scope said the government and the Bermuda Tourism Authority wanted to build on the committee’s work from last year and the America’s Cup experience to drive greater involvement. of the public in an event that can generate substantial economic benefits.

“The Bermuda Sail Grand Prix Steering Committee was formed to champion opportunities for economic and social engagement in our community, including local stakeholders, non-profit organizations, community boating, social clubs and entrepreneurs,” Jeffers said.

“We intend to use the event to pursue broad community participation and celebrate Bermuda’s rich sailing heritage.”

The new steering committee is trying to avoid a repeat of the America’s Cup confusion when some Bermudians were persuaded not to support the event.

It includes a cross section of comments from seafarers, business people and government.

Clarke, a former policeman considers himself a sailor.

Alan Burland was an Olympic sailor from Bermuda, but also a well-known businessman.

Erica Smith, executive director of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, has long been a powerful authority in government, helping Bermudians develop new businesses.

Also on the committee are well-known Bermudians Raymond Lambert (BEDC, Marine Comet) and Lyndon Raynor (Department of National Security).

Like Paul Scope, Susan Pateras comes from the world of international insurance and is also Vice President of the Bermuda Business Development Agency.

The Steering Committee will support youth sailing activities that inspire Bermuda youth and celebrate Bermuda’s maritime history.

Members are expected to connect the event with local stakeholders, including local Bermuda boating and social clubs and tourism entrepreneurs.

Clarke was asked about the concern expressed during the America’s Cup that sailing was a ‘white sport’.

He replied, “Clearly black Bermudians have a long history of sailing, otherwise you wouldn’t have had sailing clubs. I did some research and found five black sailing clubs over the years.

“It was going back to the beginning of the 20th century. I think many have forgotten our history because of our focus on football and cricket. But there are some things that I was surprised to discover.

“There is no doubt that sailing is part of the history of all of Bermuda.”

In SailGP’s third season, it has expanded to include ten teams – with new additions, Canada and Switzerland joining the ranks.

After the start of Bermuda, the league will stop in iconic cities such as Chicago, Copenhagen, Saint-Tropez and Dubai. It will span 2022-23 and is expected to include ten events.

BTA CEO Charles Jeffers with a Gombey dance on Front Street to celebrate the return of Sail GP (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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