Thursday, July 08, 2010

Rhode Island Given Top Priority to Host America’s Cup Pre-Regattas

[Source: Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation] Rhode Island has been identified as a primary site for the America’s Cup pre-regattas, a series of qualifying races leading up to sailing’s premiere championship event. Russell Coutts, CEO of BMW ORACLE Racing, personally notified Keith Stokes, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, of the decision last night and he again this morning reiterated the team’s desire to host races in Newport.

Starting in 2011, BMW ORACLE Racing anticipates holding six or more pre-regattas in each of the years leading up to the 34th America’s Cup finals, which will be held in 2013 or 2014. The pre-regattas create an opportunity for Rhode Island to build a world-class sailing facility that will put the state in the forefront to host other premier sailing competitions.

In an e-mail message last evening to Keith Stokes, Russell Coutts said: “We continue to develop an AC34 event plan that includes six or possibly more pre-regattas each year (2011, 2012 and possibly 2013 if the Match ends up in 2014). Newport will be given top priority for any such regattas in the USA assuming this is of interest to you and your venue team. We hope it is, and please let me know.”

Shots from the incredible reception BMW Oracle received in Newport where more than 300 sailor kids listened attentively to Russell Coutts. Newport, 3 July 2010. Photo copyright Gilles Martin-Raget / BMW Oracle

“We are grateful for Rhode Island's strong support,” said Tom Ehman, BMW ORACLE Racing’s head of External Affairs. “The work already done by the Governor's team, headed by Keith Stokes, bodes well for hosting an America’s Cup pre-regatta. The level of enthusiasm and experience we saw last week in Newport underscored that the spirit of the America’s Cup is alive and well in the Ocean State.”

“While we are disappointed to learn that Newport is no longer under consideration to be the host city for the final America’s Cup race, we are confident that we will ultimately play an important role as a venue for the challenger races that will be held in the two to three years leading up to the final race,” said Governor Donald L. Carcieri. “It was clear from the BMW ORACLE visit to Rhode Island last week that the team appreciates Newport’s storied America’s Cup history and tradition, and they recognize that we have significant infrastructure in place. We will continue to promote the assets and advantages that Newport has to offer. We congratulate San Francisco, and look forward to being a part of the 34th America’s Cup races.”

“Hosting the challenger series races is a great opportunity for Rhode Island to continue its long tradition of America’s Cup racing. The pre-regattas will showcase Newport on the world stage and provide a significant economic boost to Rhode Island,” said Keith Stokes, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation. “We congratulate San Francisco on its selection. We are very proud of the effort Rhode Island put forward to showcase Newport as one of the world’s premier sailing venues. We are honored to be considered the top candidate to host potentially multiple America’s Cup races over the next few years.”

BMW ORACLE Racing, winner in February of the 33rd America's Cup, also announced that its hometown, San Francisco, is the sole U.S. candidate to host the next America’s Cup finals.

In addition to San Francisco, at least two European cities are competing to host the America’s Cup finals. BMW ORACLE Racing will announce a decision on the venue, along with the date and other details of the next America’s Cup, by the end of this year.

“Congratulations to San Francisco for being named the North American city vying to be the host venue for the America’s Cup. A clear frontrunner in this race to host the cup, we stand by to help in any way to promote San Francisco over any other foreign port for the running of the 34th America’s Cup,” said Brad Read, Executive Director of Sail Newport. “Newport will allow a perfect bookend to the 34th running of the America’s Cup by offering to run preliminary America’s Cup Regattas in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Rhode Island is engaged at the highest levels to pursue these preliminary regattas.”

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