Getting to Bermuda for the America's Cup

Sailors who have not yet made arrangementsto get to Bermuda to see the America’s Cup action “live” can still make arrangements to do so.  But the longer you wait, the fewer options will be available and the more expensive those options may become.

Here’s the 411 on getting there, watching the “Show” and having a great time:

Getting there.

Decide what part of the America’s Cup you want to enjoy.

Finals are scheduled from June 17-June 27. As with all sailing events, these dates are subject to weather. But there are a number of other on-water activities starting as early as May 16. Go to www.americascup.com for the complete schedule.

Then, decide how you want to get to Bermuda.

The easiest way is via air. American Airlines offers non-stops from Washington’s Reagan airport. Jet Blue and a number of other airlines offer one-stop service from BWI. Flights are reasonable ($350-500, roundtrip.)  

Imagine watching the races from the comfort of your own cruise ship balcony. Two operators (Celebrity and Norwegian) have planned voyages that give passengers the best chance to experience some part of the Finals, if they are run per the published schedule. A twin-share, ocean view cabin will run between $1200 and $2000 per person.  Celebrity departs from the New York area on June 18. Norwegian offers a choice of departures from either Boston or New York. Check out the specifics at: celebritycruises.com and ncl.com. 

For the more adventurous, you could always sail over. After all, we’re all sailors, right?

If 4-6 days of fun and games on the high seas is your thing, you might want to check out Offshore Passage Opportunity’s Rally to the Cup packages. Rally organizer Hank Schmitt tells us that around 50 boats will be rallying to Hamilton from various ports on the East Coast. Thus far, 12 boats have committed to make the trip from the Annapolis area.

Chesapeake Bay sailor 58-year-old Jorge Bermudez is planning on making the voyage aboard his Pacific Seacraft 37-foot yawl, Skalliwag. Jorge, with more than 25,000 off-shore miles under his belt, “yearned for a chance to see what my Crealock would do on the passage.” Crew will be a 75-year old liveaboard sailor friend with trans-Atlantic experience and Jorge’s 20-year-old son.

If you are interested in joining the fleet, the OPO package is very comprehensive and includes comprehensive briefings, weather routing, help with Bermudian customs, dockage reservations and the knowledge that you will be cruising with a group of sailors who have done this before. The cost to sign up your boat is $195 and $150 per crew member.

And, if you just want to go along for the ride, Captain Schmitt is offering slots on one of several Swans for around $1650 for the leg out and $1500 for the leg back. You can email him at: [email protected]

The Annapolis “fleet” will depart for Bermuda on or around June 10, which should put you in Bermuda in time for the Finals on June 17. Go to: sailopo.com or, you can call Annapolis port captain Dave Skolnick at 443-327-9084 for all the details.

Where to stay:

The easiest way to enjoy the Cup is to purchase one of the all-inclusive tour packages offered by America’s Cup official package provider Travel Places.  Annapolis’s own Tucker Thompson, public host for the AC, has been busy acquainting area sailors with the specifics of the packages. Be sure to mention him when you book.

Packages start at $1747 for both the Qualifier and Challenger Playoffs Series.

Travel Places offers two Finals packages, with prices starting at $1982.

There is also an “Ultimate” package that covers all projected Finals dates starting at $4995.

All packages cover accommodations at a variety of hotels; on-water viewing, airport transfers…and a free hat! Check it all out at: americascuptravel.com.

Tucker says the packages are going fast….and he assures SpinSheet there will be plenty of opportunities to bend an elbow with fellow sailors at a host of dock-side events during the America’s Cup events. He also alerted us to a promotion Travel Places is running which gives you a chance to win a free 3-night trip to see some of the action. Just go to their website to enter. You just can’t beat free!

If you’re more a “do it yourselfer”, there are a couple of options to look into:

Some rental houses are still available with costs ranging from $200 per night to upwards of $1000 per night. Most all houses close to the venue have been booked for months. Take a look at the local resource bermudarentals.com  for the best, most complete listings.

For the more nautically-inclined, Helm Events is renting spots on a fleet Lagoon 450’s and 52’s catamarans for twin-share prices starting at $2399. This price includes 7 night’s accommodations, breakfast and lunch served on board, and relaxing viewing of the Races from Helm’s Great Sound mooring field.

Daniel at Helm Events tells me the last two weekends of the Cup are sold out. There is some availability for earlier racing. For more information, go to: helmevent.com .

And just announced, the Moorings will be bringing a fleet of 4800’s and 5800’s for a fully-crewed option you can check out at: moorings.com . Five-night minimum packages during America’s Cup Race days start at $20,000 and go up to $30,000+ depending on size of yacht chartered. If you squeeze five couples into the 5800, that’s around $600 per night per person. All prices include chef, food and beverages and on-deck viewing.

You can always try calling Bermuda hotels. Many are booked up and those not fully occupied are fairly expensive. A booking engine like Trip Advisor, for example, shows no vacancies at any of the “name” Bermuda hotels for the Finals on June 24-26. They do, however, show some reasonably-priced ($3-400 per night) rooms at a couple of out of the way places. But what the heck... a bed is a bed!

For more local knowledge, check out gotobermuda.com/35th-americas-cup.

Tickets, please:

Tickets have been on sale at the America’s Cup website americascup.com/tickets since early December.

According to America’s Cup CEO Sir Russell Coutts, sales have been brisk… with some venues selling out this far in advance.

There are a number of ticket options, starting at a $20 daily ticket which gets you into the America’s Cup Village…up to a $150 price tag for entry into the Dark and Stormy Bar area or for a spot on a spectator boat.

Advice from the experts is to buy your tickets in advance.

America’s Cup Host Tucker Thompson sums it up this way : “Bermuda is a great venue. Plan enough time to enjoy the island. One never knows when the Cup will be this close to Annapolis again!”

See you in Bermuda.

Event line-up

  • May 26-June 3: Qualifier Round of Round Robin racing
  • June 4-June 8: Qualifier Playoffs Semi-finals
  • June 10-12: Challenger Playoffs Finals
  • June 12-June 16: Red Bull Youth Qualifiers
  • June 17-June 27: America’s Cup Matches
  • June 14: Super Yacht Regatta
  • June 20-21: Red Bull Youth Finals
  • June 17-18; June 24-25: AC Endeavor Youth half time show

Note: All races dependent on weather. Be sure to check americascup.com  for up-to-date schedules.

~by Craig Ligibel

Sailors who have not yet made arrangements to get to Bermuda to see the America’s Cup action “live” can still make arrangements to do so.... but get on it!