Mighty impressive stuff going on in Bermuda at the moment with the power of the knighthood coming into play as Sir Russell Coutts navigates the difficulties of the Covid-19 situation to keep the Sail GP regatta on track. It’s a race against time but, as was his hallmark in his racing days, Russ is pulling rabbits out of hats, working with the local government agencies and has secured the now standard ‘bio-secure bubble’ arrangement for Sail GP that is prevalent with so many top-tier professional sports at the moment. Be under no illusion that without someone of his stature, this would be nigh on impossible. That’s why Larry hired him and he’s earning his money.
SailGP applied for exemptions to continue its operations at Cross Island and the on-water safety trials during the Government’s seven-day stay at home order, and those exemptions have been granted for SailGP to continue to operate. That’s a coup for Russell and his team as it was looking touch-and-go only a few hours before. This includes exemptions for the sailors to have enough time to familiarise themselves with all the new systems that have been recently implemented on the F50’s. No easy task.
And as a vision of just how difficult it is to run global sporting circuits at the moment, America’s Cup fantasists take note, Sail GP has had to drastically pare down its operational requirements over the stay at home order period, which concludes at 5am on Tuesday 20th April. Measures include reducing the number of people onsite to essential only, a reduced training programme from eight race boats to four, plus the reduction of onsite hours as much as possible. Blooming Covid – when will this all be over?
In addition, SailGP is further revising aspects of its event programming to include changes to its hospitality programme to comply with latest government protocols and the cancellation of the ticketed tour boat spectator experiences. That’s a shame as the spectacle of these boats needs to be enjoyed and seen by as many people as possible and who isn’t bored of digital interaction already? What a weird world it is at the moment but all credit to the Sail GP gang who are trying their hardest to put on a great show…and this could be repeated at every venue on the proposed circuit. Will it get to the end? I hope so but wouldn’t put money on it.
As Russell says: “We are extremely sympathetic to the current situation in Bermuda and our thoughts are with everyone that has been affected by this terrible global pandemic. We are really pleased that we can return to our operations to ensure the safety of the event next weekend. We thank the government for their assistance and the people of Bermuda for their understanding. Bermuda’s ability to deliver world class sporting events while facing unprecedented circumstances has helped to position them as a leading global sports destination with an administration that is able to diligently and efficiently manage these difficult circumstances. We look forward to showcasing the island of Bermuda on April 24-25 and putting on a great show for not only the local community but also for our worldwide audience.”
If anyone can, Russell can. We wish him every success in getting this over the line.