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Bermuda’s Redemption Depends on the Last Great Yacht Race

The America s Cup is the monument to excess Bermuda deserves

The keystone event of competitive sailing lies a three-hour flight from Atlanta, precariously dropped in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Six teams representing countries from North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania have descended on Bermuda in a display that combines elite technology and old-fashioned manpower in a battle for the oldest trophy in international sport. Combined, they will spend more than half a billion dollars in service of the America s Cup, an event reserved for the elite. Bermuda, one of the finest vestiges of the British Empire, has welcomed them with open arms. The country s aim goes beyond the hospitality that courses through the island; this tiny dot, hundreds of miles from anything but water, hopes a major sporting event, no matter its niche, will be enough to save Bermuda. The setting is idyllic. The island is shaped like a cursive lowercase j. Its Great Sound offers an expanse of protected crystal blue water, smooth at the surface despite the constant presence of swirling wind. Brightly colored homes jut from the undulating landscape, parsed by palm trees and the occasional Anglican Church. There’s no place where you can’t see the ocean. Occasionally, a rooster crosses your path, glances back at you indifferently, then crows indifferently.

With average house prices stretching into the seven figures, it s one of the most expensive places in the world to live

This tiny island is an outlier in the long line of Cup hosts. The 2013 venue was San Francisco, a city situated in a Bay Area that holds 7.15 million people. Before that, it was Valencia, Spain[1] — home to one of Europe s busiest ports and 2.5 million residents. Newport, Rhode Island, a popular former hosting site and 2017 s backup plan should Bermuda been unable to fulfill its duties, is the historic home of some of America s greatest yachters and only hours from Boston and New York City. Bermuda, meanwhile, is an island with 65,000 people stretched across 20 square miles. It s approximately 665 miles from the U.S. coast. With average house prices stretching into the seven figures, it s one of the most expensive places in the world to live. Unlike contemporary island vacation spots like the Bahamas or Jamaica[2], its prices freeze out all but the wealthiest travelers. It is the perfect place for the America s Cup.

The America s Cup, the crown jewel of the world s most expensive sport, feels right at home in Bermuda

Watching a regular sailboat lope through the water is relaxing. Watching an America s Cup yacht carve through Bermuda s translucent turquoise ocean is surreal. The wind gives these $10 million catamarans speed, raising them from shiny black hulls onto hydrofoils, the under-boat wings that allow them to rise above the waves and shred whitecaps. The move perches crews six feet above the water, reducing drag, increasing speed, and allowing skippers to make hairpin turns that seem psychically impossible from the shore. The end result is a craft that hovers above the horizon, anchored to the ocean only by its foils and the dual rudders that steer it. The boats look like the offspring of the Flying Dutchman and a Formula One car. They float over the ocean at 30 knots per hour. The foundation of the America s Cup is innovation. Hydrofoils are the latest in a long line of technology that s made boats faster and faster, often doubling the speed of the wind that serves as their only propulsion. It s great for watching the sport on television, but the Cup s biggest disadvantage had long been its inability to translate as a spectator sport from the docks.

The entire scene is the fanciest wedding reception you ve ever seen.

Fortunately, Bermuda is prepared. The America s Cup Village, constructed on newly-laid concrete jutting into the Great Sound where the races take place, is loaded with screens big and small that feature a live television broadcast filmed from a helicopter high above the water. It s also filled with stages for upbeat island music, a host of MCs to pump up the crowd, an expansive playground, and plenty of upscale concessions. The Village, as currently constructed, is marketed to a crowd several classes higher than your standard MLB or NFL game. The first refreshment stand you see upon entering the grounds is a Moet & Chandon tent, selling glasses of champagne for $25 a pop. Even in a country where the median home price is $1.2 million, this seems pricey.

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

Moet is one of two wines to have an outsized presence at the event. The other, a screw-top white called Mouton Cadet, paid handsomely for the privilege to be the race s official wine[3]. Cadet s other sponsorships include golf s Ryder Cup[4] and the Cannes film festival. Somewhere near the media tent, a lone ice cream truck, plastered with airbrushed pictures of Spongebob and Patrick, sticks out like a sore thumb. There isn t a Bud Light tallboy in sight. The only American beer I can find is Narragansett s Del s Shandy, a choice that would be a clever nod to the race s Newport background had the brewery not moved from Rhode Island to upstate New York several years prior.

While the event caters to the 1%, it puts a stringent effort toward breeding new fans by catering to sailing neophytes. Panels and exhibitions throughout the grounds explain the race and boats with measured words that go far beyond whose boat is faster. The exhibits are well crafted, kid-oriented, and brings together first-time islanders and race veterans alike. The divide between those two groups becomes much more apparent in the Club AC, the high-end lounge targeted toward the race s corporate partners and big spenders. The club is brand new to the island, built atop what used to be a shallow patch of ocean. The wood-and-stone structure opens out to an impressive deck that backs up to the Cup s finish line, allowing patrons the best view in the house. Everything, from the fixtures to the staff, has a shiny glow as though it had been covered with protective plastic just minutes before. The venue is, in a word, gorgeous. As serving staff approaches with complementary bottles of Moet, a lone man with a ukulele turns popular songs maudlin in his effort to be the worst hype man of all time. As the saddest possible version of Dancing on the Ceiling plays, be-aproned waiters pass out tiny seafood appetizers to well-dressed guests.

The entire scene is the fanciest wedding reception you ve ever seen. Instead of a bride shuffling with her father as Israel Kamakawiwo ole s cloys Somewhere Over the Rainbow, you re watching two boats slice through water so blue you understand how doomed pilots mistake it for the sky. To get to the section of the suite where fun sized bottles of champagne are passed around and cheerful bartenders pour dark and stormies, you must first pass through an array of sponsors; Panerai watches, Vineyard Vines apparel, and Sperry Topsiders first and foremost among them. The cheapest item for sale is a $65 t-shirt. An official 20 x24 print from the event costs $850. A Vineyard Vines associate traps me as I pour through his racks, showcasing his knowledge of the brand by pointing out my whale-adorned light blue slacks. I neglect to tell him they were a $4 thrift store purchase, instead feigning interest until a woman who looks like she just stumbled 3d-printed from a Kentucky Derby[5] pamphlet pulls him away.

These bold strategies pay off; Sperry has a booth where a kind gentleman customizes each pair of $100 shoes purchased with a design of your choice. The tattoo-gun hum of his engraver echoes throughout the building all afternoon.

This is history for us, I think everyone is excited to be connected to an event with such a legacy.

The Club s allure doesn t end with its fixtures and accouterments. The staff, both male and female, is categorically beautiful. Each is at least a generation younger than the guests they re serving. They appear the work of a slick promotional company that hires models to work as servers for upscale events. A quick conversation with the attendants proves this false. They re all connected to the island or the race in some way. Many are wives or girlfriends of crew members.

I wanted to be part of the event. This is history for us, Amanda, a local lawyer who volunteered in order to be part of the biggest sporting event to come to the island, tells me. I think everyone is excited to be connected to an event with such a legacy. Another, a Texas A&M student named Elizabeth, serves as a rare transplant on the staff. She originally came to visit her father for summer vacation and worked her way into a role in the featured cabin. The duo, adorned in perfectly-fit breezy blue dresses and boat shoes, have well practiced smiles and disarming conversational skills.

While they may be volunteers, they are extremely good at their jobs. The ladies spend much of their day chatting with increasingly tipsy (and loud) baby boomers. The men pour drinks and clear off tables. Every one exudes the warmth and friendliness for which the island has come to be known.

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

Aside from the volunteers, the absence of actual Bermudians inside the suite is notable. The host of a pre-race morning show calls the country the most lively place he’s ever been and receives a chorus of cheers. He then asks how many of us are from Bermuda. In a room of 150, maybe six people call back. You have to head outside, past the waves of sales associates and security, to find islanders. The sterile luxury of the high rollers suite gives way to a more authentic experience on the race grounds. The grandstand, filled to capacity, buzzes with activity for the hour preceding the qualifying races until their conclusion. A deejay pumps up the crowd by giving brief play-by-play that leads into chants and cheers. The difference between the two venues is significant. Club AC buzzes twice during ORACLE Team USA s opening win over New Zealand[6], then fills the remaining two hours with a din of light conversation and clinking glasses. The grandstand, which ushers estimate is 70 to 75 percent Bermudian, increases in pitch on every turn. Boats gliding through the finish line, whether in first or second place, earn a warm homecoming after each race.

Outside the grandstand, a concrete park welcomes ticketed visitors with big screen broadcasts of the race, the manufactured energy produced by hours of bass-heavy pump-up music, and the chance to purchase $20 personal pizzas. The centerpiece of the grounds is a large, nautical themed playground surrounded by sponsored exhibits that allow children and their parents to crank hydraulic winches just like the sailors on the six competing teams do. The whole scene is like a county fair, only all the playground features are boats and all the American children you hear screaming will one day go to Choate.

It s brought tourists here and united them with Bermudians in support of the sport.

Every Bermudian I speak to is a first-timer at the race, having skipped previous Cups in San Francisco and Valencia. They are all very happy to have the race in their backyard, citing everything from the event s prestige to its economic impact on the island.

I just think it s great. It s gorgeous to come up here. I m just relaxing, enjoying the atmosphere, Patricia Darrell, a Bermudian who has brought her grandchildren to the Village to share her first America s Cup experience, tells me.

It s brought tourists here and united them with Bermudians in support of the sport. Look at these people around me. She gestures behind her. This man is from America. Would he have come here if not for the race? John, a sailing fan lured to the sport after watching it in his hometown of San Francisco four years earlier, shakes his head in confirmation.

And now he knows what we have to offer. Now he can come back. Now he can tell people about Bermuda. It s attracting the whole world. That s something Bermuda needs because of our recession.

Bermuda is betting this prestige sporting event will be enough to right an uneven economy

The country wasn t immune to the economic downturn that affected the majority of the developed world at the turn of the last decade. Though tourism only makes up seven percent of the island s revenue, its useful status as a tax haven has made it a popular destination for international business. Insurance companies specializing in insuring smaller insurers — an ouroboros of investments, claims, and bad luck — is the business of choice. Back in 2000, the New York Times estimated these companies could save some $7 billion in federal taxes just by moving their headquarters to the middle of the ocean[7]. Being in a tropical paradise was just icing on the cake. But as the late 2000s put a squeeze on American businesses, the economic downturn made a big enough splash for its ripples to reach Bermuda. From 2008 to 2014, an island with 64,000 people lost an estimated 6,500 jobs[8].

The nation had declared its six-year recession dead and buried in June 2015, suggesting an embryonic recovery was set to take place[9]. However, negative growth reared its ugly head less than two months later[10]. Unemployment rates remained a problem; a lack of jobs prevented an economic revival on the island. The Cup s presence is meant to be the stimulus to counteract the shrinking pool of construction and banking jobs that have plagued Bermudians in recent years. Bermuda s GDP continued to decline as recently as tail end of 2016.

People out here are getting paid the same as they were 10, 15 years ago, David McCann, a boat captain for Blue Water Divers Bermuda says. But the cost of living keeps going up. Everything here is expensive.

Being born here is a gift, but sometimes there s a breaking point — either you can afford to live here or you can t. The country shelled out big in hopes the race would be the kind of financial boon to jumpstart its economy. Bermuda spent an estimated $77 million on the two-month event[11], a financial commitment every bit as important to race organizers as the perfect sailing conditions of the Great Sound. The spending breakdown includes $25 million in infrastructure improvements — including the racing grounds and the concrete jetty on which Club AC stands — $12 million in operating costs, which covers the rangers patrolling the Sound to keep stray boats from floating on the course, and $15 million in sponsorship fees that allow Bermuda to earn a spot directly under America s Cup on this year s official neoprene beer coozies.

The accompanying economic impact report suggests this is a sound investment. Each of the six ships has had a large team presence on the island over the past two years, housing everyone from skippers to engineers as they gather information and acclimate to the swirling wind of the island. The race s key demographic — old money families steeped in the event s nearly two centuries of tradition — are the perfect market for a lineup of hotels with an average per-night cost of more than $600 during the race. The two-month event piggybacks from the impact of a three-day America s Cup World Series[12] event that hit the island in 2015. Those races didn t just serve as an introduction to the world of high-level yachting for Bermudians, it also brought an estimated $8.6 million in additional island spending[13] — including $2.6 million in hotel revenue.

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

However, this year s event may not meet those lofty expectations. The 33rd America s Cup in 2013 brought an estimated $550 million in economic activity to San Francisco and its outlying areas. While impressive, that was still a far cry from the $1.4 billion suggested back in 2010. The gold standard for economic infusion came in 2007, when Valencia saw a spending uptick of $1.1 billion as host port. Still, the island stands to benefit from a major influx of cash from the comprehensive event. It s hoping it could be much more. If ORACLE Team USA wins and decides to bring the Cup back to the island for its next iteration — something several team members suggest is a strong possibility throughout the weekend — Bermuda will double-down on that initial buy-in while having to make limited infrastructure improvements for a 2019 race..

While the event may be bringing new life to the Great Sound, some Bermudians have failed to see an impact across the country through the qualifying rounds. With two cruise ships docked at King s Wharf each weekday, only Team USA hats and polo shirts can differentiate yachting fans from regular vacationers down at Horseshoe Bay. One lifeguard I flag down tells me the weekday crush at the beach has been roughly the same

Sailing fans typically don t make it down here during the day, I guess, he tells me, staring through me to keep an eye on the throngs of tourists, several in American flag bathing suits, who have descended on the beach. You notice a bit more traffic, more cabs, but it s not a burden.

“It’s good for the island, you know,” Derek, one of the aforementioned cab drivers reflects. “But it doesn’t really affect us. Someone is getting paid, somewhere. The event is on one side of the island, so if you’re not there, you might not notice.”

Corporate synergy rules the races

If Bermuda was looking for an event with deep pockets, it landed a whopper. The America s Cup lacks the commercial popularity to sustain itself, leading to a significant buy-in from teams with nine-digit racing budgets. These are the teams that don t have to think twice about the cost of building state of the art training facilities they ll tear down two years later. The event s prescripted catamaran yachts, a sleek blend of carbon fiber and smart technology, cost upward of $10 million before they re even dropped in the Sound. That s a tremendous price, but still a huge adjustment from the 113-foot trimarans of the 2010 race, whose costs were so prohibitive it helped limit participation to only two teams — BMW ORACLE and Swiss champions Alinghi. The spending in the stands is massive, but it fails to measure up to the output of the teams competing for the Auld Mug. The America s Cup is not a self sustaining event; the sheer cost of constantly improving technologically gluttonous boats, by nature, cannot be. ORACLE co-founder Larry Ellison is the United States[14] godfather, a man with enough money to save American yachting through investment and commitment.

While he lost his first attempt at the Cup, failing in the Challenger series of the 2007 event, he s been undefeated since then. His presence has been the deciding factor that s brought the silver chalice back to its familiar home, courtesy of the Golden Gate Yacht Club. Outside Magazine pegs his contribution to the team at anywhere between $250 and $300 million[15]. His buy-in is apparent just by looking at the team s headquarters. Every team has shipping containers littering their grounds, but ORACLE Team USA s are the only ones branded with official team logos. On the edge of the grounds, along the coast, is a small bar meant to entertain reporters and team associates. Televisions along the borders display precisely-edited promotional videos detailing the tremendous technical specs of the U.S. vessel. For a series of pop-up structures, the U.S. base is slickly warm and familiar, lined with trappings of home. Traditional wisdom suggests it will cost upwards of $100 million to bring home the sterling silver ewer that serves as sailing s top prize. Ellison and his team don t have to bear that cost on their own this race. In an act of corporate synergy that would make Jack Welch blush, ORACLE Team USA has teamed with European aerospace giant Airbus to create a cross-continental tag team designed to expand the event s impact beyond crystal blue water.

Airbus prides itself as the team s Official Innovation Partner, and the work between the teams makes so much sense it s amazing 2017 marks just the second race to take place under the union. The gist of the deal is simple; Team USA has access to the company s comprehensive equipment testing facilities in Toulouse, which allows for some of the most complex aerodynamics trials in the sport.

This is, first off, an undertaking of human resources. This is not a sponsorship. It is a partnership, Airbus Head of Business Development Pierre-Marie Belleau explains. All the technology we are developing can be carried across to Team ORACLE.

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

OTU gets the advantage of steadily improving its technology at the speed of a 72,000-person European megalith. Airbus gets to use that data and apply it to its ever-expanding fleet of aircraft. The latest round of sharklets — the molded wing-tips that jut upward into the sky on larger planes — have designs lifted from the hydrofoils that push Jimmy Spithill s craft above the Bermuda water and toward another America s Cup. Some 30 Airbus engineers work in a part-time capacity with the Americans; another four are full time. An even smaller staff has set up a base of operations on the island, collecting data in real time and reporting back the most efficient ways to improve. Airbus s contributions don t stop there. The company s loaned-out engineers also map the wind data of Bermuda s Great Sound, building predictive models from 400 sensors located on the yacht s wing. They also play a role in designing the hydraulic control systems that control every move the team makes.

It really is a win/win partnership, Belleau grins.

Airbus s foray with OTU isn t its first entrance into the world sailing market, but it is by far the most successful. The aviation giant had teamed with local favorite Groupama Team France[16] and then with BAR Great Britain before finding a suitable connection with Ellison s pet project. The reason behind the switch was no surprise.

Being associated with a winner makes sense for everyone within Airbus, COO and President Fabrice Bregier tells me. We invested in big data to get these test results. An association with the American team also means more visibility in a market dominated by the company s biggest competitor, Boeing. Bregier dismisses these claims, however.

ORACLE Team USA is very big. They don t need anybody, but they were open to a partnership could they have been from a different nationality? Yes. We have challenges in America, we have invested in an assembly line in America — this is a big market for us, which is challenging because this is the home turf of Boeing.

But we equally could have had interest in China[17], which is our biggest market today. If Airbus wanted to get its name on a hull, Bregier contends, they would have been sponsors. If this was solely about diving into new markets, they would have found a sport with a greater foothold in Asia.

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Instead, it was the combination of Team USA s success, ORACLE s big data backing, and the common sense sharing between the two that made a tech giant and an aerospace standby the gold standard in competitive sailing. The work is difficult, but it pays off. ORACLE Team USA, defending champions, boast the top record through qualifying, earning an extra point to take with them into the finals. This kind of headline-grabbing partnership isn t exclusive to Ellison s lineup. The other teams on the island have also found ways to earn their turns in the spotlight off the water. Artemis Team Sweden[18] is an up-and-comer in the racing world, their third-place finish this year marking their ascension to the Cup s upper tier. Their success is a remarkable comeback from tragedy, as the team lost crewman Andrew Bart Simpson after its boat suffered a catastrophic failure and capsized off the coast of San Francisco in 2013[19]. While their resilience shines through in the team s results on the water, the team s public relations work from Bermuda paints a distinct U.S./Europe divide between the sport s top teams.

While Artemis s main goal is bringing Sweden its first-ever America s Cup, its secondary cause is sustainability.

Artemis Racing is particularly proud of its land use at Morgan s Point. With the help of its partner, Caroline Bay, Artemis Racing has taken an abandoned US Navy base and turned it into the team s base of operations on the island, team head of media relations David Tyler recites. The building didn t require any land excavations or major ground works, and whenever the team decides to leave Bermuda, the base can be packed up and relocated without a trace, or recycled for another use.

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

That s not the only step they ve taken in their leave no trace approach to the 2017 Cup. The Swedes have also partnered with Bluewater, a Scandinavian water filtering company whose aim is to ensure all team waste is recycled. Artemis proudly boasts a recycling system that produces 154 gallons of fresh water per hour — something especially useful during the eight week drought that falls over the island leading up to the finals. Of course, that doesn t mean Artemis is a humble program focused solely on environmentalism. The team has also made its own significant buy-in when it comes to constant improvement on the water. When pressed if the Swedes subscribe to the $100 million per Cup rule of thumb that accompanies the race, Tyler avoids talking specifics but his answer remains clear.

It s fair to say that it s a competitive budget.

National teams aren t always what they appear

Cross-continental partnerships aren t new to the America s Cup. All six teams compete for national pride, albeit unconventionally. Every boat has a national flag atop its wing, but the racing rosters themselves are a marriage of Olympic sport and the free market. It s no mistake the Louis Vitton logo flies higher than the national banner on each yacht. Citizenship is no requirement to compete on a country s crew. America s general manager, Grant Simmer, is an Australian[20] who served as navigator for the Aussies 1983 win that broke a 122-year run of U.S. dominance. Spithill, his skipper, broke into the game at age 19 with Young Australia in 1999. Artemis Team Sweden is dotted with British, Australian, and Italian sailors. Softbank Team Japan[21] has only three native Japanese crewmen.

The race for dominance makes strange bedfellows and breeds rivalry. English national Sir Ben Ainslie is the most accomplished sailor of his generation after leaving five Olympiads with four gold medals and a silver. 2017 marks his first appearance as Great Britain s skipper after spending previous Cups with New Zealand and OTU. Dean Barker steered New Zealand to its second America s Cup in 2000 as the Kiwis reserve helmsman. After being forced out of his role with the team, he s now in Bermuda serving as Japan s skipper, helmsman, and CEO. Of the six teams competing for this year s Auld Mug, only two — Great Britain and France — can claim homegrown skippers. In the end, this blending is endemic of the event itself. The America s Cup fills several roles. It brings several cultures — or at least a very specific subsection of those cultures — together in service of a storied race foreign to landlocked states. There s a certain type of fan so invested in yachting he or she will follow the Cup to a reef-surrounded patch of land 700 miles deep in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. For them, Bermuda is paradise — the ideal setting for like-minded individuals to sip Moet and discuss catamarans.

The America s Cup fills several roles. It brings several cultures — or at least a very specific subsection of those cultures — together in service of a storied race foreign to landlocked states.

For Bermuda, the race is an unexpected celebration of the island. Though there s no local team, the sailors, engineers, and crew that have called the island home have become part of a welcoming community that has exuded warmth throughout the Cup. Most of the locals in the stands have personal connections with the team s they ve come to know over the course of years. Beyond community, the America s Cup is a play to get the country s finances back on track. The event is a two-month bounty of revenue and exposure officials hope will spark a larger trend and stem a recession that has lasted nearly a decade. As the sun turns bronze on a beautiful Saturday evening, the qualifying rounds come to an official, but not largely effective, end. France, with just two wins in its return to global racing s biggest event, is the sole team eliminated. Though ORACLE Team USA wins the group, the team s status as defending champions meant the team could have spent the opening rounds fishing from the sides of their catamaran and still wound up in the final two. That leaves New Zealand, Great Britain, Sweden, and Japan left to compete for the sport s biggest prize.

The Challenger Playoffs eventually whittle Great Britain and Japan from the ranks. Three days later, Sweden is forced to pack up its environmentally-forward camp after falling to New Zealand. As many predicted, and for the second straight Cup, sailing s biggest prize will come down to a battle between America and New Zealand. Most Bermudians are rooting for the former.

I think a lot of Bermudians have their fingers crossed the cup will stay here, McCann, the local boat captain says. It would mean a lot for us, having an event like this to call ours. My day in the Village ends with one last conversation. Kevin, a security guard who has seen every day of the Cup qualifiers from several different vantage points, welcomes me to take one last tour of the emptying grandstand before offering his option.

It s definitely a different atmosphere. We have big events like 24th of May [Bermuda Day, which features a road race], but we have nothing of this magnitude, really, or going on for that amount of time. But it s good.

It is definitely upscale for an event. I go to my share of sports events on the island. I ve never been to one where they re selling $250 champagne or $30 for a drink.

I thank him for taking the time to speak with me, though a polite crowd seems to be putting little strain on his efforts to keep the peace. Kevin nods, and tells me it was a pleasure. Have a good– He stops as though he s forgotten something, smiles, and raises one finger to slyly point toward me.

Have a Bermudaful day.

References

  1. ^ Spain (www.sbnation.com)
  2. ^ Jamaica (www.sbnation.com)
  3. ^ paid handsomely for the privilege to be the race s official wine (www.americascup.com)
  4. ^ Ryder Cup (www.sbnation.com)
  5. ^ Kentucky Derby (www.sbnation.com)
  6. ^ New Zealand (www.sbnation.com)
  7. ^ estimated these companies could save some $7 billion in federal taxes just by moving their headquarters to the middle of the ocean (www.nytimes.com)
  8. ^ an island with 64,000 people lost an estimated 6,500 jobs (www.caribbean360.com)
  9. ^ suggesting an embryonic recovery was set to take place (jamaica-gleaner.com)
  10. ^ reared its ugly head less than two months later (www.royalgazette.com)
  11. ^ spent an estimated $77 million on the two-month event (www.sailingscuttlebutt.com)
  12. ^ World Series (www.sbnation.com)
  13. ^ brought an estimated $8.6 million in additional island spending (www.acbda.bm)
  14. ^ United States (www.sbnation.com)
  15. ^ pegs his contribution to the team at anywhere between $250 and $300 million (www.outsideonline.com)
  16. ^ France (www.sbnation.com)
  17. ^ China (www.sbnation.com)
  18. ^ Sweden (www.sbnation.com)
  19. ^ suffered a catastrophic failure and capsized off the coast of San Francisco in 2013 (www.wired.com)
  20. ^ Australian (www.sbnation.com)
  21. ^ Japan (www.sbnation.com)

Cindy expected to drench Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia

Photo: DAVID_GRUNFELD, AP

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Wth a rising tide, strong southerly winds from Tropical Depression Cindy lash the lakefront Thursday, June 22, 2017 in Mandeville, La. (David Grunfeld/NOLA.com The Times-Picayune via AP)

Wth a rising tide, strong southerly winds from Tropical Depression Cindy lash the lakefront Thursday, June 22, 2017 in Mandeville, La. (David Grunfeld/NOLA.com The Times-Picayune via AP)

Photo: DAVID_GRUNFELD, AP

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Water levels rise after a combination of high tide and the rain from Tropical Storm Cindy in Lake Charles, La., Thursday, June 22, 2017. (Rick Hickman/American Press via AP)

Water levels rise after a combination of high tide and the rain from Tropical Storm Cindy in Lake Charles, La., Thursday, June 22, 2017. (Rick Hickman/American Press via AP)

Photo: Rick Hickman, AP

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A police officer stands guard after a possible tornado touched down destroying several businesses, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Fairfield, Ala. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey says the threat of severe weather has not concluded as the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy pushes inland. Ivey in a Thursday press briefing urged people to stay vigilant. A possible tornado touched down destroying several businesses, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Fairfield, Ala. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey says the threat of severe weather has not concluded as the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy pushes inland. Ivey in a Thursday press briefing urged people to stay vigilant.

A mailbox sticks out of water during neighborhood flooding after Tropical Storm Cindy, now downgraded to Tropical Depression Cindy, in Big Lake, La., Thursday, June 22, 2017. A mailbox sticks out of water during neighborhood flooding after Tropical Storm Cindy, now downgraded to Tropical Depression Cindy, in Big Lake, La., Thursday, June 22, 2017.

Photo: Gerald Herbert, AP

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A car drives through a partially submerged roadway after Tropical Storm Cindy, now downgraded to Tropical Depression Cindy, in Big Lake, La., Thursday, June 22, 2017. A car drives through a partially submerged roadway after Tropical Storm Cindy, now downgraded to Tropical Depression Cindy, in Big Lake, La., Thursday, June 22, 2017.

Photo: Gerald Herbert, AP

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Water levels rise after a combination of high tide and the rain from Tropical Storm Cindy in Lake Charles, La., Thursday, June 22, 2017. (Rick Hickman/American Press via AP)

Water levels rise after a combination of high tide and the rain from Tropical Storm Cindy in Lake Charles, La., Thursday, June 22, 2017. (Rick Hickman/American Press via AP)

Photo: Rick Hickman, AP

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Jordan Fortune, 3, laughs as a wave churned up by Tropical Depression Cindy hits a sea wall at the harbor in Pass Christian, Miss., on Thursday, June 22, 2017.

Jordan Fortune, 3, laughs as a wave churned up by Tropical Depression Cindy hits a sea wall at the harbor in Pass Christian, Miss., on Thursday, June 22, 2017.

Photo: Jay Reeves, AP

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A house alongside State Highway 87 sits on a small island after Tropical Storm Cindy brought high tides as it made landfall earlier Thursday, June 22, 2017 on the Bolivar Peninsula. (Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP) Crews work to clear sand and debris from State Highway 87 after Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall earlier Thursday, June 22, 2017 on the Bolivar Peninsula, Texas. ( Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP)( Michael Ciaglo / Houston Chronicle )

Debris covers State Highway 87 after Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall earlier Thursday, June 22, 2017 on the Bolivar Peninsula in Texas. ( Michael Ciaglo / Houston Chronicle )

Debris covers State Highway 87 after Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall earlier Thursday, June 22, 2017 on the Bolivar Peninsula in Texas. ( Michael Ciaglo / Houston Chronicle )

Photo: Michael Ciaglo, AP

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In this image taken from video, Erin West walks down a flooded street in her neighborhood after Tropical Storm Cindy, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Ocean Springs, Miss. Persistent drainage problems frustrate residents, some of whom couldn’t drive to work because of the storm, West said, and others are worried about the possibility of alligators coming into their yards in the floodwaters. A man shields himself from the rain while riding his bicycle on the intersection of St. Emmanuel and Leeland streets Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Houston as Tropical Storm Cindy hit Southeast Texas and the Gulf Coast. (Godofredo A. Vasquez/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Debris is removed after it covered TX-87 as a results of Tropical Storm Cindy on Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Bolivar Peninsula, Texas. ( Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Debris is removed after it covered TX-87 as a results of Tropical Storm Cindy on Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Bolivar Peninsula, Texas. ( Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Photo: Elizabeth Conley, AP

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Jeffery Chheang works at Dannay’s Donuts on Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Bolivar Peninsula, Texas. Chheang said the Tropical Storm Cindy seems to have made it slower at the store. “Usually we get families on vacation in, but so far, we’ve really only had locals.” ( Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Tommy Bomar, of High Island, Texas, checks out the waves as a result of Tropical Storm Cindy on Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Bolivar Peninsula, Texas. (Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Tommy Bomar, of High Island, Texas, checks out the waves as a result of Tropical Storm Cindy on Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Bolivar Peninsula, Texas. (Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Photo: Elizabeth Conley, AP

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Water and debris, washed up past the beach by Tropical Storm Cindy, sit on Kahla Drive Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Crystal Beach, Texas. ( Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Water and debris, washed up past the beach by Tropical Storm Cindy, sit on Kahla Drive Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Crystal Beach, Texas. ( Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Photo: Michael Ciaglo, AP

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A woman walks along the beach the morning after Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall Thursday, June 22, 2017, on the Bolivar Peninsula, Texas. (Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP)

A woman walks along the beach the morning after Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall Thursday, June 22, 2017, on the Bolivar Peninsula, Texas. (Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Photo: Michael Ciaglo, AP

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Debris covers TX-87 as a result of Tropical Storm Cindy on Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Bolivar Peninsula, Texas. (Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Debris covers TX-87 as a result of Tropical Storm Cindy on Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Bolivar Peninsula, Texas. (Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Photo: Elizabeth Conley, AP

References

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The Latest: West Virginia bracing for remnants of Cindy

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The Latest on Tropical Storm Cindy (all times local):

10:50 a.m.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) – The National Weather Service says it expects heavy rain to spread across West Virginia starting late Thursday and continuing into Saturday.

Meteorologists say a combination of two systems – remnants of former Tropical Storm Cindy and another storm front – could produce severe thunderstorms, flooding and damaging wind gusts particularly on Friday. Emergency officials are monitoring the forecast starting late Thursday night in the greater Charleston area with expected heavy rain at times continuing into Friday and early Saturday. The severe weather forecast comes nearly on the anniversary of last year’s torrential rains and flooding, which killed 23 people in West Virginia.

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10:00 a.m.

Forecasters say Cindy, the onetime tropical storm since downgraded to a depression, is weakening as it heads inland. But bands of heavy rain are continuing – with heavy rain in parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says a tropical storm warning from High Island, Texas, to Morgan City, Louisiana, has been discontinued, hours after the storm made landfall. At 10 a.m. CDT Thursday, Cindy was about 165 miles (265 kilometers) northwest of Morgan City and moving to the north at 13 mph (20 kph).

A turn toward the northeast is expected. Cindy or its remnants are forecast to move into Arkansas early Friday, then into Tennessee. Forecasters warn that heavy rainfall will spread over the Tennessee and Ohio valleys Thursday. Then into the central Appalachians Friday and Saturday.

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9:55 a.m. Forecasters have issued a flash flood watch for eastern and southern Arkansas as Tropical Storm Cindy heads toward the state.

The National Hurricane Center says the storm is expected to weaken as its moves inland. The storm made landfall early Thursday in southwestern Louisiana. The National Weather Service in Little Rock says the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy will move into southern Arkansas later Thursday, bringing scattered thunderstorms and some areas of heavy rainfall. Forecasters say areas south and east of Little Rock could see 2 to 5 inches of rain through Saturday morning.

The flash flood watch is in effect from 7 p.m. Thursday through Friday afternoon.

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8:10 a.m. Authorities in Florida are urging people to stay off the beaches and out of the Gulf of Mexico until weather conditions brought by Tropical Storm Cindy improve. Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford tells the News Herald deputies responded to 37 calls regarding swimmers in the Gulf on Tuesday as the storm brought heavy rain to Florida’s Panhandle.

The swimmers entered the water even though Panama City Beach was flying double-red flags, warning of dangerous conditions and extremely rough surf. Ford says lifeguards and deputies were fed up as tourists entered the water in spite of the warnings. There’s a law that bans swimming in the Gulf when double-red flags are flying. Ford says he’d rather people use common sense and not get in the water. There were no reports of injuries.

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8 a.m.

In southwest Louisiana, not far from where Tropical Storm Cindy came ashore before dawn, motorists in trucks were driving through knee-high water in the streets. Some other drivers, though, were pulling over Thursday morning and not attempting to navigate the flooded roads in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. Shortly after dawn, some of the low-lying clouds were rotating, and gusty winds whipped across the landscape.

With the storm now over land, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said it’s expected to weaken over the next two days. The storm was blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore.

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7:15 a.m. Tropical Storm Cindy has brought heavy winds and rain to southeast Texas but minimal damage as the storm system moves northeast.

Street and other flooding was reported in places such as Port Arthur, along Sabine Pass and the border with Louisiana, where Cindy made landfall early Thursday. Winds in the Galveston County town of San Leon exceeded 50 mph but were slightly weaker along other parts of the Texas coast southeast of Houston. The Houston area was expected to get a couple inches of rain through Thursday. A flash flood watch was issued for parts of East Texas.

The Texas Department of Transportation says all state roads and bridges are open in the area.

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7 a.m. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Cindy is expected to weaken as it moves farther inland after coming ashore in southwestern Louisiana early Thursday. The storm’s maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (64 kph) and it’s expected to weaken to a tropical depression later in the morning and become a remnant low Thursday night.

As of 7 a.m. CDT, Cindy is centered about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and is moving north near 12 mph (19 kph). Already, the storm has been blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore.

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6 a.m. Floating colonies of fire ants could form in flood waters as Tropical Storm Cindy trudges inland.

That’s the warning from Alabama state officials, who say the insects known as red imported fire ants can present a potentially serious health threat to people and animals during severe flooding. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System said in a statement that the floating colonies may look like ribbons, streamers or a large ball of ants floating on the water. They say the floating blobs contain all members of the colony, including worker ants, winged reproductive males and females, and queen ants.

The storm made landfall in southwestern Louisiana before dawn Thursday, bringing rain and the threat of flash flooding and tornadoes.

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4:05 a.m. Tropical Storm Cindy has made landfall in southwestern Louisiana, bringing rain and the threat of flash flooding and tornadoes. As of about 4 a.m. CDT Thursday, the storm was centered about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west-southwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and is moving north near 12 mph (19 kph).

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Cindy’s maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 40 mph (64 kph) with continued weakening expected over the next two days. Already, the storm has been blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore.

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2:05 a.m. Weather forecasters are expecting a third day of rough weather for Gulf Coast states as Tropical Storm Cindy approaches.

The storm was blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore. In addition to bands of drenching rain, the storm brought high winds and numerous, short-lived tornadoes and waterspouts. Most of the severe weather was to the east of the storm. Numerous coastal roads and highways flooded and there were scattered reports of power outages and building damage from wind or water.
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Gulf Coast states were in for a third day of rough weather as Tropical Storm Cindy sloshed ashore early Thursday in southwestern Louisiana.

Already blamed for one death in Alabama, Cindy was expected to keep churning seas and spin off bands of severe weather from eastern Texas to northwestern Florida. The storm’s maximum sustained winds had decreased to near 40 mph (64 kph) Thursday morning with additional weakening expected, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. A boy on an Alabama beach was struck and killed Wednesday by a log washed ashore by the storm. Baldwin County Sheriff’s Capt. Stephen Arthur said witnesses reported the 10-year-old boy from Missouri was standing outside a condominium in Fort Morgan when the log, carried in by a large wave, struck him. Arthur said the youth was vacationing with his family from the St. Louis area and that relatives and emergency workers tried to revive him. He wasn’t immediately identified.

It was the first known fatality from Cindy. Otherwise, the storm was blamed for widespread coastal highway flooding, rough seas and scattered reports of power outages and building damage caused by high winds. There were numerous reports of waterspouts and short-lived tornadoes spawned by the storm. National Weather Service forecasters estimated the storm had dumped anywhere from 2 to 10 inches (50 to 250 millimeters) of rain on various spots along the Gulf Coast from southern Louisiana to the Florida panhandle as of Wednesday. And more rain was on the way. Alek Krautmann of the National Weather Service in Slidell, Louisiana, said Thursday’s pattern would likely be much like Wednesday’s: Bands of intermittent, sometimes heavy rain spinning onto the coast.

In Gulfport, Mississippi, Kathleen Bertucci said heavy rainfall Wednesday sent about 10 inches of water into her business, Top Shop, which sells and installs granite countertops.

“It’s pretty disgusting, but I don’t have flood insurance because they took me out of the flood zone,” said Bertucci, whose store is near a bayou. “We’re just trying to clean everything up and hope it doesn’t happen again.”

In nearby Biloxi, a waterspout moved ashore Wednesday morning. Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy said there were no injuries but fences, trees and power lines were damaged. Storms also downed trees in the Florida Panhandle. Fort Walton Beach spokeswoman Jo Soria said fallen trees hit houses and cars in what she called “pockets of wind damage” in two or three residential neighborhoods. The White House said President Donald Trump was briefed on the storm Wednesday by Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency, like his Alabama counterpart a day earlier. He was among authorities stressing that the storm’s danger wasn’t limited to the coast. In Knoxville, Tennessee, the power-generating Tennessee Valley Authority, said it was drawing down water levels on nine lakes it controls along the Tennessee River and its tributaries in Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky, anticipating heavy runoff from Cindy’s rains once the storm moves inland. The TVA manages 49 dams to regulate water, provide power and help control downstream flooding. In Alabama, streets were flooded and beaches were closed on the barrier island of Dauphin Island. Some roads were covered with water in the seafood village of Bayou La Batre, but Becca Caldemeyer still managed to get to her bait shop open at the city dock. If only there were more customers, she said.

“It’s pretty quiet,” Caldemeyer said by phone from Rough Water Bait and Tackle. “Nobody can cast a shrimp out in this kind of wind.”

Rough seas also led to the rescue of a shrimp trawler in danger of sinking off the coast of Texas. The U.S. Coast Guard said crew of the trawler Footprint was about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Galveston when the crew radioed that the vessel was taking on water faster than onboard pumps could clear it. A helicopter crew lowered and extra pump that enabled the shrimp boat crew to clear enough water to stay afloat. A Coast Guard cutter escorted the vessel to Freeport, Texas.

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Associated Press writers Janet McConnaughey in New Orleans; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Jeff Amy and Emily Wagster in Jackson, Mississippi; Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama; Kimberly Chandler in Montgomery, Alabama; and Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida, contributed to this report.

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