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Ship ahoy

Shiver me timbers. Sorry that’s a pirate term, but still…. I have been very lucky to attend a lot of the biggest sporting events, and I have to tell you that the opening day of the 35th Americas Cup will join the list of very memorable days out, and up there with the Masters, The Open, Ashes test matches, Wimbledon and Olympic events. 

The Americas Cup village, built on land that wasn’t even there a year ago, was immaculate and beautifully presented. More than 10,000 people, a sixth of the island’s population, watched the first day’s sail boat racing from various viewpoints and the excitement was plain to see and hear. In Bermuda election year I just wish the politicians would stop trying to score points off each other, and accept that this little island is going to experience something very special and create memories long lasting over these next 6 weeks. 

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Cross the sea

I can tell that sailing is not what most Charlton fans want to read about on these pages, and I probably never thought I’d be writing about it, but I live on an island and sailing and boats are part and parcel of life in Bermuda, which is why it has been gripped by America’s Cup fever.

I once long ago did a couple of days of Cowes week, which did involve a bit of tacking and luffing, and also with mates we skippered for a few consecutive years a long boat on various canals. But mostly me and boats involve sitting in the sun with my feet dangling over the side holding a cold beer. No more, no less.

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Plenty of rumours part II

Still plenty of gossip, but still little actual news.

Cardiff City and Sheffield Wednesday have joined the chase for Ricky Holmes, and Karl Robinson will be looking to tie the player of the year down to a longer contract when he returns from his hols. “I want to build the team around people like Ricky. That is as conclusive as I can get.” said Robinson today.

There are plenty of stories of Charlton interest in players, even bids made, but two players, central defender Alex Lacey and midfielder Callum Reilly, have decided to join Gillingham and Bury respectively instead. Bury by way have taken this transfer window by storm.
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Americas Cup 2017 teams – Groupama Team France

One of the last arrivals to Bermuda were the French team Groupama. Team France got here in March and are rank outsiders to win the 35th Americas Cup after finishing a distant last in the preceding World Series event. The team is skippered by 44-year old Frenchman Franck Cammas, who has an impressive sailing CV but will compete in his first ever Americas Cup. Cammas is also an accomplished piano player and skier and has been sailing since he was 10.

Cammas developed the Groupama Team with Michel Desjoyeaux and Olivier de Kersauson in an attempt to take the Americas Cup back to France for the first time.

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Americas Cup 2017 teams – SoftBank Team Japan 

Kiwi Dean Barker is the team CEO and skipper of SoftBank Team Japan and is competing in his 6th America’s Cup. Five years after making his America’s Cup debut at age of 26 he steered Team New Zealand to victory in 2000. Barker, son of the well-known New Zealand multi-millionaire Ray Barker of the Barkers Clothing retail chain, sailed from an early age, and defected from the New Zealand Team Emirates after a well publicized fall out with the owner to move to the newly founded Japanese syndicate in 2015.

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Americas Cup 2017 teams – Emirates Team New Zealand

Considered to be the biggest challengers to Team Oracle, Team New Zealand came within one win of taking the America’s Cup home in 2013. After blasting their way through the Challengers’ elimination series, and after leading by a mile in the Final challenge the Kiwi’s finished on the wrong side of one of the greatest comebacks in all of sport.

Now under Glenn Ashby they are out to avenge their infamous capitulation. Based in Auckland, Team New Zealand has become a household name in their home country following their consecutive wins in the America’s Cup in 1995 and 2000. In doing this, they became the first team from a country outside the United States to win and successfully defend the America’s Cup.

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Countdown

Less than a week until the 35th Americas Cup kicks sails off in Bermuda. In the last week the six teams have been practicing hard out on the Great Sound, against each other and solo.

The experts continue to extol Team Oracle and SoftBank Team Japan’s chances and bash Ben Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR and the apparent hapless Groupama Team France. During the middle of last week the British Olympian collided into the back of the Emirates Team New Zealand causing damage to both boats not pleasing Kiwi helmsman Peter Burling, which led to an online spat.

“We had the leeward end of the line pretty locked down, Ben was quite late and just ran straight into the back of us,” said Burling. “Just unnecessary a week out from the America’s Cup. We are all here to learn and it’s a shame we have a pretty big dent now in the back of our nice boat.” The 45 foot long boats are valued at a cool $10m each.
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