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2Newts

The Experience Live in Bermuda

23 posts in this topic

I just spent two days at the races and thought I'd share my thoughts about it and open a thread for it. I hope some others have or will be here and can chime in. 

This is more about the experience than about the racing as for that there are other robust threads, though of course the quality of the racing does have an impact on the quality of the experience. So here we go in somewhat chronological order. 

The Bermudian authorities have done an amazing job with the logistics of getting people to and from the village. My son and I used the ferry from Hamilton and other friends have taken taxis all the way out and others drove, parked, and took the shuttle over. All of us reported nearly a nearly flawless process. They made it clear where to go, it was orderly, the ferries were mostly efficient. There was a clear benefit to getting one of the smaller faster ferries but unfortunately that just came to luck and if you got pointed to the big one ("M/V Bermudian", I think) then you had an extra 15 minutes load time due to all the people, and extra 15 minutes unload, and a slower ride across. But that is really the only nit I can pick. Upon arriving at the village the process of entering was quick and efficient and in the shade. Bravo Bermuda, well done. You could have made the fans' first experience with the day like getting to a NY Football Giants game, but you didn't.

It was hot, both days and more so on Sunday. So hot that my 5 year old son started overheating. But the design of the village includes a copious amount of shade, astroturf to cool the walkways, misting sprays, and lots and lots of water stations. Without any need to go to the medical tent I got him cooled back down. It helps, of course, that the breeze was blowing, which is sort of the point isn't it. 

The kids' activities were also really well thought out. "Masts" for the kids to climb, "catamarans" for them to sail, an interactive educational area that included local Bermuda sea life that my son loved as we got live sea urchins to hold, and lots of oversized pillows in the shade for taking a break. The sounds of kids having fun was almost as deafening as the sound stage. Which, IMO, had decent live bands. My little boy had his first experience listening to a live cover of Highway to Hell so loud that it reverberated through our bodies. He loved it. Future headbanger, I think! That or future boyfriend of super hot lead singer who he could not take his eyes off of ... and she kept smiling and pointing to him so that just made him blush! Great little vignette experience that added to the overall enjoyment. 

Then, there's the food and beverage. Ok, so major deduction in points here. I have been fortunate enough to be at baseball stadiums (stadia, for you grammarians out there) during the world series, sold out NFL games, the US Open, the Masters, and other major events. Some have long lines and expensive food/drink (I'm looking at you, USTA) and others have short lines and inexpensive food (yeah Masters), and this event clearly felt like it was copying the USTA. Boo. Seriously, when will events like this get it: sell the food and drink at cost or at a loss and make sure that the lines move fast and you will get outsized props from the fans. It will be among the first two or three things they say about the event. And it's not like the ticket was all that much less expensive than a day at the Masters either. Of course they are getting less tv revenue, but I do think that the organizers need to consider the benefit of getting more people to want to say more good things so that, ultimately, they can get more tv revenue down the line. 

We had grandstand seats, other friends did the various lounges or boats. For going with children/families, the grandstand was perfect. I understand that if you are going to make a long boozy day out of it that one of the other options may be better, but well done by the organizers to have different sub-venues for different parts of the audience. The grandstand was cool and breezy and the vibe was great. Having the announcers right there was good. The intermission entertainment was hilarious although overtly commercial as they showed kids racing in a new Bic sailboat that is a step up from Optis. We didn't care about the commercialism, it was still great fun. Like watching the peewee hockey players between periods. 

OK, so the racing. Watching it live was no better than watching on tv. Sorry, but it's not true stadium seating. The boats were so far away that you had no ability to discern relative position. On Sunday the wind direction was such that one end of the line was obscured by a point of land and the other end was obscured by the spectator fleet. Maybe some of the spectator boats had better views when the boats were in that part of the course. Our only good views were of the finish, which was indeed pretty cool, and of the massive tv showing the race live to the grandstand ... which was sort of the same as watching on a massive tv. It did seem to be a feed that was just for the village, and not the same one from NBC. And it was technically quite cool to watch the commentators do their work. Their job was not easy. Since they were watching it on tv along with the rest of us they were dependent on the feed for the information they had. I'm not sure how you would improve on this.

In the end, I suppose you could say that my opinion is that there are two totally different experiences. There is the village experience for those who enjoy live events with a myriad of options, and there is the tv experience for those who enjoy watching the race. Sorry to say, but in this case they are somewhat mutually exclusive. My son and I had a fabulous time during two days there and short of a few quibbles (shorter food lines, sell it for less), I would not change much. And the Bermudian authorities did a great job supporting it. And for those who are looking to say that no one is here let me say that it seemed to be at least 10,000 people at the village and there is not a taxi to be found on the island. Then number of large yachts here is unprecedented. Office space that has been vacant for years has been occupied and homes rented for months at a time. My Bermudian friends were quite emotional about all this has brought their country and even more upset than the American fans at the results on the water. 

My advice, in the unlikely event that anyone should ever ask, would be to optimize the two experiences to be as great as possible on totally separate tracks. The tv experience has been deeply discussed in other threads and clearly needs some changes; the attendance experience was wonderful but not perfect. Whatever happens with the cup, I do hope that this experience can be brought to more people in more places more frequently. It need not be racing for the cup itself, but it clearly needs fan and tv support to work. Which I hope it does.

Cheers to you all. 2N 

 

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First of all it shows us that you are a great dad! What a wonderful experience for both of you, and what a delight to read the report. Thank you

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We have had quite a few days there and would echo most of the report.

We have used scooters which are great fun - and have had no problem booking taxi's (stayed part way between Hamilton and the Dockyards).

Talking to locals including friends I wouldn't say there is universal happiness with the event based on the +70m the Bermudan govt tipped in to it. Naturally some think it could have been better spent elsewhere. For us as visitors it's superb. The big screens on the "green" are great - and then race to the sea wall to watch the boats finish.

The extortionate prices for most of the food/drink/clothing is my only gripe (so long as ETNZ wins).

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Thanks for this,very good to hear about the “on the ground“ experience that most of us can't see 

B)

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What are the observed proportion of fans watching for each team? 

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2 hours ago, Mariner said:

What are the observed proportion of fans watching for each team? 

Tough to tell since there were so few opportunities for the OR fans to make themselves heard, so I could be way off here, but I'd say about 80% OR. 

If you throw in the "ambivalent-just-here-to-enjoy-the-spectacle" as a third option, it was probably about 15% ENTZ, 60% OR, 25% just chilling. 

Really really hard to tell tho. 

 

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Unfortunately for Bermuda they invested $77 Million dollars to host the cup based on it being held there next time around. They didn't expect the cup would return to NZ so they will be pissed. It will never be sailed in Bermuda again IMO.

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12 hours ago, Mariner said:

What are the observed proportion of fans watching for each team? 

I think it depends on where you are watching from. Most kiwis aren't watching from the grandstand but are watching in the cheaper village areas  where NZ flags and ETNZ shirts far outnumber Oracle ones.  This despite any ETNZ shirts for sale on site.. ( Every day we are being asked where we got our ETNZ shirts from). 

A sizable number of locals seem to support ETNZ  - either because they like the cycling, the youth of the team, they like the underdog, or a feeling about Oracles bullying tactics off the water.  A lot still support Oracle as they want the cup back in Bermuda,

Oracles removal of the NZ flags along the road has left a bad taste in a lot of mouths.

Go ETNZ!!

 

 

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18 hours ago, Rennmaus said:

First of all it shows us that you are a great dad! What a wonderful experience for both of you, and what a delight to read the report. Thank you

+1

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20 hours ago, 2Newts said:

I just spent two days at the races and thought I'd share my thoughts about it and open a thread for it. I hope some others have or will be here and can chime in. 

...

My advice, in the unlikely event that anyone should ever ask, would be to optimize the two experiences to be as great as possible on totally separate tracks. The tv experience has been deeply discussed in other threads and clearly needs some changes; the attendance experience was wonderful but not perfect. Whatever happens with the cup, I do hope that this experience can be brought to more people in more places more frequently. It need not be racing for the cup itself, but it clearly needs fan and tv support to work. Which I hope it does.

Cheers to you all. 2N 

 

Thank you for sharing your on-the-ground experience. Now you can start planning to visit us in Auckland in 3 years :D

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1 hour ago, Indio said:

Thank you for sharing your on-the-ground experience. Now you can start planning to visit us in Auckland in 3 years :D

OMG I just might. Never been, always wanted to go, and kids will be the right age! Wifey and I literally tossed a coin to choose between NZ and Aus for honeymoon and ended up in northern Queensland. 

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28 minutes ago, 2Newts said:

OMG I just might. Never been, always wanted to go, and kids will be the right age! Wifey and I literally tossed a coin to choose between NZ and Aus for honeymoon and ended up in northern Queensland. 

That explains the sudden spike in the IQ average in Aussie at the time :P

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Thanks for sharing this! I'm flying out on Saturday morning with my daughter and looking forward to it.

I did have one question that maybe you can help with, as Saturday tickets to the Village are now sold out. Did you notice anyone hanging out around the entrance trying to sell theirs?

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On 6/19/2017 at 7:21 AM, 2Newts said:

 My Bermudian friends were quite emotional about all this has brought their country and even more upset than the American fans at the results on the water. 

HA - HA - HA ..............  I'm an American Fan and Quite HAPPY with the Results on the water

I'm a JS Fan

like most everywhere I'm Not an oracle fan

Can you go into accommodation pricing & availability ?

in Auckland in 2000 I rented a room for $100 a week and stayed 5 weeks

 

GO TEAM NEW ZEALAND !!!!!!!

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Would agree with the experience comments, though I feel food/drink was priced not too differently in the village compared to the rest of BDA. Had a village ticket only and loved that the TNZ is actually on-site (so you can get really close to lift-in & lift-out). That for me was also a big downside: OR is only barely visible. Had some connections to get into hospitality units that were inside the AC village (Artemis, BAR) but comparing to a Volvo stopover (where the village is free admittance and the revenue of drink & food adds to the event income) I was missing the different teams presenting themselves. I didn't mind actually paying for admittance by the way,though it is quite funny that with less teams involved the prices have gone up.

Hospitality by the Bermudians was great: felt safe with the police/military present and all were very helpful and happy. Yes, lines for food & drink were quite long and slow moving but there were plenty of quality options. I for one did not feel the need to get a ticket for the VIP-experience of the grandstand or Dark 'n Stormy bar as racing was easier to follow on screen anyway.

Expense... Bermuda is perhaps one of the most expensive places I've been and was quite happy to find an AirBnB room for about $150 a night, but a beer at $12 (at various places around the island) and a basic pizza for more than $20 (outside of the AC village). 

Personal highlight: J-class racing on saturday morning ahead of the toy cats, good video coverage & commentary and boats are big enough to actually follow the racing from land.

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1 hour ago, aural iNK said:

I did have one question that maybe you can help with, as Saturday tickets to the Village are now sold out. Did you notice anyone hanging out around the entrance trying to sell theirs?

Not a soul. The walking route from the ferry to the entrance provided no space for hawking, and the Hamilton ferry docks simply had no hawking going on despite there being space for it. I can't tell you about anything near the car parking or the taxi drop-off. I can say that the Bermuda military is present everywhere (yes, they have a military) and getting as nitty as making sure people walk the correct way through the corrals. I am sure hawking is happening, but it's not like NYC where it takes place practically under the watchful eyes of the local cops.

On the other hand, they were VERY loose with the definition of what a 4-year-old kid looks like. They were letting in 8 and 9 year olds for free without batting an eye. 

30 minutes ago, DA-WOODY said:

Can you go into accommodation pricing & availability ?

in Auckland in 2000 I rented a room for $100 a week and stayed 5 weeks

Yeah, not that I've heard of here! Although to be fair I did not check air b&b months ago and I am sure that there were some rooms for rent. A small house/condo, tho, would go for a multiple of what you paid. 

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19 hours ago, DA-WOODY said:

HA - HA - HA ..............  I'm an American Fan and Quite HAPPY with the Results on the water

I'm a JS Fan

like most everywhere I'm Not an oracle fan

Can you go into accommodation pricing & availability ?

in Auckland in 2000 I rented a room for $100 a week and stayed 5 weeks

 

GO TEAM NEW ZEALAND !!!!!!!

Ah...that was 17 years ago, Woody. Prices have moved a bit down here since then. You could rent the back seat of a car maybe for that.

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2 hours ago, Sailbydate said:

Ah...that was 17 years ago, Woody. Prices have moved a bit down here since then. You could rent the back seat of a car maybe for that.

In 2013 I paid $500 per week for a 2 bed room unit in Auckland

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On ‎6‎/‎20‎/‎2017 at 2:11 AM, Whatever2 said:

I think it depends on where you are watching from. Most kiwis aren't watching from the grandstand but are watching in the cheaper village areas  where NZ flags and ETNZ shirts far outnumber Oracle ones.  This despite any ETNZ shirts for sale on site.. ( Every day we are being asked where we got our ETNZ shirts from). 

A sizable number of locals seem to support ETNZ  - either because they like the cycling, the youth of the team, they like the underdog, or a feeling about Oracles bullying tactics off the water.  A lot still support Oracle as they want the cup back in Bermuda,

Oracles removal of the NZ flags along the road has left a bad taste in a lot of mouths.

Go ETNZ!!

 

 

Oracles removal of NZ flags???  whoa what?  I missed that somewhere. Please explain.

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Google - it made the papers, just where Middle road joins the road to the dockyard. Bit sad. We started flying flags on scooters at LV time.

Didn't see any evidence of hawkers/scalpers and as someone said there is enough official presence to make it unlikely I'd think near the entrance or at the car/scooter park.

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On 22 June 2017 at 1:21 PM, Mariner said:

Oracles removal of NZ flags???  whoa what?  I missed that somewhere. Please explain.

Last weekend there were 50. - 100 NZ flags along the roadside (on power poles etc) on Sat am.  Removed by someone in an Oracle hoodie Sat night- including personal flags on private property.  

NZL flags again along roadside today - similar but higher up poles. 

Will be interesting to see if they are there tomorrow. 

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^ Broad shoulders, Aussie ascent, approximately 87.5kg?

 

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