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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, April 12, 2024


Dennis Conner, four-time America's Cup winner, squeezed some productive meetings with the V.I. Challenge leaders into a busy visit to St. Thomas this week.
Conner called his decision to associate Team Dennis Conner with Peter Holmberg and the V.I. America's Cup Challenge a positive move on two fronts.
On purely a racing basis, Conner praised Holmberg as a valuable addition to the team.
"I'm interested in winning the Cup, not just going to another America's Cup banquet," Conner said.
On the promotional side of the campaign, the addition of the ‘Caribbean flavor' to Team Dennis Conner was a also a plus.
On the V.I. Challenge side, the television exposure on ESPN during the event will keep the Virgin Islands in the minds of the world. Steve Morton, director of operations for V.I. Challenge, said all of the sponsors he contacted were very excited about this positive turn of events.
Holmberg said he was surprised by some of the negative remarks in media reports of the merger.
"With the choice of closing the doors on the V.I. Challenge or going to New Zealand along with the most famous America's Cup racer in the world, there really is no choice," Holmberg said. "We will be flying the V.I. banner in New Zealand for the world to see."
When asked about the possibility of the Virgin Islands hosting an America's Cup defense, Conner accentuated the priority of winning the Cup before deciding where to host the defense.
He did point out that the New Zealand government had spent about $100 million to prepare for this event. This amount included harbor dredging in addition to land-side improvements.
Conner followed a Friday news conference on WVWI radio with lunch with V.I. Cup Challenge board members and major sponsors, then an evening reception at Palm Passage open to the public.
Saturday morning was another "details" meeting between V.I. Challenge leaders and Conner, then a talk with junior sailors before heading to St. John.
Editor's note: See St. Thomas Source local sports for report on Conner's meeting with young sailors.

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