The Volvo Ocean Race is on its way to Newport, Rhode Island, for the only North American Stopover of the 2017-18 round-the-world sailing race. The Volvo Ocean Race began in Alicante, Spain on October of 2017 and when complete, the 2017-2018 edition will have taken the seven teams 45,000 nautical miles around the world, across four oceans, touching six continents and 12 Host Cities.
When the race boats arrive in Rhode Island (expected to be May 10-11) the teams will be over half way through the race. The Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover, scheduled May 8 – 20, will be a 13-day public celebration and festival hosted by Sail Newport, Rhode Island’s Public Sailing Center, the State of Rhode Island, the R.I. Dept. of Environmental Management (RIDEM) and Commerce RI.
The Stopover marks the second time the race calls on the City-by-the-Sea, having previously visited in May 2015 for the 2014-2015 edition of the race. More than 130,000 people visited the Race Village in 2015. Another 16,000-plus are estimated to have watched the VO65 race boats from waterborne vessels. Forty-two percent of the visitors came from outside of Rhode Island and, 10 percent of those attendees were from foreign countries.
The visitors contributed to a total economic impact of $47.7 million to the Rhode Island economy. The boost was welcomed by local restaurants, shops, pubs, and the many businesses who benefited from the influx of tourism.
“We’re excited to have the Volvo Ocean Race returning to Newport,” said Sue Maffei-Plowden, stopover director. “Many local and international guests who visited in 2015 remember a great time with exciting racing and an entertaining and inspiring Race Village. We’re building on the success of the last event and adding new activities and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.”
The Volvo Ocean Race Newport Race Village officially opens on May 8. Once again, entry to the Race Village will be free of charge. Important dates of the Stopover include:
May 8, 4 p.m.: Opening of Volvo Ocean Race Newport Race Village at Fort Adams State Park
May 10-11: Estimated arrivals of Volvo Ocean Race fleet from Brazil
May 12, 11 a.m.: Opening of the One Ocean Exploration Zone Exhibition
May 17, 3 p.m.: Volvo Ocean Race Newport Pro-Am Race
May 19, 2 p.m.: Volvo Ocean Race Newport In-Port Race
May 20, 2 p.m.: Start of trans-Atlantic leg of Volvo Ocean Race to Cardiff, Wales
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The Volvo Ocean Race Newport Race Village will be open daily 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. -7 p.m. on weekends and the days leading up to the Race’s trans-Atlantic start to Cardiff, Wales on May 20. All activities surrounding the Volvo Ocean Race Newport will be based at Fort Adams State Park, and all of the racing will be viewable from the North and West Lawn of the park within yards of the shoreline.
As a feature of the Stopover, the One Ocean Exploration Zone, will build on from the wildly popular Exploration Zone marine exhibition of the previous stopover. Inside the Fort, on the historic Parade Field, The One Ocean Exploration Zone will showcase more interactive and educational exhibits on marine life, sailing, ocean conservation, wind, water and weather experiences, marine debris and marine technology all with an emphasis on sustainability.
Other activities at the Stopover will include entertainment, team compounds, children’s activities, sponsor pavilions, a theater, and outdoor food and cocktail cafes. On-the-water activities and sailing events are scheduled for each day such as free “Try Sailing!” for all ages, M32 and other sailboat racing, up-close viewing of the race boats at dock and racing during the Pro-Am Race, the In-Port Races, and the boat parade and Leg Start to Cardiff, Wales (May 20, 2018).
Sponsors for the race include: Heineken Light, Cox Business, Mount Gay Rum, Preservation Society of Newport County, Whispering Angel, Hinckley Yachts, MAPFRE Insurance, Moet & Chandon, Newport Restaurant Group, Hotel Viking, Marriott, WJAR NBC 10, The Newport Daily News, Coast 93/iHeart Radio, Dimeo Construction Company, W Yachts and Newport Biodiesel.
The race started in Alicante, Spain in October of last year. When the fleet arrives in Newport, they will have completed sailing legs to, and stopovers in, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland and Itajai, Brazil. Leaving Newport on May 20, the fleet will race the 3,300-nautical mile trans-Atlantic leg to Cardiff, Wales and then on to Gothenburg, Sweden, and then to finish in The Hague in June of this year.