Sail Newport Janet Coit
(Photo via Sail Newport Facebook Page of Janet Coit accepting her reward)
 Sail Newport, Rhode Island’s Public Sailing Center, presented their annual “President’s Award” recently to Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed and Rhode Island Dept. of Environmental Management (D.E.M.) Director Janet Coit.  Sail Newport Executive Director Brad Read announced the award winners at the non-profit organization’s annual general meeting.

The award is presented annually to a member of the community or to a volunteer whose work with Sail Newport helps to prosper the organization’s mission to offer public access to the sport of sailing and Narragansett Bay.

Senate President Paiva Weed said, “I’m honored and humbled to receive this recognition from Sail Newport, an organization for which I have tremendous respect. Under the leadership of Brad Read, Sail Newport helped to make the Volvo Ocean Race’s first stopover in Newport an overwhelming success, and they have helped countless Rhode Islanders experience the beauty of Narragansett Bay.”

Read says the Senate President was chosen because of her many years of leadership helping Sail Newport offer public sailing programs to the youth and adults of the community.  Paiva Weed has also worked with Read and the team at Sail Newport to expand its marine educational and sailing programs to inspire good stewardship of the ocean and Narragansett Bay.

“We could not have a more enthusiastic and inspirational supporter of the marine industry in the state government than Senate President Paiva Weed,” Read said.  “She has advocated and supported the successful use of Fort Adams State Park as the location for a world class public access sailing center for the community.  The Senate President has worked with Sail Newport and DEM to identify infrastructure upgrades that would attract and help manage economically vital marine events such as the Volvo Ocean Race and International Regattas in Rhode Island,” he added.

As Director of D.E.M., Coit manages the use of Fort Adams State Park for public access programs and Sail Newport’s public sailing center.  Sail Newport has been in operation for over thirty years but has experienced extraordinary growth in the most recent five years.

After accepting the award, Coit said, “It is a thrill and an honor to receive the President’s Award from Sail Newport, an organization that I respect and admire. The day-to-day work of Sail Newport that empowers children to gain skills and confidence through sailing, and opens new vistas for others makes the organization such an important partner for DEM.  I accept this award on behalf of my entire department.  Working together with Sail Newport is rewarding and fun.  Thank you again.”  “Onward!” she added.

Read said that both Paiva Weed and Coit were instrumental in leading the state government and D.E.M. to turn Fort Adams State Park into a dynamic but eco-friendly Race Village for the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover in May of this year. The event was a remarkable success which was attended by over 140,000 visitors with award-winning sustainability levels and marine education exhibits.

“When the Volvo Ocean Race was thinking of coming here many years ago both Senate President Paiva Weed and Director Coit immediately recognized the event as a unique opportunity to generate jobs, tourism dollars and to showcase Fort Adams State Park and the Ocean State to the world,” Read added.

Coit adds about the event, “The coordination between the Department of Environmental Management and Sail Newport around the Volvo Ocean Race was seamless, and led to the success of that event.  The Volvo Ocean Race this past year was one of the best initiatives with which I have ever been involved.  Seeing the international sailing community, visitors and Rhode Islanders come together at Fort Adams State Park to celebrate connections to the sea, sailing and caretakers of our environment made me beam with pride,” she added.

The Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover in May was so successful, race organizers have announced that Rhode Island, again, will be the only North American stop in the round-the-world race scheduled for May of 2018.

Paiva Weed added, “The Volvo Ocean Race showcases Newport and Rhode Island on the global stage as a world-class sailing destination, attracting numerous visitors and generating considerable economic activity in the city. It is a credit to the hard work and collaboration led by Brad Read and the Sail Newport team that state will once again host this magnificent event.”