Sean McNeill also contributed to this story
It’s hard to believe that it has been exactly one year since the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover Race Village opened at Fort Adams State Park, isn’t it? The village opened on May 5th, the boats arrive on May 6th and 7th, the In-Port Race entertained on May 16th and we said goodbye (for now) to the Volvo Ocean Race fleet on May 17th.
Looking Back to 2015
The Volvo Ocean Race arrived in Newport last May for the first time in the race’s 42-year history in a public celebration that lasted for 12 glorious days. After a bitterly cold and snowy winter in New England, the race arrived in early May and brought with it splendid weather that coaxed many race fans out from their winter recess and down to the Race Village at Fort Adams State Park.
According to an economic impact report, the stopover attracted more than 131,000 fans to the Ocean State and the City by the Sea. When those watching from boats or other viewing locations are included, the total increases to more than 147,000. The busiest day at the Race Village was during the In-Port Races on May 16, when 21,920 people visited. More than 40 percent of the attendees were from states other than Rhode Island and more than 10 percent were from foreign countries.
The same report concluded that spectators and organizations combined to infuse the Rhode Island economy with $32.2 million by attending and supporting the Volvo Ocean Race. When this initial infusion of money for local businesses was spent and re-spent within the state, the effect led to a total economic impact of $47.7 million.
The success of the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover has many hoping for a more impactful second visit in 2018.
Looking Forward to 2018
The Volvo Ocean Race will return to Newport, R.I. for the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover from May 8th – May 20th, 2018.
Sailors will arrive in Newport from Brazil around May 8th, will host an in-port race on May 19th and the leg start from Newport to Cardiff will take place on May 20th.
Newport will once again be the race’s only North American stopover, details regarding events and activities that will happen during the Newport Stopover will be announced when organized.
“Newport hosted the most successful North American stopover in the history of the race and Rhode Island will be ready again with an enthusiastic family-friendly public festival and celebration in May 2018.” said Brad Read, Executive Director of Sail Newport and Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover Director.
At a press conference back in March, Adolfo Rodríguez from the Volvo Ocean Race joined Welsh Government Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, Edwina Hart, and the City of Cardiff Council Leader, Cllr Phil Bale, to announce that Cardiff had been chosen as the transatlantic stopover, when the race will visit from May 25-June 10.
“We are thrilled that the race will connect Newport with Cardiff and the North Atlantic leg between our cities could break the 24-hour speed record in the fierce conditions,” said Read.
“The transatlantic race between Newport and Cardiff promises to be one of the real highlights of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18. The event is returning to the United Kingdom for the first time in 12 years, but this is the first time our world-class fleet will have visited Wales, despite the country’s rich seafaring tradition. “Cardiff’s harbour will make the perfect backdrop for our boats, which will follow after what we expect to be another highly successful stopover in Newport.” said Antonio Bolaños López, acting CEO, Volvo Ocean Race.
Other stopovers already announced for the 2017-18 edition include Alicante (Spain), Cape Town (South Africa), Auckland (New Zealand), Cardiff (United Kingdom), Lisbon (Portugal), Hong Kong (China), and Gothenburg (Sweden).