Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, Start. Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race. 10 December, 2017.

The University of Rhode Island will bring the Volvo Ocean Race to campus on March 20 through a live video broadcast with sailors as they race across the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and South America.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7 pm in Edwards Auditorium on URI’s Kingston campus.

“This is an outstanding opportunity to hear firsthand from competitors in the most extreme sailing event in the world and get a preview of what to expect when the race comes to Rhode Island,” said Brad Read, executive director of Sail Newport in a prepared statement. “Anyone with an interest in competitive sailing or boating won’t want to miss this exciting event.”

The URI program will include video of earlier stages of the competition, commentary from Rhode Island sailors who have competed in the race and remarks from Read, who is coordinating activities for the race’s stop in Newport in May, the only North American port of call.

The City of Newport will host a Race Village from May 8 to 20 at Fort Adams State Park, where visitors can get close-up looks at the race boats, crawl inside a cut-away of a full-size boat and meet the crews.

URI will be featured prominently in the Race Village’s Exploration Zone, according to a statement from the school. The University will showcase exhibits about marine life, ocean conservation, marine technology and related topics. The Race Village attracted 130,000 visitors to Newport when the Volvo Ocean Race stopped in the city in 2015.

URI’s involvement in the Volvo Ocean Race and the Race Village is due in part to its long tradition of excellence in intercollegiate competitive sailing. During its 80-year history, the URI sailing team has won every major New England championship, as well as district and national championships. The 1990 keelboat team, for instance, became the only American team to ever win the Collegiate Keelboat World Championships, making it the only URI athletic team to win a world title. The URI women’s sailing team won the national championship in 2011.

Members of the URI sailing team will be on hand at the March 20 event to meet and greet those in attendance.