By Kim Cooper, Sail Newport

Considered the most demanding sailing race on the planet, crews onboard high-performance racing vessels in The Ocean Race will circumnavigate the globe in six months, making stops in eight cities worldwide including Newport, RI. 

The Ocean Race is an epic test of sailing skill, tactical decisions, navigation, boat handling, and extreme mental and physical challenges. Before reaching the shores of the U.S., in May, the sailors will have to conquer 28,650 nautical miles (approximately 89% of the route) of open ocean racing between Alicante, Spain to, Cabo Verde, Cape Town, and through the icy depths of the ferocious Southern Ocean up to Brazil.  

Rhode Island-based team 11th Hour Racing Team will participate onboard the high-tech IMOCA 60. Charlie Enright (Bristol, RI, USA) is the skipper of “Malama.” Also, Newporter Amory Ross will be onboard as the embedded reporter among other crew members. 

Bristol, RI Charlie Enright’s boat racing in Alicante recently getting ready for the start of The Ocean Race on January 15.
Credit: The Ocean Race

A nine-day festival between May 11 and 21 begins at Fort Adams State Park and is hosted by Sail Newport, The State of Rhode Island, and 11th Hour Racing. The boats are expected to arrive in Newport from Itajai, Brazil, on or close to May 10, 2023. 

The “Ocean Live Park” is accessible to the public every day.  Visitors will be able to see the race boats up close at the dock, learn about the global race, and see the oceans of the world through the eyes of the crews.

Race boats at the Dock at Sail Newport in 2018
Credit: Ainhoa Sanchez, The Ocean Race 

The Ocean Live Park includes activities for all ages. Guests will be able to tour team bases; Try Sailing! onboard a Sail Newport J/22, participate in an immersive interactive ocean exhibit on ocean stewardship, and enjoy music, food, children’s activities, special events, entertainment, and cocktail cafes.

The In-port racing is a thrilling spectator opportunity off the shore of Fort Adams State Park. Racing takes place Thursday, Friday and Saturday. May 18, 19 and 20. On Sunday, May 21, a send-off ceremony includes a dock-out show, a sailor parade, and entertainment. At 2:00 p.m., the fleet will take a “goodbye” sail in the bay as they jostle their positions for the trans-Atlantic race leg start to Aarhus, Denmark.   

The May event will be the third consecutive stopover of the global race in Rhode Island after visits in 2015 and 2018. An average of over 100,000 spectators came to see the racing and the village, with a total economic impact of approximately $70 million statewide, benefitting hotels, restaurants, transportation, and other tourism services 

The Ocean Race boats parade on Narragansett Bay before the transatlantic leg to Europe, 2018.
Credit:  Ainhoa Sanchez/The Ocean Race

The Ocean Race aims to be the first climate-positive international sporting event. Organizers aim to support this goal by being a zero-waste event with a minimal carbon footprint. Educational opportunities will highlight climate solutions, restoration, and blue technology, with learning activities for all ages. The Newport Stopover will showcase the intersection of sailing and sustainability as led by its co-host and partner, 11th Hour Racing. 

Visit the websites for information on how to follow the race, event schedule, music, and entertainment line-up, receive updates, watch the news, and find a full resource guide to Newport, RI: The Ocean Race Newport Stopover: https://theoceanracenewport.com.


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