Ocean Race Stopover 2023

Newport, RI has been distinguished as the only North American stop for The Ocean Race with a layover slated from May 13-21, 2023. The layover site features an opportunity to view the race boats and learn about their technology. There are many activities for people of all ages and lots of music.

Originally named the Whitbread Round the World Race after its initiating sponsor, British brewing company Whitbread, in 2001, it became the Volvo Ocean Race after Swedish automobile manufacturer Volvo took up the sponsorship, and in 2019 it was renamed The Ocean Race.

On Sunday, May 14, a film was featured entitled Shaped By Water by Dean Leslie, Director from Scarborough South Africa. The film features three disparate athletes whose sport and passion engage water. Zandile Ndhlovu, a free diver from Kommetijie, South Africa, opens the film with remarkable scenes of her engaging the deep, all without oxygen tanks. She communes with every aspect of life below the surface and transcends any pressures, burdens or fears.

The film then takes us to the summits of amazing New Zealand mountains to see Jess Hotter, a professional skier from Wanaka, New Zealand. She takes us on a hike up and a free form beautifully executed descent. The snow is always changing and makes each movement critical to a successful venture. She often appeared to be flying and free as a bird.

Charlie Enright, Skipper of 11th Hour Racing from Bristol, RI, spoke of water and sailing being a part of his life for as long as he could remember. Enright and his team worked to take his boat to win the 5550 nautical mile leg into Newport after traveling from Itajai, Brazil.

After the film, these athletes took the stage for some questions. The essence of the film and the responses from the respondents addressed the interconnectivity of the world’s water with the earth and its people. The health of the ocean impacts the weather, oxygen, and the earth which most of us unconsciously take for granted. Each athlete addressed steps that they have taken in their personal lives to be conscious of their impact on planetary health such as composting and thoughtful recycling.

Next, Caroline Jones took the stage. The multi-instrumentalist, with her three-piece backup band, played mostly original songs with a throng of youngsters dancing up front to each piece. Jones has gotten the notice of Jimmy Buffet, who rarely uses an opening act but engaged Jones to open during his 2018 and 2019 tours. He then wrote a song for her, “Gulf Coast Girl,” and sings a verse with other notable players such as Kenny Chesney and Lukas Nelson. More recently, Zac Brown Band invited Jones to join the band as the only female to ever have that distinction. Jones has played all around the world, and her new EP Superpower is out next week and features Vince Gill on one piece with Jones. Jones kept the crowd moving through her set as the sun played across the stage before slowly dropping, and cooler temperatures and breezes prevailed off the bay.

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