America's Cup week kicked off, Tuesday, with Governor Chafee welcoming some of the world's best sailing teams. The event is expected to bring millions of dollars into Rhode Island.
Not only that, but young sailors from our area got to see their heroes. They met skippers from all over the world.
To many of us James Spithill, Nathan Outeridge and Dean Barker are just names. But to the kids at Tuesday's event, they're America's Cup sailing heroes.
"All the best skippers and the fastest boats right here in Newport, Rhode Island," said Governor Chafee.
These idols are the tiny state of Rhode Island for the next week. It's their final stop on the America's Cup World Series Circuit.
"It's going to be a great event," said Dean Barker of Team New Zealand, "We've been here for a few days. The sailing has been fantastic."
"This is the first time I'll spend more than two days here in Newport," said Bruno Peyron of Energy Team France, "It's such a nice place."
250 young sailors got to meet skippers from all eight sailing teams at the event's kickoff in Fort Adams State Park in Newport.
"They're really cool," said Alden Grimes, "They're kind of our idols. It's what we look up to, so I can't wait to see it all."
"It's really cool like being right here," said Theo Simmons, "They're like our idols."
It's not just about what an event like this does for the kids. Governor Chafee said America's Cup brings millions into our struggling state and finally puts our little state in a positive light.
"Well obviously Rhode Island's had our economic difficulties," said Governor Chafee, "Our unemployment rate is unacceptably high, so this is positive. We're moving in the right direction."
The America's Cup races go through Sunday. Tuesday and Wednesday are practice days. Championship races start Thursday. That same day, young sailors and instructors can get into the America's Cup Village for free.