The Ocean Race makes its only North American stopover in Newport

Sail Newport and The Ocean Race have announced that The Ocean Race will make its only North American stopover in Newport, R.I., in the spring of 2022.
Newport Sailboat

NEWPORT, R.I. (WLNE) – Sail Newport and The Ocean Race have announced that The Ocean Race will make its only North American stopover in Newport, R.I., in the spring of 2022.

Newport, is set to be one of only ten stops during the eight-month, 38,000 nautical-mile race around the world.

The race begins in Alicante, Spain, in October 2021 and finishes in Genoa, Italy in June 2022.

“This is terrific news for our state, again bringing global attention to Newport and Rhode Island as premier tourist destinations and promising to generate tens of millions of dollars in spending and economic impact,” says Governor Gina M. Raimondo, Governor of the State of Rhode Island.

“I am grateful that The Ocean Race recognizes the value of coming back to the Ocean State and equally grateful to our partner and the official event host, Sail Newport, which has worked hard to ensure this successful event returns,” she adds.

Rhode Island’s Public Sailing Center, Sail Newport plans to organize the event.

Executive Director Brad Read says, “This is the pinnacle event of the sport of ocean racing. These athletes are spending 24 hours a day for weeks on end transiting oceans in storms and calms and as a community we have the privilege of welcoming them to the only stop in North America. Our entire community will greet them as we have greeted seafarers for generations. We will welcome them and celebrate the human victory of overcoming monumental challenge,”

“Newport remains an iconic venue for generations of sailors,” said Richard Brisius, Race Chairman of The Ocean Race. “It is a town built around the water, and people here hold the race close in their hearts, which makes it a stopover to look forward to for all of our sailors and stakeholders.

“Fort Adams State Park is the ideal venue to host sailors and fans from around the world and highlight Rhode Island’s extraordinary combination of history, natural beauty, wind, and world-class public parks,” says R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Director Janet Coit.

In the past both events were huge draws for visitors with a wide-ranging economic and tourism impact on the community with the 2015 stopover generated an estimated $47.7* million to the Ocean State’s economy.

Over 137,000 people visited the racing village of Newport in 2015 and over 100,000 visitors in 2018.

“The Ocean Race is one of the three pillar events in the sport of sailing, alongside the Olympic Games and America’s Cup, and as such, it provides inspiration and motivation to sailors and sailing fans of all ages,” Brisius added.

In 2015, Newport became the birthplace of the sustainability program for the global Ocean Race, an initiative that subsequently expanded to all stopovers in the 2017-18 race.

Coit adds, “The 2015 and 2018 race stopovers exemplified how to make large-scale, public events sustainable and also educated visitors about ocean health and the need to reduce the plastic pollution that fouls our seas. DEM looks forward to our partnership with The Ocean Race, Sail Newport, and all stakeholders in continuing to model green practices and confront environmental problems at the local, state, and global levels.”

Rhode Island became the first state to sign the UN Environment Clean Seas Pledge, during the 2018 Newport Ocean Summit stop. This lead to a Governor’s task force on plastic pollution and a forthcoming stat-wide ban on plastic bags.

In addition, 14.8 tons of greenhouse gas emissions were avoided through the use of biodiesel fuel for generators, while 7,561 visitors were inspired by an alternative transportation campaign to use bikes and water taxis instead of cars to visit Newport.

Bristol, R.I. resident Charlie Enright, grew up sailing locally on Narragansett Bay, and has led teams in the past two editions of the event. With great pride in seeing an international event taking place in his hometown, Enright plans to take on the challenge of a third race, with the support of 11th Hour Racing.

“It’s humbling and for me it’s a big point of passion and pride. It’s great to be sailing in and out of Newport, seeing all the spectators, and really having a home-field advantage in an event as international as this is a very special thing,” says Enright.

“At Sail Newport, we have seen the desire of the Rhode Island community to pitch in and help. The most emotional part of this event is watching our community embrace the race, the sailors and the excitement of the race village. That’s what keeps us coming back to host this international race,” Read says.

Categories: Newport, News, Rhode Island