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Newport Named Sole North American Port of Call, 2018 Volvo Ocean Race Sets Sail on the City by the Sea

2018 V0lvo Ocean Race Sets Sail for the City by the Sea

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet stands in port in Newport in May 2015. The world's premier ocean racing event is due to return to the City by the Sea in 2018. (Photo Tracey C. O'Neill)

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet stands in port in Newport in May 2015. The world’s premier ocean racing event is due to return to the City by the Sea in 2018. (Photo Tracey C. O’Neill)

NEWPORT, RI – The Volvo Ocean Race, the marathon offshore sailing contest that pits the world’s most esteemed sailors against its oceans, time and elements is making a return trip to Newport in 2018.

Announcing the City by the Sea stopover in Providence, Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) COO, Tom Touber said,

“”We’re delighted to be able to confirm that Newport will again be staging the race’s only North American stopover before the fleet crosses the Atlantic to finish in Europe in the summer of 2018.”

Touber joined Gov. Gina Raimondo and Sail Newport‘s Brad Read in releasing the news.

“Everything worked brilliantly in Newport in May thanks to the great work of Brad Read and his team plus the backing of the governor, legislative leaders and State of Rhode Island agencies, and we were delighted with the large amount of spectators from our major fan base in the U.S. and elsewhere, who supported the stopover,” said Touber.

The Newport announcement brings the total number of known ports for the next go-round in 2017-2018 to seven.  According to VOR, Newport joins its international siblings of Alicante (Spain), Cape Town (South Africa), Auckland (New Zealand), Cardiff (United Kingdom), Lisbon (Portugal) and Gothenburg (Sweden) as confirmed stopovers.

051715 VOR Newport_TCO_6344VOR sailed into Newport on it’s maiden stopover in May, drawing more than 130,000 visitors over its two-week stint in port. According to Sail Newport’s 2015 Economic Impact Report, the Newport stopover, the only North American port landing, drew foot traffic of an average 10,000 visitors per day, increased the state’s hotel revenue by ten percent and generated more than $32 million in combined spectator and organizational spending for the state, with overall impact in excess of $47 million.

Newport race village visitors contributed to what was deemed “the highest footfall (2.4 million)” in the event’s 42 year history. VOR released its numbers on Monday,  which showed a 16 percent increase on the daily average number of visitors compared to 2011-12.

“The Volvo Ocean Race offers world-class and unique hospitality opportunities both on and off the water – and the number of guests to experience our programme has tripled on last edition,” said Race CEO, Knut Frostad in the release. Frostad announced in September that he will be stepping down as CEO at the end of the year to spend more time with his family.

Raimondo touted VOR’s importance to the travel and tourism industry as well as the state’s overall economy.

“We look forward to working together with Volvo Ocean Race and Sail Newport, across all levels of government to build on this year’s success. Together, we will continue to showcase the Ocean State to the world as a premiere destination to visit and grow a business,” Raimondo said. 

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, who represents Newport and Jamestown heralded the city’s sailing roots.

“This event showcases Newport and Rhode Island on the global stage as a world-class sailing destination. It attracts numerous visitors and generates considerable economic activity in the city,” said Paiva Weed.  It is a credit to the hard work and collaboration of Brad Read and the Sail Newport team, as well as many partners in the public and private sectors, that state will once again host this magnificent event.

“We did this as a non-profit organization combined with a whole lot of community heart and passion because we knew the event would be a remarkable success,” said Read. “I believe strongly that tourists, fans, sponsors and media will travel from all over the world to Rhode Island to be a part of the next Newport Stopover. Everyone wants the race back.”

Touber noted that more additional port confirmations are expected to be announced early in 2016. Precise dates of the VOR Newport stopover will be announced when the final route is unveiled. 

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