Here comes the Volvo Ocean Race!

Published by MM Editor on Wednesday, 1st April 2015 - 12:15AM


The Volvo Ocean Race (formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race) is a yacht race around the world, held every three years.[1] Originally named after its initiating sponsor, British Whitbread brewing company, it today carries the name of its current sponsor, Swedish automobile manufacturer Volvo. Presently, the Netherlands holds the record of three wins, with Dutch skipper Conny van Rietschoten the only to win the race twice.

Though the route is changed to accommodate various ports of call, the race typically departs Europe in October, and in recent editions has had either 9 or 10 legs, with in-port races at many of the stopover cities. The 2008–09 race started in Alicante, Spain, on October 11, 2008.[1] The route for the 2008–2009 race was altered from previous years to include stopovers in India and Asia for the first time.[2] The 2008–09 route covered nearly 39,000 nmi (72,000 km), took over nine months to complete, and reached a cumulative TV audience of 2 billion people worldwide.[3]

During the nine months of the 2011–12 Volvo Ocean Race, which started in Alicante, Spain in October 2011 and concluded in Galway, Ireland, in July 2012, the teams were scheduled to sail over 39,000 nmi (72,000 km) of the world’s most treacherous seas via Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, around Cape Horn to Itajaí, Miami, Lisbon, and Lorient.

Each of the entries has a sailing team of 9 professional crew who race day and night for more than 20 days at a time on some of the legs. They each have different jobs on board the boat, and on top of these sailing roles, there are two sailors that have had medical training, as well as a sailmaker, an engineer and a dedicated media crew member.

No fresh food is taken on board, so the crew lives off freeze-dried fare; they will experience temperature variations from −5 to +40 degrees Celsius and will only take one change of 

The Volvo Ocean 65 yachts set off on October 11 from Alicante, Spain, for their nine-month, nine-leg seafaring marathon.

Race Weekends

Arrivals | May 5 - 9, 2015

  • Make sure you’re in town to cheer the sailors as they arrive into port after weeks at sea. You’ll see ecstatic faces, disappointed faces, and tired faces. Stay tuned to the website for the call to come to Fort Adams to join the welcoming flotilla or shore side welcome party no matter the time of day or night, we’re going to welcome them to the USA! The local support makes all the difference for the athletes as they come ashore.

Practice Racing

Make no mistake about it, practice day is just as competitive as race days….

  • Pro-AM | May 15, 2015
  • In-Port Race | May 16, 2015

There will be one In-Port Race just off the coast of Fort Adams on May 16th. These one-hour races are fast-paced and action-packed, providing you with a great show and giving the teams an opportunity to gain valuable points for the In-Port Race series. The course for the In-Port Racing is as close as possible to Fort Adams so the public can watch the battle unfold between the Volvo Ocean 65s.

Leg Start | May 17, 2015

  • Bring tissues – it's likely to be emotional. There is a lot at stake as the sailors embark for the next leg to Lisbon, Portugal and the presence of families and friends gives it a whole different meaning too. A magnificent parade of sail and celebration on the water, like only Newport can do, will take place as the fleet winds around an inshore course before heading offshore on the Transatlantic sprint.

About the Newport Stop

Village Opening: May 5, 2015

  • Exploration Zone Opening: May 9, 2015
  • Estimated arrival of the boats*: May 5 - 9, 2015
  • Team Vestas Wind In-Port Race Newport: May 16, 2015
  • Leg start: May 17, 2015

Race village programme

Visit the official Newport Stopover website

Wasn’t there some other sailboat race held in Newport, Rhode Island?

I suspect that you’re thinking of the America’s Cup, which was hosted in Newport for many years by the New York Yacht Club. It departed in 1983 after a famous Australian victory, but left a legacy that makes Newport one of America’s most famous sailing towns. And now it can add a Volvo Ocean Race stopover feather to its cap.

And not hard to find?

Just land in New York and head north. Or land in Boston and head south. Rhode Island is the smallest state in the Union but bursting with mile after mile of magnificent coastline, harbours, beaches and plenty to do and see. It's situated about two-thirds of the way between those two great East Coast cities. Newport is a beautiful old colonial town at the southern end of Aquidneck Island, with a population of about 25,000.

So leave plenty of time for the journey?

The Race Village opens on May 5 - Cinco de Mayo - join the party to welcome the boats to the only North American stopover sometime that week. Enjoy the Exploration Zone, entertainment, a festival for all ages to experience sailing and many more family activities at Fort Adams State Park. The Pro-Am Racing on May 15, the In-Port Race on May 16 and the leg start to Lisbon on May 17 will be held within yards of the shoreline in the same natural stadium that hosted decades of America's Cup Racing - Narragansett Bay.

No shortage of things to do?

Where to start? 

Well, a tour of Fort Adams would be a good place to begin, home to the Race Village and the largest coastal fortification in the USA. Or pick a waterfront restaurant, enjoy native lobster, clam chowder and dozens of eclectic restaurants. Stroll up to Bellevue Avenue, home to Newport's legendary Gilded Age mansions depicting the splendour of the Astor and Vanderbilt "summer cottages" presiding over the Atlantic Ocean coastline. If you're feeling a little more active, there's plenty of sport to be had, particularly out on the water. Just tour Newport Harbor and see the greatest collection in one harbour of classic yachts, the largest collection of the famous 12 meters, rum runners’ yachts and every type of modern sail, power and mega yacht. The backdrop is an entire sailing-centric community and quintessential New England harbour lined with historic sea captains' houses, pubs, taverns, shops and galleries.

Sailing is the number one sport in this international sailing community, but you will also find the International Tennis Hall of Fame, polo and world-renowned golf courses. And further afield you have New York and Boston. If you can't find something to interest you there, I give up.

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