PROVIDENCE – Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee this month appointed 21 members to the R.I. Sailing Events Commission, a group created by a November executive order in an effort to attract more internationally recognized sailing events to the state.
The state previously hosted the America’s Cup World Series in 2012 and was picked as the only U.S. port for the Volvo Ocean Race in 2015.
Michael Keyworth, former longtime president of the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association, was tapped as the commission’s chairman, the Newport Daily News reported. Brad Read, executive director of Sail Newport, was also chosen as a member, along with representatives of local yacht clubs, including the New York Yacht Club, the Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport and the Conanicut Yacht Club in Jamestown. Also selected were representatives of U.S. Sailing, the R.I. Department of Environmental Management and the R.I. Commerce Corporation, as well as eight members of the public.
In addition to pushing for more events, the commission will examine whether Fort Adams State Park could be a venue for serving U.S. Olympic sailors during the trials that lead up to the 2016 games.
The economic stakes for the Ocean State are clear.
The recently renamed R.I. Commerce Corporation released a report early in 2013 saying the 2012 America’s Cup World Series had a direct impact of $23.5 million in sales to Rhode Island businesses. The figure did not include spending by Rhode Island residents, according to the report, which was conducted by Planning Decisions Inc. of Portland, Maine, the Daily News reported. •