By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
(Updated, 4:05 p.m.)
NEWPORT – Newport will welcome the Volvo Ocean Race in 2015 as the only United States stop on the race, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
“It gives me great pleasure and pride to welcome the Volvo Ocean Race to beautiful Rhode Island for the first time,” said Chafee said in prepared remarks. “We have made significant strategic land and marine infrastructure improvements at Fort Adams State Park, paving the way for a new era of racing in Rhode Island and setting the stage for the world-class events we continue to host.”
The Volvo Ocean Race, which began in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race, is a nine-month sailing event with stops around the globe and is heralded as the “Everest of Sailing.”
The 2014-2015 route will be the 12th edition of the race and will start from Alicante, Spain. It will include stops in Recife, Brazil; Auckland, New Zealand; Cape Horn; Itajai, Brazil; and conclude in Gothenburg, Sweden. Additional stops are still to be announced in the coming weeks, according to the race’s website.
“I’m delighted to announce that we will finally be bringing the world’s greatest offshore sailing event to one of the world’s great sailing cities,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad in a statement. “It’s about time the race came to the city of Newport, and we are looking forward to a real festival that will delight and inspire sailing fans and those who are new to the sport.”
The Baltimore Sun reported Monday that Newport beat out Baltimore’s Ocean Racing USA in a bid to host the sailing event, ahead of the governor’s planned press conference to announce the event.
Newport’s announcement comes about eight months after the city hosted the America’s Cup World Series event and four days after the release of an economic impact study reporting the event generated $38.2 million for Rhode Island businesses and $2.5 million in general state tax revenue.
“We had a positive experience with the America’s Cup World Series last summer, and I look forward to welcoming the Volvo Ocean Race to Rhode Island,” said Chafee. “These large-scale sailing events draw impressive numbers of visitors to our state – visitors who make valuable contributions to our economy.”