Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad announced today that Newport, Rhode Island will host its first Volvo Ocean Race after winning a stop on the route of the 12th edition of sailing's premier round-the-world challenge in 2014-15. The Governor and Mr. Frostad were joined for the announcement by House Speaker Gordon Fox, Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, Executive Director of Sail Newport Brad Read, and state agency leadership.
"It gives me great pleasure and pride to welcome the Volvo Ocean Race to beautiful Rhode Island for the first time," said Governor Lincoln D. Chafee. "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. 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. These large-scale sailing events draw impressive numbers of visitors to our state – visitors who make valuable contributions to our economy."
The Race will reach Newport, one of the world's sailing capitals, in April or May 2015 after a stop in Itajaí, Brazil. Newport is the last stop before teams will sail across the Atlantic for the final legs around Europe. The Volvo Ocean Race has visited the U.S. in every edition since 1997-98, but despite Newport's great sailing heritage, it has never before had Host Port status.
"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. "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."
"State officials, business leaders and our sailing communities all worked together to bring the next Volvo Ocean Race to Rhode Island. This is an exceptional sailing competition, and Rhode Island will be ready when the event sails into Newport in 2015," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed.
"The Volvo Ocean Race's decision to include Rhode Island in this world-renowned event is a testament to our great sailing tradition, and will bring much-needed tourism and revenue to the state," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who worked with his colleagues in the RI Congressional delegation to support the state's bid. "This is big, and I congratulate Governor Chafee, the City of Newport, and Brad Read at Sail Newport for their success on this great news."
"Tourism will always be a major factor in the growth of our beautiful state and this race promises to bring economic activity, while putting Rhode Island on an international stage," said Congressman Langevin.
"I join all Rhode Islanders in celebrating today's announcement that the 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race will include a stopover in the City of Newport," said Congressman Cicilline. "This event will give us the opportunity to showcase the natural beauty of our state to the entire world and will provide real economic benefits for the hardworking men and women across Rhode Island."
"This exciting sailing event will generate great economic activity for Rhode Island. I am a strong advocate for taking full advantage of the wonderful natural resources that exist in our Ocean State, and marketing our world-class sailing history makes tremendous sense. Fans of the sport will fill our hotel rooms and restaurants and give our economy a real boost," said Speaker Gordon Fox.
President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed said, "It's exciting to have another major race select Newport as a destination. This is an important economic development announcement for our state. The investments we have made in Fort Adams continue to make Rhode Island a world-class destination, increasing tourism and jobs for Rhode Islanders. "
"The Volvo Ocean Race is one of the premiere sailing events in the world. We look forward to welcoming the sailors, the sponsors and particularly the fans of this great race to our magnificent port," said Brad Read, Executive Director of Sail Newport. "We are one of the top 10 ports in the world for sailing, and I am incredibly proud to be associated with ports like Auckland, New Zealand; the resort ports of Recife and Itajai in Brazil; Gothenburg in Sweden; and the other, soon-to-be-named ports of call for the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race. With the race working its way around the world, it will build to a crescendo as it arrives in Newport, R.I. We can't wait."
Rhode Island is known as the Ocean State, and for over 50 years, Newport was the home of the America's Cup. The city hosted a successful stop on the America's Cup World Series in 2012, with 65,000 people visiting over the four-day racing period.
Newport, a renowned New England tourist destination, is the sixth Host Port for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 to be announced so far. The Race will start in Alicante, Spain and makes its first stop at Recife in north east Brazil. Later, the teams will race to Auckland in New Zealand before rounding Cape Horn and making a second Brazilian stop in Itajaí and then heading to Newport.
The Race will finish in the Swedish city of Gothenburg. The remaining stopovers on the 2014-15 route will be revealed over the coming weeks.