The Volvo Ocean Race Village in Newport, RI is officially open for the second time – three years after a memorable debut visit in 2015.
With all seven boats having arrived overnight on Monday into Tuesday morning, the Volvo Ocean 65s added a colourful backdrop to what was already a celebration in Newport – the home of American sailing.
Hundreds of fans turned out to watch the official Opening Ceremony, which saw the Navy Northeast band, US Coast Guard Band and a Parade of Nations commence proceedings with a march through the Race Village.
A distinguished panel including Rhode Island State Governor Gina Raimondo, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit, Newport Mayor Harry Winthrop, Commanding Officer Matt Meilstrup of USCG Barque Eagle, Stopover Director Brad Read and Volvo Ocean Race Executive Director Peter Ansell.
"Newport is the sailing capital of the world, and it's where this race belongs," said Gov. Raimondo.
"This is the only North American stopover in this edition of the race – and I'm proud to be a Rhode Islander and to be here today."
Following the ribbon cutting, the Newport Artillery Company marked the event with a ceremonial musket shot and the Narragansett Organization made a cultural performance.
MAPFRE won the battle into Newport by a whisker of just 1 minute 1 second after overtaking Team Brunel in the fog at around 0645 local time on Tuesday morning to complete a shock comeback. Just 24 hours before the finish line, the Spanish team found themselves in fifth position – but their win into the USA returns them to the top of the overall Race leaderboard.
Following a fast approach to USA, the boats slowed to a frustrating final few miles in Narragansett Bay – with tide against and fickle winds causing the fleet problems and seeing the leading pair, Team Brunel and Dongfeng Race Team, fall back into second and fourth place, respectively.
Vestas 11th Hour Racing skipper Charlie Enright, who is from Rhode Island, was delighted to take the final podium place on his hometown stopover.
"To finish on a foggy morning at 6 AM, it was amazing to see how many people turned out," he said. "It’s great just to finish and great to be back on the podium."
The Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover is open from 8-20 May at Fort Adams State Park in Newport. Over 130,000 visitors attended the stopover in 2015 – and the Newport stopover team hopes to go even better this time around.