After a week + to “rest” and recharge their ocean going batteries, the Volvo Ocean Race Sailors have returned to the waters off the stopover village at Fort Adams in Newport. Thursday and today they have been out sailing for a practice race and for 3 Pro-Am Races that have given some of us “normal” fans of the race (with deep pockets) a chance to race aboard with the Pros. Yesterday’s practice race and Pro Am race provided great waterfront action along the shoreline and today’s racing should be no different.
But things get serious tomorrow when the points come back into the picture and most teams have a chance to wiggle around the overall leaderboard with an In-Port Race win. The importance of these points is not lost on home team, Alvimedica, whose out-of-the-gate In Port Race win in Alicante before the offshore legs even started, has kept them in contention and given them a chance to move up the leaderboard. The photo above shows the In-Port Race track which is a few times around windward/ leeward marks set between Fort Adams and Castle Hill. Sunday’s race will be a bit different. While the action will be awesome on the course before they point their bows towards Lisbon and push across the Atlantic, the dock out ceremony and departure ashore promises to be a great show and is Newport’s official farewell to this amazingly successful stopover.
Saturday and Sunday’s events will be akin to the excitement level at the finishes, I am guessing. With sailor’s parades, a ceremony to hand the “race” over to the city of Lisbon, the next stopover, and the “Docking Out Show,” the shoreline, village and racecourse should be once again mobbed with fans and spectators.
7000 people were estimated to have been at the arrivals of the first boats earlier last week. And an amazing 200+ boats took to the waters off Castle Hill after nightfall to welcome the sailors. You can bet you will see similar enthusiasm for the In-Port Race and Leg Restart. With a week of perfect boat launching weather, I know of many local boaters who aimed their commissioning closer to this end of the event for the extra time needed because of the crazy harsh winter that delayed our spring here.
So gather your friends and family and make plans to check out the boats, village, sailors and some amazing racing before the 6 boats are gone. A little schedule below will help you nail down your weekend action plan, and with plenty left to see both ashore and on the water, Newport’s success as a US stopover has all but been written by the knowledgeable boaters the Ocean State cultivates. Don’t miss out. See you in Newport.
**** BONUS!!!! Look for the TotalBoat Flag on our 2 Chase boats and submit an image of us on the water to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win some sweet TotalBoat swag.