As you are most likely aware, in just a few weeks the world’s most grueling and exciting ocean race makes its way to the only North American stopover throughout its nine-month excursion — our City by the Sea. Volvo Ocean Race, renowned as the world’s premier offshore race and an exceptional test of sailing prowess and human endeavor, will arrive at Fort Adams on May 5-17, and with it will come a host of exciting events and activities. Here are all your Volvo Ocean Race questions, answered.
When is it?
May 5-17, 2015
Trucks carrying the entire race infrastructure will arrive in Newport April 16-18, while the Volvo Ocean Race teams are expected to arrive May 5 through May 9. You can sign up to receive text alerts for the arrivals here
Where is it?
The Race Village at Fort Adams State Park
What’s the big deal?
The Volvo Ocean Race is the most challenging sailboat race in the world, held every three years and requiring from athletes extreme levels of courage, strength, endurance and intelligence. Life on board a Volvo Ocean Race boat, called a Volvo Ocean 65, is as extreme as it gets, and is marked by “unbearable temperatures, hostile weather and rough sailing conditions, constant dampness, sleep deprivation, one pair of clothes, restricted communications with the outside world and sustained competitiveness.”
Though the route is changed to accommodate various ports of call, the race typically departs Europe in October, and in recent editions has had either 9 or 10 legs, with in-port races at many of the stopover cities.
The Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 consists of nine offshore legs between the 10 host ports and one pit-stop, amounting to at least 38,739 nautical miles. The race began in October 2014 from Alicante, Spain with stopovers including Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Sanya (China) Auckland (New Zealand), Itajai (Brazil) followed by Newport in May. The fleet will then travel to Lisbon (Portugal), Lorient (France) Hague (Netherlands) and then Gothenburg (Sweden).
What Can I Expect?
A 12-day public festival at Fort Adams State Park will feature a shore side Race Village. Free and open to the public, the village will be able to see the International team compounds and the operations of the shore teams in technical and sail loft areas. In addition, the sailing village will include interactive exhibits, sponsor pavilions, a chance to try sailing, car and truck displays, entertainment, marine education activities and a food festival. Most days through May 13, the village is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. From May 14-17, the hours will be extended.
Front Row Seat to Racing — During the Newport Visit, all of the boats will be docked at Sail Newport in Fort Adams State Park in close view of the public. Also, all of the race teams will participate in training, pro-am and in-shore racing within yards of the shoreline for exciting spectator viewing with expert commentary.
The “Exploration Zone,” officially opening May 9, features 22 interactive exhibits on marine life, sailing, ocean conservation, wind, water and weather experiences, and marine technology.
May 5: Race Village opens at 3 p.m. Local and state dignitaries will speak at the Opening Ceremonies at 4 p.m. The public is welcome and there should be plenty of parking, all free.
May 5, 8, 13, 15 &16: “Dock Party” with live music featuring local bands from New England. Location near Heineken Docks.
May 16 & 17: Inside the Fort there will be zip lines, a climbing wall, a giant Jenga game, paddle boats, and obstacle course for little feet and an interactive mural. (All Free)
May 9: Exploration Zone opens and stays open through May 17
May 9 & 14: Pancake breakfast, Yoga on Mother’s Day, bubble soccer (Free)
May 13: newportFILM showing of a documentary (Free)
May 9 to 14: Two concerts featuring national performers are in the final planning stages. The concerts will take place the evenings of Saturday, May 9 and Thursday, May 14, respectively. These will be ticketed events and available through the website.
Please note: event information will be continuously updated at www.volvooceanracenewport.com
Where Do I stay?
Rooms are still available at local hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts. Use the BOOK A ROOM search feature to find local lodging options.
How Do I Get there?
- Drive: Visitors can drive and park at Fort Adams. There will be a $10 parking fee from May 5 – May 13. From May 14-17, the parking fee will be $20 per day; if you drive a Volvo, parking will be free, courtesy of Viti Volvo.
- ADA Accessible Parking will be available at Fort Adams with an accessible shuttle bus available to ride to the front entrance of the Race Village. There will be no fee for this shuttle bus.
- By land, sea, bus and bicycle: Please note City of Newport parking lots, which include the parking garage at the Newport Visitors Center and the Mary Street lot, will be charging effective May 1 and parking meters will be in effect.
- Bicycle: As this is a “green event,” organizers ask that as many people as possible ride their bikes to Fort Adams. There will be a bike rack set-up for peddlers. BYOB – bring your own bike lock!
- Bus: It’s not confirmed, but RIPTA may add a bus to travel from downtown Newport to Fort Adams for the duration of the event.
- Water Taxis Available from Perrotti Park: The Newport Harbor Shuttle will provide continuous service daily between Perrotti Park and Fort Adams beginning at 8 a.m. Cost is $10/round trip.
- From Jamestown: The Newport/Jamestown Ferry will also operate an enlarged schedule of trips to take the shuttle between islands.
How Do I Get Involved?
The Race Village will need a tremendous volunteer team with many opportunities for people of all ages to help. There are multiple ways to get involved:
- Visit here to find out more information about and sign up for specific volunteer jobs and schedules.
- Restauranteurs and Retailers: there are two ways your store and/or restaurant can officially participate in the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover celebration and help send the “Welcome to Newport” message: the VIP program, which offers a discount and/or an incentive for Volvo Ocean Race VIPs to shop or dine in your establishment, and the Store Front/Restaurant Window Competition. This initiative is being led by the Newport County Chamber of Commerce, but businesses DO NOT have to be chamber members to participate. For details and materials, contact Jane Roggero at the Newport County Chamber via Jane@NewportChamber.com
- Try Sailing: Sail Newport will take guests sailing every day of the stopover. These free tours of Brenton Cove and Newport Harbor will show why we love sailing! No experience is necessary; Sail Newport will provide skippers and life jackets. Bring the whole family!
- Staff Training: Want to get your entire staff excited about the Volvo Ocean Race? A Discover Newport representative will come to your property to brief your staff on all things Volvo Ocean Race so they can be ready for the big event and the visiting clientele.
- School Visits: Encourage your children’s teacher(s) to schedule a field trip to the race village and the educational Exploration Zone. Contact at Sail Newport: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- VIP Hospitality Tickets are available for the Ocean Race Club, watch the racing from a comfortable private lunch club with gourmet food and bar, tickets available on the website.
- Spectator Boat Tickets are available for May 14, 15 and 17 and on the event website.
follow the race
- Download the app for iOS and android, or watch the action on Youtube — more info here
- Visit volvooceanracenewport.com for an up-to-minute conversation and more details
- Watch NBC Sports Channel – check your listings for times and dates.
- Tune-in to Coast 93.3 FM and WADK for interviews and messages on the stopover.
- WJAR TV – Watch our media partner channel 10 for the promotional spots and integration with their programming as we get closer to the stopover.
- Outside Television – check your listings for Monday night show times.
- Watch the Newport Daily News for their stories on the race as our newspaper media partner.