Volvo fever!

Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover Race Village Skippers

Volvo fever!

Last weekend I was in Newport for the Volvo Ocean Race‘s Newport Stopover. Wow. Newport, you really put on a show. Huge kudos to Sail Newport and all the partners, sponsors and volunteers that made it a fantastic experience.

The City of Newport really pulled out all the stops. In town, there were VOR banners and signs in almost every window. At the race village at Fort Adams, interactive exhibits manned by enthusiastic volunteers spread out across acres of waterfront. My favorite: a cross-section model of the VOR 65 that allowed you to see and feel what it’s like to live and work on one of the boats. Spoiler alert: it’s really dark and cramped down below.

One of the best parts of the experience was meeting the sailors (Bouwe! Carolijn! Charlie! Capey!) when they came ashore after the in-port races. I’ve followed this race closely, and the onboard reporting has been so vivid that I feel I know some of these folks. It was fun to be a sailing groupie for once!

Team SCA and Mapfre under Newport Bridge Volvo Ocean Race

A media helicopter circles overhead as Team SCA and Mapfre pass under the Newport Bridge during the Leg 7 start

Seeing the in-port races and leg start was another highlight. Some forward-thinking friends had chartered a boat months earlier, and it was a great decision – definitely the best way to see the Volvo Ocean Race up close. Everyone in Newport who had a boat was out on the water to take in the action – sailboats, power boats, dinghies, RIBs, tourist boats, megayachts, and even a few Moths were on hand to cheer on the hometown favorite, Team Alvimedica. Thanks to some skillful maneuvering by our helmsman, we were front row for the starts both days. For the start of Leg 7 to Lisbon, the VOR 65s made a beautiful sight sailing past Fort Adams and under the iconic Newport Bridge. And as they headed out to the open ocean, all the spectator boats – hundreds and hundreds of them – followed, with horns blowing and the water churning in a rush to see them off to Lisbon. It was absolutely thrilling.

Well done, Newport.