Village Opening: May 5, 2015
Estimated arrival of the boats*: May 5 - 9, 2015
In-Port Race: May 16, 2015
Leg start: May 17, 2015
What is the Volvo Ocean Race?
It’s the leading round-the-world sailing race for teams, with a series of stops that give fans the chance to experience the In-Port Race series. It began life in 1973 and was then known as the Whitbread. Today it is sailing's biggest offshore race and one of the most coveted prizes in the sport. It lasts for nearly nine months - it’s the longest sport event in the world.
Wasn’t there some other sailboat race held in Newport, Rhode Island?
I suspect that you’re thinking of the America’s Cup, which was hosted in Newport for many years by the New York Yacht Club. It departed in 1983 after a famous Australian victory, but left a legacy that makes Newport one of America’s most famous sailing towns. And now it can add a Volvo Ocean Race stopover feather to its cap,
Legacy... hmm, blue blazers and white boating caps?
Not these days – although if you feel that you cut something of a dash in mid-century fashion, please be my guest.
And not hard to find?
Just land in New York and head north. Or land in Boston and head south. Rhode Island is the smallest state in the Union, and it’s situated about two-thirds of the way between those two great New England cities. Newport is a beautiful old colonial town at the southern end of Aquidneck Island, with a population of about 25,000. If you’re driving in, watch your speed... and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
So leave plenty of time for the journey?
Fly into Providence and you won’t feel any need to rush. The In-Port Race will be on May 16, and the seventh leg gets going the following day on May 17, 2015.
No shortage of things to do?
Where to start? Well, a tour of Fort Adams would be a good place to begin; home to the Race Village and the largest coastal fortification in the USA. Or pick a waterfront restaurant, order clam chowder and a cold beer and read Edith Wharton's novel The Age of Innocence for some local colour. Newport is famous for the Gilded Age mansions of the fabulously wealthy depicted in Wharton’s novel – take a tour of Bellevue Avenue, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re feeling a little more active, there’s plenty of sport to be had, particularly out on the water. While for the more sedentary sports nerd, Newport is home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. And further afield you have New York and Boston. If you can’t find something to interest you there, I give up.
*ETA: We love sailing for its freedom and unpredictability. The crews can master the boat, study the waves, embrace the wind and trust in their navigators - but ultimately, it's the combination of those four things that decide when they arrive. For that reason, we need a range of dates which accounts for every one of these complex variables to estimate, as closely as we can, the potential arrival dates