Published on Wednesday, 9th May 2018 - 2:02PM05/09/2018
Stunning Finish for Volvo Ocean Race Boats in Newport Yesterday
Governor Gina Raimondo Officially Opens Race Village
NEWPORT, RI (May 8, 2018) - A 5,700 nautical mile race leg from Itajai, Brazil to Newport finished off Fort Adams State Park this morning with a come-from-behind win of Leg 8 by MAPRE in the global Volvo Ocean Race. Just a day ago, MAPFRE was in fifth place. As Tuesday morning dawned in New England and delivered "pea-soup" fog and light winds, MAPFRE inched ahead of Team Brunel, Dongfeng Race Team and Vestas 11th Hour Racing. The final hours were a slow battle for the exhausted sailors as they also were pushed around by the tide and currents near shore, at times even drifting backward.
After nearly 16 days of racing, the margin between MAPFRE who finished at 6:44 a.m., and Team Brunel, was only 1-minute and 1-second. The local crowd cheered on all of the race boats that dramatically popped out of the dense fog one-by-one in close succession, but had an especially warm welcome for third-place winners and hometown sailors Charlie Enright (Bristol, RI) and Newport's Nick Dana and crew onboard Vestas 11th Hour Racing.
“This leg has had its ups and downs,” said Charlie Enright, the skipper of Vesta 11th Hour Racing. “We didn’t start great, but we feel like we sailed pretty well for the middle two-thirds of the leg. Then with some positive input from some local knowledge, we end up back on the podium which is great.”
Newport is a homecoming for Enright and Dana on Vestas 11th Hour Racing as well as for Mark Towill (Hawaii) who did his college sailing at Brown University in nearby Providence, RI.
“It’s awesome here,” Enright said. “It’s 0600 local time here, and the amount of boats out is absurd. The amount of effort put in by Sail Newport and the stopover here is amazing.”
The fleet then finished in the order of Dongfeng Race Team, AkzoNobel, Turn the Tide on Plastic and Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. Check the full scoreboard here.
Rhode Island Welcomes the International Event to the City-by-the-Sea
In contrast to the morning's chilly fog finish, the weather improved to a picture-perfect day with sunny skies and warm temperatures for the official kick-off of the Race Village. The backdrop for the opening ceremony was the U.S.C.G. Barque Eagle which arrived and docked next to the race boats earlier this morning.
The Opening Ceremony was launched with an international Parade of Nations with country flags representing sailors' home countries, carried by local youth. The parade started at the welcome arch and marched past the Team Bases through the Race Village. The U.S.C.G. Navy Band performed as did the Navy Band Northeast.
Also, salutes were operated by the Newport Artillery Company. The Harris Family Dance Troupe of The Narragansett Tribal Nation performed for the crowds as well. In addition, The Rogers High School Junior ROTC also joined in the opening festivities.
Tomorrow, May 9, the U.S.C.G. Barque Eagle will host free public tours between 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Admission to the Race Village for the entire event. Parking is free tomorrow.
Speaker Brad Read, exec. dir. of Sail Newport, opened the ceremony welcoming the Volvo Ocean Race's only North American Stopover to Newport. He said that the event has been in the planning stages for three years. Read also thanked the many non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and city and state agencies and professionals who helped win the original bid for the Stopover in 2015 and plan for today's opening. Read also recognized the nearly 700 volunteers that will work the event over the next 13 days.
Governor Gina Raimondo spoke and welcomed the international visitors to the Ocean State and acknowledged the coordination of many state agencies to help welcome the event to Rhode Island. Janet Coit, director of the R.I. Dept. of Environmental Management, Newport Mayor, the Hon. Harry Winthrop, Eagle Captain Matt Meilstrup, Volvo Ocean Race Operations Director Peter Ansell also made welcoming remarks.
Dignitaries also attending the ceremony included: Newport City Council Vice Chair, Lynn Underwood
Ceglie who has worked on the committee to plan the Stopover, and Councilor At-Large Jeanne-Marie Napolitano and Rep. Marvin L. Abney from the R.I. General Assembly.