New Bedford will host sailing – if Boston gets Olympics

(Madeleine Wright, WPRI-TV)

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — If Boston is chosen as the host city for the 2024 Summer Olympics, New Bedford, an hour’s drive south of Beantown, will host Olympic and Paralympic sailing on Buzzards Bay.

The New Bedford mayor’s office and the Boston 2024 Partnership announced the deal Thursday. It’s part of the Boston 2024 supporters’ efforts to plan venues, which must meet a highly complex set of criteria and technical requirements set by governing bodies of each sport.

Boston 2024 also wants to select communities that can get long-term benefits long after the Olympics and Paralympics have left the region.

The sailing community already gets a charge out of the winds that Buzzards Bay offer: the Bay currently hosts the Buzzards Bay Regatta, the largest multi-class regatta in the United States.

“There’s no better place, not only in Massachusetts, but in America, where we should be having a sailing competition,” said Boston 2024 CEO Richard Davey.

The announcement was made at the park of historic Fort Taber. Known as the ‘Whaling City,’ New Bedford was the global center of the 19th century whaling industry; today, it’s the home of some of the top commercial fishing fleets in the U.S., the mayor’s office said in a news release Thursday.

The mayor has been making the case for New Bedford hosting Olympic sailing since February. “We were convinced that New Bedford could significantly contribute to the strength of the Boston 2024 Olympic bid,” he said.

The Olympics and events can serve as a catalyst to revitalize Fort Taber as a viewing area and medal presentation location.

If the games do come to Boston, some of the athletes would be houses at UMass Dartmouth. “We have a campus that’s 700 acres large, 200 acres of built space,” said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Dr. Divina Grossman.

Boston 2024 is expected to announce further deals with venues over the next several weeks. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is expected to make its 2024 city choice in 2017.