Volvo Ocean Race returning to Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WPRI) — Offshore sailing’s most prestigious event will again make its only North American stopover in Newport, Rhode Island.

Officials from the state and the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race made the announcement Friday. The stopover will be held in 2018, before the vessels cross the Atlantic Ocean to Europe.

Newport is the seventh port to be named for the 2017-18 competition. Ports previously announced include Alicante, Spain; Cape Town, South Africa; Auckland, New Zealand; Cardiff, United Kingdom; Lisbon, Portugal, and Gothenburg, Sweden.

Newport hosted the only North American stopover this year. The 13-day event drew 130,000 fans. A race official said it attracted five times the visitors who attended in Miami in 2012.

“We agree with you this is the best place in America for you to be,” said Governor Gina Raimondo Friday.

The public sailing center Sail Newport estimates the economic impact on the state was $47 million.

“For every million dollars spent in Rhode Island by domestic and international travel, it generates 8 jobs. So this has enormous potential,” added Congressman David Cicilline.

Additional details will be announced next year.

“The moment our guests arrived and the sailors set foot on shore, they felt the passion of the people and also of the businesses in Rhode Island, had given them such a warm welcome. Thank you Rhode Island,” said Tom Touber, COO of Volvo Ocean Race.

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