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More than 100,000 visit Volvo Ocean Race Newport

Photo courtesy Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

Photo courtesy Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean Race’s Newport stopover from May 8-20 drew over 100,000 visitors to glimpse the seven VO65 race boats and visit race village at Fort Adams State Park.

The 13-day event was kicked off with the arrival of the boats in the early morning hours of May 8 in dense fog.

After 16 days of racing on the leg from Brazil, the top two boats, Mapfre and Brunel, crossed the finish line only 61 seconds apart. Nearly 8,000 spectators visited on the opening day alone.

"All of us at Sail Newport were delighted at the turnout in less-than-perfect weather conditions throughout the 13 days,” said Sail Newport and Volvo Ocean Race Newport stopover executive director Brad Read in a statement.

“As the Volvo Ocean Race team has said over and over again: Newport is the premier stopover, and it is the knowledgeable, engaged and enthusiastic fans in the U.S. that makes Newport, R.I., such a great destination for the race," Read said.

Over the following 12 days, another 92,000-plus spectators enjoyed the event. The overall attendance figures include guests who streamed through the entrance, arrived by water taxi, visited on school field trips, watched from spectator boats and crowded the shoreline of Fort Adams, Brenton Point, Beavertail and Fort Wetherill State Parks.

"We were thrilled to see the crowds — clearly sailing fans were coming rain or shine, and the racing did not disappoint," said stopover director Susan Maffei Plowden.

The final weekend, which included Gurney's Resorts In-Port Race and the start of the 3,300 nautical mile trans-Atlantic race leg to Cardiff, Wales, drew 36,121 visitors.

"On Sunday, the fog lifted to provide a stunning race start for spectators when the fleet took a lap around Narragansett Bay, before departing for Cardiff," Maffei Plowden said.

In addition to spectators, a group of 885 volunteers ranging in ages from 14 to 86 came from 31 states and 11 countries. 

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