Volvo Ocean Race expected to draw over 100,000 fans

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Three years ago the Newport stopover highlighted sailing and boating to 131,000 visitors.

Three years ago the Newport stopover highlighted sailing and boating to 131,000 visitors.

The first week of the Volvo Ocean Race Newport stopover attracted 40,000 visitors to the race village at Fort Adams State Park, and that number is expected to climb until the fleet departs May 20.

Newport is hosting the only North American stopover of the global race for the second consecutive edition and in 2015 the stopover attracted more than 131,000 fans in total.

“Newport is a special stopover for the sailors because it is such a sailing-oriented town,” said Susan Maffei-Plowden, the director of the stopover, in a statement. “Three years ago, the number of race fans floored the sailors with attention and knowledge of the sport. We’re off to a similar start this year and invite everyone to visit the Race Village. With so much going on, there’s something to capture everyone’s attention.”

Volvo Penta is the engine supplier for the nine-month, round-the-world race, providing each boat with a D2-75 hp diesel engine with S-Drive.

The engines are used to produce electricity for the boats’ communications equipment, computers, watermakers, lighting and heating when underway. Race rules do not allow the engines to be used for propulsion when racing except in emergencies, but they can be used to motor in and out of the host-city ports.

“This is the sixth time Volvo Penta has supplied the auxiliary engines for the sailboats in the Volvo Ocean Race,” said Ron Huibers, president of Volvo Penta of the Americas, in a separate statement. “The grueling event puts our products to the ultimate test for durability and performance.”

Volvo Penta also supplied the V6-280 gasoline sterndrive engines that power the team RIBs to transport crew, equipment and guests during port stopovers.

In addition, the Volvo Pavilion, which is a centerpiece in the 55,000-square-foot Race Village, gets its electricity from an industrial generator powered by a Volvo Penta TAD1651 diesel engine.

To keep all the boats and their installed equipment operating throughout the race, the racers are supported by The Boatyard, a traveling workshop and maintenance facility that follows the fleet.

Volvo Penta’s Technical Support Engineer Johannes Karlsson travels along with 50 other technical experts who support the boats and all the installed systems at The Boatyard during each port stopover.

Armed with a full supply of spares and tools, the technicians can quickly assess and repair all systems, including electronics, rigging, sails and engines. Karlsson can also call on additional support from Volvo Penta’s worldwide dealer network at each stopover city.

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