1 The 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race included Newport, Rhode Island as one of its stopovers. It is the only North American stopover on the course. The area was also host to the well-known America's Cup for many years until it departed in 1983 after a famous Australian victory. (Photo by Daniel Forster). http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/home.html
2 The Volvo Ocean Race is a yacht race around the world held every three years. Originally named after its founding sponsor, British Whitbread brewing company, it is now named after its current sponsors, the Swedish automobile manufacturer, Volvo Cars and Volvo Group. The race was first established in 1973, and although each course is planned to accommodate the various ports of call, it typically begins in Europe, and includes up to 10-legs, with in-port races at many of the stopover cities.
3 The map on this exhibition car shows the remaining legs of the competition from Newport, Rhode Island to Portugal to France and then to its final destination, Sweden. This year, the nine month race will cover a total of 39,379 nautical miles, the longest route in the race's history.
4 There are seven boats competing: Team SCA sponsored by the Swedish company of the same name; Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team from the United Arab Emirates; China's Dongfeng Race Team; Team Brunel representing the Netherlands; Mapfre from Spain; and Team Alvimedica, the American/Turkish competitor. The seventh team, Team Vestas Wind, underwent repairs during this stopover and was scheduled to rejoin the race at a later port.
5 CEO of the Ocean Race, Knut Frostad, introduced the In-Port Newport race series. Frostad is a Norwegian yachtsman who participated in a broad range of world championship level events including the Volvo Ocean Race for sailing and the Olympic Games in windsurfing.
6 My property director, Mike Fiore, a passionate yachtsman himself, was among a group of guest crew members invited to join Team SCA in one of the Newport in-port races. Here he was in his sailing gear. Team SCA was the first all-female crew to enter this race in more than a decade.
7 Here's the racing yacht Mike was assigned to join. The boat is backed by the Swedish-based global hygiene and forest products company, SCA. Notice all the communication technology, including the advanced Inmarsat FleetBroadband service equipment, that helped the crew communicate with the race committee and headquarters from anywhere on the open seas.
8 As the boats prepared for the start of the race, Team SCA's main sail was raised, and the crew headed out of the harbor to the start line. The race was held in Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay, on the north side of Rhode Island Sound. During this city stopover, there was this In-Port Pro-Am Race, a series of other In-Port races and then the leg start to its next port, Lisbon, Portugal.
9 Here are all the boats as they prepared to start the race. Of the 11-ports on this year's course, Newport, Rhode Island had the smallest population of about 24,000. This stopover drew visitors from as far away as Alaska, Hawaii, Canada and Europe.
10 The Claiborne Pell Bridge is in the background of this photo. Commonly known as the Newport Bridge, it connects the city of Newport, Rhode Island and Jamestown, Conanicut Island. It is the longest suspension bridge in New England.
11 Mike sat on the rail of the boat, or the edge, as it prepared to cross the starting line.
12 Team SCA started their watches to wait for the 10-minute starting sequence. The Volvo Ocean Race, formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race, is the world's longest professional sporting event and premier off-shore yacht race. The race route generally starts in
mid-October and ends at the end of June.
13 The boats turned into starting positions. Each Volvo Ocean Race crew has a sailing team of up to 14 professional members, who race day and night for more than 20-days at a time. Each crew member has a specialty and a specific job on board to cover medical, sailmaking, engineering and media needs.
14 And they're off - the boats looked so vibrant against the blue waters. Every boat was built identically using one design. These boats are Volvo Ocean 65 models, a new high class of performance racing yacht created by Farr Yacht Design, Ltd., and built by a consortium of four European boatyards. http://www.farrdesign.com
15 Team SCA took the lead as they rounded one of the marks. The race is run in legs - this year, nine of them - with the boats covering nearly 40-thousand nautical miles, crossing four oceans, and visiting 11-countries.
16 Team Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates, approached the mark, the large yellow buoy, behind Team Brunel, representing the Netherlands.
17 Swedish ambassador to the United States, Bjorn Lyrvall, was also crewing on board.
Ambassador Lyrvall is an experienced sailor himself.
18 Three members of Team SCA: Abby Ehler from Great Britain, American Sara Hastreiter, and Stacey Jackson from Australia, stood around Gloria Borego, who was part of the first all-women's team to ever sail this race. Gloria was one of the guest crew members, along with Mike, who was assigned to the SCA racing yacht for this in-port competition.
19 On each boat is an embedded reporter, who exempt from sailing, is responsible for capturing all the stories and adventures taking place during the entire racing journey, with images, video, and text. It's one of the most challenging jobs in global media. Swedish journalist, Anna-Lena Elled, an accomplished sailor and founder of a sailing magazine in Sweden, rode with Team SCA.
20 This is a close-up photo of one of the other competing boats, Team Brunel, the Dutch entry. All the crews and boats in the competition go through extreme weather conditions - from unbearable temperatures, rough sailing to constant noise, dampness and speed deprivation. It is a very intense race.
21 Mike took the photos using this Nikon 1AW1 - it's a waterproof to 49 meter deep shock proof camera, which was perfect for being out on the water. http://www.nikonusa.com/
22 Mike captured this photo while aboard the all-female crew vessel, SCA.
23 Here, the boats rounded the upwind mark. The skies were overcast, but the waters looked relatively calm for this race - certainly no big challenge for these exceptional sailors.
24 As Team SCA headed upwind, the crew hiked out on the edge of the boat to help counterbalance it. Yacht racing often sacrifices comfort for speed - every crew member works extremely hard to help their teams.
25 On these Ocean 65 model boats, new hydraulic solid steel moving keels were installed, which could be set to the yacht's windward side, or the side the wind is coming from, to help keep the vessels stable and properly pointed.
26 As Team SCA maintained the lead, the two racing boats close by were, Team Abu Dhabi from the United Arab Emirates, and the Dutch campaign, Team Brunel.
28 The onboard reporter took this shot as the skipper, Carolijn Brouwer, prepared to hand the helm to Mike. Race organizers recruited proven media professionals for the race. Before joining the crew, each onboard reporter underwent a rigorous five-week training and then was matched with one of the seven competing teams.
29 Mike took the helm with great pride and determination to help the team.
30 Spectators cheered the teams on from the race village at The Fort in Newport, Rhode Island. More than 125-thousand people turned out for the event over the entire 12-day race stopover and celebration, much more than officials expected.
31 Newport, Rhode Island is very environmentally conscious. There was ample room for non-motorized vehicle parking and all spectators and visitors were encouraged to ride bikes to the race venue.
32 And in the Volvo Race Village, only recyclable water containers made of cardboard were allowed.
33 Many spectator boats also watched from the waters. I am quite fond of the Hinckley Picnic Boat. I have one similar to this model that I use up in Maine. Since its introduction, Hinckley's Picnic Boat has been admired for its classic style and pioneering jet propulsion system. http://www.hinckleyyachts.com/
34 Mike carefully held Team SCA's position in front of the fleet and won this section of the course. For this year's race, the organization implemented a low point scoring system for the first time, which means the team that finishes first in an in-port race or an off-shore leg, received one point. The team that finished second was awarded two points, etc. At the end of the race, the team with the least amount of points claims victory. Congratulations, Mike.
35 CEO of Musto, a world leading off-shore sailing brand, Peter Smith, joined race announcers, Dawn Reilly and Andy Green at the broadcasting booth. Dawn is also an accomplished sailor who has been part of several professional sailing campaigns including the America's Cup and the Whitbread Round the World Race.
36 Mike thoroughly enjoyed his time with Team SCA and wished the team well on the remainder of its adventure. After leaving Newport, Rhode Island, the route continued on to Lisbon, Portugal, then Lorient, France, where it is now. The race finishes in Gothenburg, Sweden on June 27th. The Volvo Ocean Race is a true test of skill and endurance. Good luck to all the teams competing.