As any visitor to these pages knows well, the sailing community has almost universally shared a sense of betrayal over the ‘appropriation’ of the America’s Cup to another country by the American defender. At the same time, San Francisco’s multi-million dollar AC shortfall and the bad taste left in San Diego and Newport’s mouths from ACEA’s negotiating sleaziness mean that sailing events in America have a tough road ahead if they’re going to try to repair some of the damage caused by Russell’s flying circus.
Thanks to the hard work of the Volvo Ocean Race, Sail Newport, and thousands of volunteers and cheerleaders, that job just got a hell of a lot easier; that’s because the numbers are in, and the Newport stopover for the VOR added some $32M in direct spending to the RI economy and nearly $50M in overall economic impact, with the government laying out only a tiny fraction of that amount to supply the stopover with services.
So even though we don’t know who will be running the next VOR or what teams we’ll see on the starting line, we’re pleased to share with you the news that the stopover voted ‘best’ by nearly every sailor, spectator, and reporter in the 2014-15 race has been confirmed to be BACK in May 2018, the only North American stop for the world’s most-watched sailboat race. We congratulate everyone involved, and applaud Volvo and SailNewport management for doing smart business while also acting as custodians for the good name of the sport.
Imagine if Russell and the ACEA folks would learn that these are not mutually exclusive goals.