Newport, RI: Ocean Race’s only North American stop


A line of colorful sailboats carried on the wind of Newport Harbor
Boats catch the wind on Leg 9, from Newport to Cardiff, of the 2018 Ocean Race.

This epic sailing event will make its only North American stop in Newport, Rhode Island

Widely regarded as the most demanding sailing race on the planet, the Ocean Race is a test of skill, tactical decisions, navigation, and extreme physical and mental challenges. Before reaching the U.S. shore in May, sailing teams will have to conquer nearly 29,000 nautical miles from sunny Alicante, Spain, through Cabo Verde, and the icy depths of the Southern Ocean. Over the next 6 months, the tournament will stop in eight cities worldwide, with a single stop in May in North America: Newport, Rhode Island, the sailing capital of the country.

The Ocean Race began in 1973. Over its 50-year history, it has developed a reputation as the planet’s longest and most grueling professional sporting event. Within the sailing world, it’s considered the third leg of the sport’s “triple crown,” which also includes the America’s Cup and the Olympics.

Sailors practice for years to put their skills to the Ocean Race test, and some even develop an obsession with it. Just ask Sir Peter Blake, who competed in the first version (under its old name, the Whitbread Round the World Race), but came back repeatedly until he finally won in 1989-90.

A racing sailboat with a black sail slicing through the ocean waters
11th Hour Racing Team sets sail on their new IMOCA 60 during during the commissioning period, after the boat was launched in August 2021. (Photo by Amory Ross / 11th Hour Racing)

Newport is a no-brainer stopping point for the Ocean Race. Thanks to Newport Harbor’s combination of ideal winds and lack of navigational hazards, it’s one of the top places on the planet for sailing. Last year, the city debuted its brand-new Sailing Museum, a fantastic resource for the sport’s history and the mechanics, and a great taking-off point for prospective sailors of all backgrounds and abilities.

Exhibit of a full size sailboat with interactive display at the Sailing Museum in Newport, RI
An exhibit at the Sailing Museum. (Photo by Robin Catalano)

Newport’s 9-day, Ocean Race-themed festival, from May 13 to 21, will take place after boats arrive from Itajaí, Brazil. Celebrations will include educational experiences, spectator boat rides, sailing lessons, a watch party, and wing foil race. It will also feature One Blue Voice, an immersive experience that takes you under the sea and into marine environments to learn about ocean conservation.

Golden hour on Newport Harbor, with boats moored in the marina
The marina of Newport Harbor is jam-packed with boats during the summer. (Photo by Robin Catalano)

You can interact with sailing teams and their shore crew at “pit row.” In addition, the event will feature local entertainment, food, beverages, and games for kids.

Stay up-to-date on the progress of the race and the festivities in Newport at

Robin Catalano

Robin Catalano is a travel, arts, culture, and food journalist, and a book author/editor based in the Hudson Valley. Her work has appeared in National Geographic, Travel + Leisure, TIME, Smithsonian, Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR, Hemispheres, Robb Report, Bon Appetit, Fodor's, ROVA, Insider, Boston Globe, Albany Times Union, and a variety of other regional publications. A member of the Society of American Travel Writers and the International Federation of Journalists, she was selected as the summer 2020 Writer-in-Residence at Arrowhead, the historic home of Herman Melville in Pittsfield, Mass. This year, she was a finalist for the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association's Excellence in Journalism Award.

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