Last August, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee announced that the America’s Cup World Series was coming to the Ocean State. Now with only two months left to pull the event together, it’s getting to be crunch time in communities that will be holding events.
Series organizers have been busy planning the multitude of details necessary to make the festivities seamless. It has taken a team of more than 100 people and by all accounts, things are on schedule.
On June 21, there will be a regatta of classic America’s Cup boats in Narragansett, 12-meter yachts, some of which are past winners of the Cup. A celebration in downtown Newport is scheduled for the next day and will include events such as an outside movie, weather permitting, and a performance from the U.S. Navy Band. There will also be a number of lectures and workshops throughout May and June. Trials for the state-of-the-art, AC45 wing-sailed catamarans begin June 23, with racing to start June 27. It will be the first time the catamarans will be raced on the East Coast. The series wraps up July 1.
The America’s Cup World Series is a global event and the Newport regatta is the third and final race this year – races were held earlier in Naples and Venice, Italy.
The series means a lot to Rhode Island and its economy. An economic-impact analysis by the R.I. Department of Revenue estimated the event will generate nearly $51 million in direct spending on construction, marine trades, hotel rooms, restaurants, transportation and retail. Another $21 million is expected from ancillary services and consumer spending.
South Kingstown and Narragansett have collaborated for months to create an event worthy of the series. The end result is the South County 12 Meter Regatta, a friendly race featuring the boats used in the Cup from the 1950s to the 1980s. “Our economic-development committees thought we should be doing something to help kick off the event in Newport,” said Maureen Crowley, Narragansett economic-development coordinator.