economic development

Newport to host America’s Cup event

THE FINAL EVENT of the 2012 America’s Cup World Series will comprise nine days of competitive sailing races, from June 23 to July 1 2012, that culminate in the crowning of the America’s Cup World Series Champion.
Posted 8/12/11

(Corrected Aug. 16)

PROVIDENCE – The intensive campaign to bring the America’s Cup back to Newport finally paid off when state and America’s Cup officials Friday afternoon announced that the City by the Sea will host the final event of the 2012 America’s Cup World Series.

The final event will comprise nine days of competitive sailing races, from June 23 to July 1 2012, that culminate in the crowning of the America’s Cup World Series Champion. The event include speed trials and a series of qualifying races, according to information provided by the R.I. Economic Development Corporation for Friday afternoon’s news conference at the R.I. Convention Center.

“Newport and Rhode Island have strong historical ties to the America’s Cup, dating back to 1930,” Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee said (America’s Cup was held in Newport from 1930 to 1983).

“Narragansett Bay, one of our state’s most spectacular assets, provides a perfect, natural venue,” Chafee continued, “and the ongoing infrastructure improvements at Fort Adams make Newport the ideal host for the final stop of the AC World Series. This exciting event will be a tremendous boost for the Rhode Island economy and continues the relationship between Newport and the America’s Cup.”

Chafee and Keith W. Stokes, executive director of the EDC, have led the charge to bring back the America’s Cup, lobbying America’s Cup officials and hosting visits from them in an earnest effort to lure the world-class, prestigious race back to Rhode Island. The actual Amercia’s Cup race will be held in San Francisco in 2013, preceded by two seasons of the AC World Series, in 2012 and 2013.

“The America’s Cup is an exciting economic development opportunity for Rhode Island that will benefit small businesses and support key industries including tourism and hospitality, marine trades and other related sectors of our economy,” said Keith W. Stokes, executive director of EDC.

“The continuing permanent public infrastructure improvements at Fort Adams State Park have, not only ensured that Rhode Island can host the AC World Series, but also will make Newport a top-tier venue for future world-class sailing competitions,” Stokes said.

The first season of the newly created AC World Series will begin in 2012. The America’s Cup Event Authority, which is in charge of America’s Cup activities, said the new professional circuit is designed to “expose millions more people to the sport of high-performance racing” and “bring the America’s Cup experience to top international venues.”

“Newport is the cradle of America’s Cup sailing, so we’re very pleased to bring the AC World Series to the city that first exposed the Cup to the world,” said Richard Worth, chairman of the event authority. “We are building upon that rich history through this new professional circuit to accelerate the global appeal of the America’s Cup.”

The AC World Series features tight, short race-courses designed to deliver close racing for the fans on shore, as well as the online and television audiences, the authority said. The innovative regatta format includes a mix of speed trials, head-to-head match racing and all-out fleeting racing with nine identical AC45s on the line. “These events provide the fans the only opportunity to see all of the America’s Cup competitors racing together,” the authority said.

The AC45, described by America’s Cup officials as “the next generation of America’s Cup boats,” is a wing-sailed catamaran capable of closing speeds of more than 35 mph, yet is “nimble enough to handle the tight, tactical race courses” of the AC World Series, the authority said.

Plans call for holding the racing inside Newport Harbor, with the start/finish line just off the shoreline and spectator access along numerous points on the waterfront.

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