Updated January 26 at 10:26am

Report: R.I. can compete for major sailing events

By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer

Summer may be the season for sailing in Rhode Island, but winter is shaping up to be prosperous as well. Two major February announcements – that Newport will be the only United States stop on the 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race and that last summer’s America Cup World Series Event brought a total of $52.7 million to the state - bring promises of continued industry success. More

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Report: R.I. can compete for major sailing events

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Summer may be the season for sailing in Rhode Island, but winter is shaping up to be prosperous as well. Two major February announcements – that Newport will be the only United States stop on the 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race and that last summer’s America Cup World Series Event brought a total of $52.7 million to the state - bring promises of continued industry success.

“We are now solidly in the international eye, not only as the destination that we have always been, but we are a main player in running international yachting competitions,” said Brad Read, executive director of Sail Newport.

It was always the goal of Read and the rest of the 30-member America’s Cup host committee to be able to demonstrate not only the event’s economic success in spending, tax revenue and job creation, but to leverage that into recapturing some of the sailing glory that in many minds went away with the America’s Cup that had been here from the 1930s through 1983, when the New York Yacht Club lost to the Royal Perth Yacht Club of Australia.

The “Large Marine Events Benefits Assessment Modeling Report,” released in early February, analyzed surveys of 1,260 attendees, total attendance figures and spending dollars. The goals were to appraise the fiscal impact and to provide ideas for how to better manage such events going forward.

Now the findings will be used to campaign for improvements at Fort Adams, where the state and the host committee set up a viewing village and most event-related activities took place, and for future sailing competitions.

“What the study helps us do is show potential to event producers,” said Paul Harden, director of the marine trades/workforce development sector at the R.I. Economic Development Corporation, who was executive director of the America’s Cup Rhode Island 2012.

Conducted by Planning Decisions Inc., a Maine-based planning and research firm, and Charles Colgan from the University of Southern Maine, the economic-impact report revealed the America’s Cup event brought $38.2 million to Rhode Island businesses, job income of $12 million, and $2.5 million in general state tax revenue from visitors, organizers, sponsors, racing teams and media covering the event.

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