Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover

The Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover has been a huge success in terms of spectators, attractions, sustainability.

11th Hour Racing was a Port Sponsor for this Stopover, which became the perfect occasion for many 11th Hour Racing Ambassadors to meet, connect and brainstorm on sustainability and clean health topics.

One of the educational highlights of the Stopover was the Exploration Zone sponsored by 11th Hour Racing and SCA, which attracted thousands of local students and spectators. The Exploration Zone aimed to educate and inspire visitors about the sport of sailing, the oceans, and to discover continents and cultures around the world through the lens of the world’s most grueling sailboat race. Along with sustainability, Exploration Zone themes included marine science and technology, geography and culture, and mathematics. 

The final visitor count of approximately 125,000at the Volvo Ocean Race Newport stopover exceeded all expectations for the 12-day celebration. The stopover has been so successful that Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad changed protocol and announced that Newport has been awarded an exclusive two-month negotiating period to secure the North American stopover in the next race, which could visit in May 2018.

The Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover, the only North American stopover of the global race, was awarded Platinum Level certification as a Clean Regatta. Platinum Level certification means that the Newport stopover has met 41 points of sustainability out of a possible 42. The stopover set a goal of being a carbon-neutral event and that goal is within reach.  The Newport Stopover will be the only carbon-neutral stopover of the global race. The stopover’s carbon footprint is being offset by the use of biodiesel fuel provided by the National Biodiesel Board in partnership with Newport Biodiesel in the Volvo Ocean 65 race boats and all shoreside generators required in the Race Village.  Additionally, SeaGrass Grow!, the world’s only “blue carbon” offset provider, donated carbon offsets to further reduce the event’s carbon footprint. To promote a sustainable event stopover organizers enlisted the assistance of MTG Disposal to separate recyclable and compostable items from trash. 

Visitors to the Race Village at Fort Adams State Park were encouraged to bring a personal water bottle for filling at water stations, and all plates, napkins and utensils were required to be compostable. Sustainability also is a prominent theme in the Exploration Zone. “I have to thank the members of the Sustainability Committee for their tremendous efforts to make the stopover a carbon-neutral event,” said Sail Newport Executive Director Brad Read, a co-host of the stopover. “It’s no small feat to divert waste from the state landfill, but we’re proud to be able to say this event will be carbon-neutral.”

The Volvo Ocean Race Newport stopover was hosted with the support from the State of Rhode Island, RI DEM, the City of Newport and Discover Newport. Sustainability sponsors included Sweden-based SCA, a leading global hygiene and forest-products company, and 11th Hour Racing.

For the Newport Stopover, sustainability was defined as optimizing the social, economic, and environmental impacts of all event activities, leaving a positive legacy on the local community and attendees, and protecting our natural environment.

For the Newport Stopover, sustainability was defined as optimizing the social, economic, and environmental impacts of all event activities, leaving a positive legacy on the local community and attendees, and protecting our natural environment.

To achieve this goal, a cross-functional team of stakeholders came together in collaboration with Sail Newport to create the Sustainability Committee and develop a plan.

Activity highlights within the four environmental themes of the event included:

  1. Climate and Energy
  • Alternative Transportation: Maximize clean transportation options, in partnership with Bike Newport.
  • Biodiesel: Utilize low emissions biodiesel in Race Village generators, Volvo Team boats, in partnership with the National Biodiesel Board.
  • Emissions Inventory: Quantify carbon emissions of the event to inform future efforts.
  1. Resource Efficiency
  • Recycling & Composting: Target 60% waste diversion throughout the event through composting, recycling and waste audits in partnership with Sailors for the Sea.
  • Supply Chain Management: Source compostable and recyclable materials for public concession, catering and bar services, in partnership with Russell Morin Catering. 
  1. Marine Environment
  • Marine Debris Prevention & Awareness: Educate spectators about the impact of marine debris and the importance of stopping plastic pollution at the source, in partnership with Clean Ocean Access and Sailors for the Sea. 
  1. Education and Outreach
  • Green Team:  Engage a network of volunteers throughout the stopover to help educate spectators and ensure sustainability goals are met.
  • Legacy Project:  Collaborate with SCA and the Girl Scouts to plant trees at Fort Adams during the stopover.

For more information, the complete Sustainability Plan can be downloaded here.

To read the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover Sustainability Report and lessons learned, click here.

Source: Volvo Ocean Race Newport.