Team Alvimedica Awestruck By Newport’s Farewell

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The North American stop turned the Volvo Ocean Race’s sailors into rock stars.

Local Newporters have long wondered whether Farewell Street was given the name because it heads out of town…or because it’s between two graveyards. After this weekend, future generations may have another theory: That it’s named after our world-beating send-offs for the world’s great sailors.

Writing on the Team Alvimedica blog, Team Reporter (photographer, cook, “Hey, you…hold this” guy, etc.) Amory Ross expressed the team’s absolute gratitude for the reception Newport gave them and for a farewell that just blew the sailors away (both literally and figuratively).

We were legitimately speechless, looking at the hundreds of boats lining the racecourse and the thousands of fans along the Newport shore, and when we rounded Castle Hill and the spectator fleet converged to lead us back into the Atlantic I saw nothing but smiles in every direction!

Never did we expect that kind of a turnout during a chilly May weekend in Rhode Island, but instead we were treated to a Narragansett Bay mob maybe bigger than it ever!? Alby thinks he finally knows what it feels like to be a “footballer.” Housty says it was the most impressive sight he’s seen in three Volvo Ocean Races. Nick imagines it as busy or busier than Newport in the 80’s, during the America’s Cup glory days his father always reminisces about. It was almost overwhelming–the energy and enthusiasm that everyone showed for this little event of ours–and even if just for a few hours you made us feel like rock stars. Thank you!!

We are so proud of Newport, of sailing in America, and for the unrivaled passion and excitement that we all experienced during our short stay there. Sailing is alive and well in the Ocean State and while we of course relish the return to racing, it was very, very, hard to say goodbye.

The departure from Fort Adams was a bit of a contrast to the race’s arrival. Not that there wasn’t a whole lot of enthusiasm for the arrival, but it was after dark…and for Team Alvimedica, there wasn’t the two hours sitting completely still off of Castle Hill with half the crew thinking, ‘I can see my goddamn house from here.’

For the arrival, there were more boats out on Narragansett Bay than we’d probably ever seen…but when it came to the departure, there was probably five times that.

Amory Ross continued by saying that his greatest thrill was the chance to meet and inspire the kids who may very well be the next generation of Volvo Ocean Race sailors.

On a personal note, I was blown away by the amount of kids walking through the village, and by how much they knew. Even a surprised Will, dressed in plainclothes and very much hoping to fly under the radar, was stopped to the tune of Mr. Oxley and a cheering class of 4th graders. I am out here because I love sailing and because I love sharing our adventures, and to meet so many young kids who are following along, who say they want to someday grow up to sail in this race, and who ask the guys only one question: how do I get to where you are? It makes everything that we do worthwhile. To inspire others is as worthy a task as there ever was.

Godspeed to Team Alvimedica and all of the Volvo Ocean Race boats on their way across the Atlantic. We hope to see you back in Newport very soon.

-Tristan Pinnock, Blast Sailing Correspondent

Tristan's just this guy, ya know?