The 45,000 mile, nine month long Volvo Ocean Race was broadcasted live in Edwards Auditorium on Tuesday, March 20. The sailing race is a competition that tests the endurance of the world’s best sailors.

Currently, there are seven co-ed professional teams competing in this year’s race that began on Oct. 22, 2017. These teams sail through the world’s worst weather conditions aiming to make it from the beginning to the end.

The race began in Alicante, Spain, and will conclude in Hague, a village on the western coast of the Netherlands. Newport, Rhode Island is the single stopover in North America the sailors will make during the race. The sailors are intended to arrive in Newport on May 9 or 10 and will be there until May 20.

“A lot of people call [the race] the Mount Everest of sailing,” said Brad Read, executive director of Sail Newport. “It’s the hardest thing to do. Less people have sailed around Cape Horn than have climbed Mount Everest… It’s an adventure. It’s a race. It’s a study in human emotion. It’s no sleep. It’s constantly being wet. It’s 45,000 miles over nine months of hell. And why do people do it? Because they can’t get it out of their blood.”

The broadcasting of the Volvo Ocean Race has occurred in years prior in Newport as part of their education outreach. The University of Rhode Island has been a partner with Sail Newport to make broadcasting the race possible before, but this is the first year it’s being hosted on campus.

As part of Sail Newport’s education outreach, Donna Kelly, the education chair of Sail Newport, and Sharon Pavignano, a URI affiliate, thought it’d be good to bring this event to campus.

“It’s important for sailing Newport to do community outreach,” said Kelly. “It’s always very important for us to be involved in educating and sharing the message of not only we do but what the Volvo Ocean Race is.”

The One Ocean Exploration Zone is part of the education outreach and also a part of the Volvo Ocean Race. The One Ocean Exploration Zone will open May 12 and close May 20. URI is going to have nine to 10 exhibits to display what URI is doing regarding sailing, sustainability and education.

Kate Nora. a member of the URI sailing team, explained that the Volvo Ocean race and the One Ocean Exploration Zone are “great opportunities for sailors and non sailors from Rhode Island, and other states around, and just people in North America because we are the North American stopover.”

Attending the One Ocean Exploration Zone and checking out the sailors when they reach the Rhode Island stopover is something previous attendees recommend to both sailors and non sailors.

“I was able to attend this event last time it came around and I just thought it’s really cool to learn all about the technology that goes into it because there’s really like a lot of science and engineering that goes into boats,” said Luke Ingalls, another member of URI’s sailing team.

Overall, the event had a great turn out, as members of the sailing team, sailing club, alumni from the sailing team and many others attended the live broadcast.

To find out more about the Volvo Ocean Race, visit

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Kayla Michaud
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