Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Sailors competing in the Volvo Ocean Race are attesting to the growing amount of trash found in the ocean. They’ve reported plastic debris getting stuck on their rudders and keels, slowing down their boats. That was the catalyst for a summit focused on ocean debris during the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Newport.

Sailor Dee Caffari, with Team SCA, has been sailing for 10 years, but she notes the trash has been most prominent along the new routes in this race around the world. What’s most heartbreaking, Caffari said, is witnessing the negative impact trash has on marine creatures.


Beaches have opened and warm weather is upon us, which can mean only one thing for the Ocean State, tourist season has begun. State officials are expecting increases in revenue compared to last year. Summer arrived later than usual last year, and Rhode Island saw just an average tourist season.  But this year thermometers have already been pushing 80 degrees. 

Director of tourism for Commerce RI, Mark Brodeur said early beach openings, and events like the Volvo Ocean sailing race in Newport are giving the season a strong start.

Kristi Wilson / Team Alvimedica

The international sailing world is on display in Newport, as teams from the Volvo Ocean Race make their only North American stop in the City by the Sea. The next week of events is expected to generate millions of dollars and draw thousands of tourists.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender headed down to Newport to see what all the fuss is about.

In the dead of night on Thursday, a chilly air settled over Fort Adams State Park. A crowd of 7,000 excited spectators thronged the lawn, waiting to catch a glimpse of the boats arriving in the Volvo Ocean Race.

Volvo Ocean Race

Dongfeng Racing arrived first in Newport to the cheers of thousands of fans.  From Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender reports that cannon fire greeted the first-place finishers. 

The Chinese Team, Dongfeng Racing, sailed into Newport Wednesday night, after a grueling, 5,000 mile journey from Brazil.

Several thousand spectators welcomed them to historic Fort Adams State Park, the only North American stopover on the race, waving flags and glow sticks from shore.

URI/RI Sea Grant

With more than 500 public drinking water suppliers in the state, the Rhode Island Department of Health is worried about how they will cope with climate-related changes like intense rains, rising seas, and warmer temperatures. For the next installment of our series, Battle With The Sea, environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza heads to Newport, home to one of the most vulnerable drinking water supplies in the state when it comes to climate change.

dbking / flickr

Governor Gina Raimondo and other elected officials were in Newport Tuesday celebrating the opening of the Volvo Ocean Race village at Fort Adams.  The international sailing race is set to hit Newport by week’s end.

Amory Ross / Team Alvimedica

The six sailing teams in the Volvo Ocean Race are speeding closer to Newport, where they’re expected to dock later this week. The race is one of the biggest in the sailing world, covering some 40-thousand nautical miles. It takes nine months to complete. Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender caught up with a sailor on one of the boats. Nick Dana hails from Newport, at 29,  he’s one of the youngest crew members for Team Alvimedica. Dana spoke by a satellite phone as the team heads from Brazil towards the east coast.

Volvo Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean race is expected to arrive in Newport this week.  The City by the Sea is the race’s only stopover in the U.S.


Sailing fans consider this the Super Bowl of international ocean sailboat racing. Held about once every four years, the international race kicks off in Spain and ends in Sweden.  It takes about nine months to complete. Seven teams are competing this year.

Race commentator Andy Green said the boats are on their way following, after a stop in Brazil.


Twin River’s leadership plans to hold an informational meeting in Tiverton Monday on its proposed casino. Twin River hopes to transfer the gambling license for Newport Grand to an undeveloped northern Tiverton site on the state line with Massachusetts.

Twin River officials are slated to offer an introductory presentation on their proposal during a 7 pm meeting at Tiverton Middle School. Tivertown Town Administrator Matthew Wojcik said his sense is that residents are looking for details on the envisioned casino.

Newport Third Graders Lobby For Official State Insect

May 1, 2015
St. Michael's Country Day School

A group of third graders in Newport hope to convince lawmakers to name an official state insect.  The students at St. Michael’s Country Day School in Newport want to make the American Burying Beetle the Ocean State’s official bug.

Their teacher Linda Spinney says the students will make their case at the Statehouse Thursday before lawmakers.

“We’re taking the school bus up there today. It will be a late night for them but I think their parents want them to really see the process and where it takes you when your voices are heard.”

Newport's Cliff Walk Gets High Tech Upgrades

Apr 29, 2015

Newport’s famous Cliff Walk is now smart-phone friendly. The tourist attraction has added 16 trail markers with quick response codes. Visitors can get historic and geological information with a quick smartphone scan.

Salve Regina University Professor Jon Marcoux worked with students to create the app.

“This is a great example of something that was doable for an undergraduate, and they did it, but hopefully it will have a big payoff for folks who are visiting.”

Marcoux said using technology increases the breadth of information available to tourists.


Boston Marathon Bombing survivor Heather Abbot said she will attend the race Monday.  Abbot, who lives in Newport, lost her left leg following the blast at the finish line.

She said she’ll watch the races joined by loved ones, continuing her annual Marathon Monday tradition.

“I’ll be spending the day in Boston with my same group of friends that I’m always with, trying to create some better memories, and put that memory of 2013 in the past.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Two years after losing her left leg in the Boston Marathon bombings, Newport resident Heather Abbott is starting a foundation.  The charity will provide funds for other amputees.

Before Heather Abbott lost her leg, she says she never realized the variety of prosthetics needed for things like swimming, biking, even wearing high heels.  Or that those prosthetics can cost tens of thousands of dollars each.

Abbot said that’s important because most insurers won’t cover leg prosthetics for activities other than walking.

John Bender / RIPR

In what has become an all too familiar winter announcement this year, the cities of Providence and Newport have ordered street parking  bans.

Mayor Jorge Elorza announced this afternoon that the capital city’s parking ban will go into effect at midnight Monday (March 2) and remain in effect until further notice. The mayor also said in a statement that parents should remain on alert for a possible school tomorrow. The city’s snow hotline telephone number is 680-8080.

Chris Hunter / Collective Thought Media

The Aquidneck Land Trust has acquired 72 acres of land in Portsmouth to conserve as open space. The Land Trust recently purchased the parcel for $3 million. The scenic property at St. Mary’s Church includes 25 forested acres.

Land trust executive director Chuck Allott said the property at St. Mary’s Church includes forested land that neighbors St. Mary’s Pond, one of Aquidneck Island’s drinking water supplies.  “So it's a very important drinking water, watershed protection parcel and it's also an important habitat property because of that forested land.”