With 53 years of hosting The America’s Cup matches in its waters, two consecutive Volvo Ocean Race stopovers in four years under its belt, and boats that have graced its harbor since the mid-1700s, Newport has earned its reputation as the Sailing Capital of the World. But you don’t have to be a world class skipper or a weather-beaten expert in circumnavigation to enjoy the best of Narragansett Bay. In Newport and its surrounding coastal communities, there is ample opportunity to raise and trim the sails, grind the winches, tack the jib and take the helm – or simply sit back, relax and take in the magic that is sailing in Newport.
If you want to learn to sail, look no further than Sail Newport, Rhode Island’s largest public sailing center. Located on the shores of Fort Adams State Park, the non-profit organization offers two-hour “Try Sailing” experiences where, guided by an experienced instructor, up to three guests can learn the ins and outs of the sport from water safety precautions to techniques like jibing around a buoy and working with the wind.
Newport is home to largest fleet of America’s Cup winners in the world and more than half a dozen of these thoroughbreds of the sea have been meticulously maintained for day sails and charter guests. You can easily envision President John F. Kennedy, with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy by his side, taking in the competitive cup as they did here in 1962 (and while you’re sailing, you’ll see Hammersmith Farm, Jackie’s summertime home and the site of the couple’s 1953 wedding reception). From July 8-13, sailing royalty from around the globe will descend on Newport for the 12 Meter World Championship. This event is the largest-ever gathering of the boat class in the U.S. Sailing’s. Also joining this event will be, Brazil’s Torben Grael and Denmark’s Jesper Bank, who have eight Olympic sailing medals between them.
Other opportunities to sail in Newport include sailing aboard an 18th century-style schooner built for leisure and comfortably coasting. Wooden boat aficionados will enjoy Rum Runner II, a 1929 classic motor yacht commissioned by mobsters used to smuggle “hooch” during the height of Prohibition. If you want to learn more about Newport’s working waterfront, take an educational cruise with Fish ‘n Tales Adventures where you’ll have a front row seat to living the life of a lobsterman – hauling the pots, sorting the daily catch and baiting the traps – all aboard a 50′ wooden lobster boat. The Vineyard Gazette offers the most Rhode Island-driven menu from its galley, serving up the state’s famously refreshing Del’s Frozen Lemonade, iconic “coffee cabinets” (similar to a coffee-flavored milkshake), locally made craft brews and “stuffies” – a Little Rhody delicacy made with local quahogs featuring a mixture of clams, chorizo (spicy Portuguese sausage), breadcrumbs and spices mixed and baked in a clam shell.
These are just a few of the ways to experience sailing in Newport, a city which plans to open the doors to the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2020.
Sailing Newport Harbor by
Newport Harbor by Discover Newport