The 8th of May saw a nail-biting finish to the eighth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, with MAPFRE finishing ahead of Team Brunel by just 61 seconds. There could hardly have been a better backdrop for such an intense showdown than Newport, Rhode Island, the City by the Sea that is often called the capital of American sailing. Located at Fort Adams State Park and overlooking the spectacular Newport Harbor, for two weeks, the Newport Race Village was a hub of race activity.
To celebrate the only U.S. stopover in the Volvo Ocean race, Interlux gave away an experience package via social media and our website, Interlux.com. As the winners, Jim Wilson and guest Eric Leavell received a free trip to the Race Village for a whole weekend of exclusive activities right at the heart of the action.
On Friday, the duo got to meet team AkzoNobel and take part in the Pro-Am M32 catamaran race in the harbor. Jim and Eric teamed up with team AkzoNobel helmsman Luke Molloy in an exciting race, coming in third overall!
Saturday included a tour around Newport harbor in a RIB (rigid inflatable boat), and Jim and Eric got to climb aboard team AkzoNobel’s VO65 for a behind-the-scenes tour of the race boat.
“Getting to meet the sailors of team AkzoNobel was amazing! Especially Brad Farrand and Martine Grael,” Jim told us after the weekend. “But the best part of the experience was getting to go on the Volvo 65 and being part of the Pro-Am race on the M32. The only sailing experience I had before was from Boy Scouts, getting my sailing merit badge around 12 years ago. I really enjoyed the experience of gliding so quickly through the water.
While sailing was an undisputed highlight of the experience, Jim told us he took away much more from the trip.
“One thing that surprised me was learning about the importance of clean waters. It was interesting to hear about AkzoNobel’s involvement with the ‘Clean Seas’ and ‘Turn the Tide On Plastic’ projects to raise awareness about the damage being done to oceans. I was stunned to learn about the amount of microplastics that has already reached the world’s most remote oceans, as far away as Point Nemo. The plastics are even getting into our food!”
As the grand finale of their winning package, the Interlux competition winners took a private guided tour of the Volvo Pavilion on Sunday before watching the start of leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18. Jim and Eric cheered on team AkzoNobel from aboard one of the VIP spectator boats, as the fleet raced off toward Cardiff, England, across the Atlantic ocean.
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