Volvo Ocean Race sails into Newport with exciting finish

Leg 8 from Itajai to Newport. Arrivals. 08 May, 2018. (Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race)

The Volvo Ocean Race arrived in Newport on Tuesday morning with a nail-biting finish.

Thick fog and slow wind speeds played a role in a tight finish in the leg from Brazil to Fort Adams State Park.

The red boat of Team MAPFRE edged out Team Brunel just before 7 a.m.

"To have that finish with the Spanish team MAPFRE coming in and taking the lead with less than 2 minutes to go in the leg," said Brad Reed, executive director of Sail Newport, "was one of the most fantastic finishes they've had."

"MAPFRE was almost 100 miles back at one point in this race," Reed said.

Without a doubt, the crowd favorite was third-place finisher Vestas 11th Hour Racing. Its boat has a Brown graduate and two Rhode Islanders on board.

Skipper Charlie Enright is from Bristol.

"It's amazing how many people turned out to see us finish," Enright said.

Nick Dana’s hometown is Newport.

"Some soul crushing moments when you would get your scuds, your reports, on where the other boats were, and you'd realize that they have wind and you didn't," Dana said.

Strong winds died down overnight, but the crew overcame that along with several other challenges before the yachts left Brazil.

"One involving a fishing vessel in Hong Kong, and then in the last Southern Ocean leg coming around Cape Horn our mast broke," Enright said.

Sailors have time to celebrate and rest before the teams are scheduled to set sail for Cardiff, Wales, on May 20.

"We have so much family fun, activities, scheduled for the entire two-week period,” Reed said.

The around-the-world course spans about 45,000 nautical miles. Newport is the only North American stop in the race.

Event organizers said when the Volvo Ocean Race came to Newport three years ago, it led to an economic boost in the area of about $50 million.

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