Volvo Ocean Race heads to Newport

(FILES) File photo dated March 18, 2018 shows the Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag yachting team heading out of Waitamata Harbour at the start of the seventh leg of the Volvo Ocean Race yacht race in Auckland.A high-seas search was underway on March 27, 2018 after a Volvo Ocean Race crew member washed overboard from the yacht Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag amid gale-force winds in the hostile Southern Ocean, race organisers said. Briton John Fisher went missing from the yacht some 2,250 kilometres west of Cape Horn on the tip of South America. / AFP PHOTO / MICHAEL BRADLEYMICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP/Getty Images

The Volvo Ocean Race boats began the leg to Newport on Sunday.

The sailing competition, which began in Spain, heads to its ninth destination, and it's in Newport. Crews are sailing around the world, ready to put Rhode Island on the map.

The teams are expected to arrive at Fort Adams in a little over two weeks. Crews left South America Sunday, going straight toward New England.

"This is one of the hardest legs the teams will do because they come into the North Atlantic after they cross the Gulf Stream. It's cold. It's foggy," said Brad Read, executive director of Sail Newport.

More than 131,000 people came to watch the racers arrive in Newport in 2015's race.

"It really showcases Rhode Island to the world," said Read.

Some local teams and other Americans are spread out across the ocean with their eyes on the prize.

"Incredible because they're out in 15-knot winds and 20-foot waves," said Read. "Boats have broken their masts, and unfortunately, this year, there's been a loss of life."

Seven teams began sailing in October from Spain with the worldwide daring journey expected through July. It became a dangerous and deadly race. Some boats sank, leaving fishermen needing to be saved.

Britain's John Fisher, who is based in Adelaide, Australia, was sailing for team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag in the Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajai, Brazil, leg of the prestigious around-the-world race when he went overboard in 35-knot winds and fierce seas.

"Someone was washed overboard. John Fisher from Adelaide in Australia unfortunately didn't make it all the way to Brazil. And we get to celebrate those boats that are coming here," said Read.

The Newport team, called Vestas 11th Hour Racing struggled a bit after losing a mast.

"We’re really excited to see Vestas 11th Hour Racing return back to Newport. They trained here. They practice here," said Alex Rudkin, Volvo Ocean Race commercial manager.

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