The Newport Daily News reports that more than 150 people rallied at New England Boatworks in Portsmouth on Tuesday morning to drive home the message that the state needs to make the investment in boating facilities at Fort Adams State Park in Newport so it can host the 2013 America’s Cup races.
The rally was addressed by Ken Read, former America's cup helmsman and skipper of the Volvo Ocean Race entry, PUMA Racing, who emphasised the benefits to the local marine industry that a grand prix racing base facility can bring.
'The infrastructure alone that needs to be created to host this event will become the state’s aquatic convention center, certainly bringing events like the America’s Cup, but also other major events like a Volvo Ocean Race stopover, the Olympic trials, and non-sailing events as well,' he said.
The team, a German-owned enterprise, 'has spent over $20 million in Rhode Island in the past three years on things like design and engineering, boat and mast construction, sails, rigging, housing and food,' Read said.
'Keep in mind that PUMA Ocean Racing has approximately one-fourth the budget of just one of the predicted 10 teams expected to be in the next America’s Cup,' Read told the group who included the Newport Daily News.
The sailing syndicates from around the world will build the major components of their boats in their own countries, as required by America’s Cup rules.
'But they can set up shop here with their large programs and test, train and build parts and pieces for their programs at staggering rates,' Read said. 'They have to come here. It is their only way to be competitive.
'Grand prix sailing simply brings jobs and revenue to this state,' he said. PUMA Ocean Racing is one of the largest professional yacht racing teams in the U.S., second only to the BMW Oracle Racing team that won the America’s Cup races in Valencia, Spain, this year. The PUMA team is based at Newport Shipyard next to the Goat Island causeway.
The rally was organised by the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association and many of the attendees were employed in the boating firms located around the Melville boating and marine center.
BMW Oracle Racing are still evaluating options for hosting the 2013 America's Cup, with a bid expected from Newport RI, to be considered along with bids from San Francisco and an unnamed Italian location. A decision on the venue is required to be announced before 31st December 2010.