Headed up to Newport for the Volvo Ocean Race stopover May 5 through 17? Of course you are. With incredible sailing, great food, fun nightlife, and tons of places to hang out on land, Newport is our home away from home. If you are heading up, start making plans now to make sure you don’t miss any of the action, and make the most of your time in the second greatest sailing town in the world.
Grab your joe to go at Coffee Grinder down at the very end of Bannister’s Wharf, where you can grab the morning’s paper and wake yourself up in one of their Adirondack chairs. Besides offering some of the best views of Newport Harbor, the Coffee Grinder has some of the best espresso in town. coffeegrindernewport.com
Head to Newport Shipyard for breakfast. “They have the best breakfast sandwich in town,” says North Sails president Ken Read. And you never argue with Ken Read over a breakfast sandwich. Sadly, the Tall Ship Providence (pictured in the corresponding photo on the hard in the yard) is no longer there: she suffered a bad fall during a winter storm and is now getting repaired. newportshipyard.com
Time to stretch your legs (and your wallet) by walking down to Team One Newport. Just walking in the door, you’ll be reminded that you need something, and luckily they offer everything the discriminating sailor could want. While you’re there, be sure to grab a copy of SpinSheet! team1newport.com
If you’re the exercising type, now is the time for you to get in a run around Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile public walkway that offers some of the most stunning ocean views you’ll find anywhere. It also offers great views of many of Newport’s mansions. If you were smart and watched the classic sailing movie “Wind” before heading up to Newport, you’ll recognize some of the locations seen in the movie.
Now that you’ve gotten your land-based activities out of the way, it’s time to get out on the water. Our favorite way to get out in Newport is to charter a 12-meter and channel the thrill of America’s Cup racing, where two hours on any one of the AC powerhouses will only cost you $75. But if you are more interested in little (ha!) boats, head down to Sail Newport and rent a J/22 or Rhodes 19 for anywhere from three to nine hours. sailnewport.org
If you prefer to watch the Volvo inport races from the shore, head over to Castle Hill Inn where you can wander around Ragged Point with a delicious cocktail in hand. Castle Hill is the place where “boats” are called “yachts,” though, so just be prepared. castlehillinn.com
Now that you’re a Newport sailing aficionado, it’s time to act the part. Head over to New York YC where you can relax on the lawn overlooking the harbor and drink one of the best dark and stormies anywhere in the world. nyyc.org
Oh, did they kick you out of NYYC because you aren’t a member? We figured, but hey – it was worth trying. Head over to the International Yacht and Athletic Club (IYAC) on Thames Street where sailors from around the world congregate. iyacnewport.com
If you’re hungry, our favorite place to be is the Clarke Cooke House, a staple for the Newport sailing elite for decades.
The Cooke House has multiple levels to it: if you’re just off the water and want to people watch world class sailors, head to The Candy Store, a haunt of sailing celebs like Dennis Conner, Ted Turner, and Ken Read. If you’re feeling all fancy-pantsy, head upstairs (with your proper attire, gentlemen) to either the Bistro or the Club Room. bannistersnewport.com/clarke_cooke_house.html
After dinner, take a walk around downtown Newport where they understand how much sailors love to be by the water. There are plenty of great restaurants and bars where you can oogle boats and people watch world class sailors, so be prepared to bump into a VOR sailor or two. And when you do, tell them you’re with SpinSheet and snap a pic – we’ll happily print it in the magazine! discovernewport.org