The world is watching Newport right now, and you should be, too. The America’s Cup World Series event is not just the biggest thing happening in yacht racing, it’s one of the most significant sporting events happening anywhere on the planet. To make the most of this momentous occasion, we’ve compiled a list of six great places to take in the Cup action.
1. Fort Adams. This is the epicenter of the action, and folks in Newport and Rhode Island as a whole have committed a heck of a lot of time and money to make sure it’s ready. The largest coastal fortification in the United States, Fort Adams’ sprawling six-acre lawn affords the perfect vantage from which to take in the races. The race village is a sight to see (plenty of Puma gear and Moet to taste), but make sure to leave time for the Exploration Zone, which contains exhibits and talks about keeping our oceans clean.
2. Your Own Boat. If you have a boat in the water in Newport or anywhere nearby, you probably can’t be talked out of taking it out to see the Cup races from the water level, despite organizers’ repeated reminders that the best views will be from shore. If you’re going out on Narragansett Bay, make sure to familiarize yourself with the many rules regarding where you can be and, more importantly, where you cannot be. These AC45 catamarans are almost faster than you can imagine, and the need to stay out of their way is very real (an incident involving a spectator boat already caused damage to one of the cats and could’ve led to a huge accident).
3. On Someone Else’s Boat. There are lots of charter companies who offer trips on Narragansett Bay, but if you’re here to see the America’s Cup World Series, why not catch a ride on a former America’s Cup boat? America’s Cup Charters is offering a special trip from 1:30-5:30 p.m. on their 12-meter yachts each day of the races. If you miss one of those trips, the evening light on the bay is spectacular and the 6-8 p.m. trip will be one for the story books.
4. Fort Weatherill. The masses will be at Fort Adams, but those willing to venture a bit farther afield over to Jamestown will actually have a spectacular view if they head out to Fort Weatherill, on the southern edge of the island. This public-access area is a bit rough — you’ll have to walk up a path to the overlook — but the view with Fort Adams in the background rivals the vantage from Newport. You can reach Fort Weatherill by traveling south on Walcott Avenue and bearing left at the fork in the road.
5. On Screen. If you need a sign that sailing has finally made it into the mainstream, turn on your TV to an NBC channel on Sunday, July 1, at 2:30 p.m. The national networks have taken notice of the action in Newport, marking the first time sailing has hit the small screen in many years. But you don’t have to wait until Sunday to watch the action; click here to access the America’s Cup YouTube channel.
6. Downtown Newport. It may sound silly, but you can actually get a glimpse of the racing right from downtown Newport. The AC45 catamarans are so tall, their wingsails actually stick up over Fort Adams, so you can see the tips of them zipping by the fort. You won’t be able to tell who is winning the beat to the first mark, but there’s something delicious about watching the Cup while you sip a cocktail at the Clarke Cooke House. And if you can’t resist getting closer to the action, the Old Port Marine harbor shuttle will take you out to Fort Adams for just ten bucks.