- Associated Press - Monday, May 18, 2015

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) - The number of visitors to the Newport stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race exceeded officials’ expectations.

Organizers of the 12-day celebration said Sunday it attracted about 125,000 people. They say the city had expected 60,000 to 80,000 visitors.

Sail Newport executive director Brad Read says the stopover had 20,000 visitors on Saturday, making it the event’s busiest day.

Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad says Newport drew nearly four times as many visitors as Miami did when it hosted the stopover in the 2011-2012 race.

Frostad says Newport has been offered an exclusive two-month negotiating period to secure the return of the race in 2018.

The six sailing teams in the global race left Newport on Sunday, heading for Lisbon, Portugal. The race ends in June in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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