2017-02-02 / Around Town

V Rings Heading to Sail Newport

By James Merolla

On Friday, Jan. 20, Bill Belichick was running his AFC East Champion New England Patriots through their final practices in Gillette Stadium as they prepared to face their dreaded arch-rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in the AFC Championship game on Jan. 22.

Belichick called a series of passes, several runs, various defenses and specific special team drills. Somehow, he also found time to call Sail Newport and made them an offer they couldn’t refuse: the donation of a powerboat.

This week, Sail Newport made the phone call – and the gift – public. The non-profit community Sailing Center, located in Newport, will use Belichick’s 24-foot Grady White for its youth and adult sailing programs, regattas and sailing events on Narragansett Bay. The boat, appropriately, is named V Rings, although social media posts have reported the number being updating with each successive Super Bowl win.

Appropriately, the donated vessel – according to Executive Director Brad Read – will be used defensively. “The boat will be used as a support and safety vessel for all of our instructional programs and regattas,” he announced, including the May 2018 North American Stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race.

“We are thrilled and grateful to Coach Belichick for donating his boat for use in our public sailing programs,” Read told Newport This Week.

The donation has been in the works for “a while,” he continued. “We have mutual friends and they told us that the coach wanted to donate a boat to charity. We are very glad to be able to add this vessel to our fleet.”

Belichick, who is intensely private, revealed in a series of NFL Films documentaries that he relaxes and fishes on his boats in waters off Florida and Nantucket in spring and summer to combat the stresses of the vicious 11-month grind that is a season of preparation in the league.

Read, interviewed on his cell phone while in flight Monday evening, said that sailing colleague Billy Burke will soon be heading down to West Palm Beach, Florida, to work out the details. The donation was facilitated by nearby Albury Brothers Boats in Riviera Beach, and will be delivered mid-February to Sail Newport.

Now in its 34th year, Sail Newport, Rhode Island’s Public Sailing Center, is a nonprofit community organization with a mission to foster– and make accessible to all–the sport of sailing, and to attract and manage local and global sailing events, from regattas to worldclass championships. Sail Newport works with sailors of all ages and skills, and sailboat renters at its facility in Fort Adams State Park in Newport Harbor. The organization also offers their nationally-recognized Youth Sailing Program for young sailors, starting at age five.

Currently, Sail Newport is in the midst of the Campaign for Blue Space to raise funds for a new marine education and recreational facility and expand its educational programs. The new center is anticipated to open in July of this year in Fort Adams State Park.

For more information, visit sailnewport.org.

Return to top