Challenger Lecture Series

Presented by:

In 2019, Sail Newport debuted “The Challenger Lecture Series  Inspired by Dr. Charles Shoemaker.” Dr. Shoe is a sailor’s sailor and we’re honoring his impressive 50 years of competitive and recreational sailing. Along the past 38 years, Dr. Shoe has been a consistent champion of our community sailing center, regattas, events and programs for all ages.

The annual fall, winter and early spring series features topics of interest to sailors including: cruising adventures by local sailors in all parts of the world, weather, racing strategy, the America’s Cup, The Ocean Race, Olympic sailing, sailboat, sails and storied sailors.

Photo credits: (Left) Image of Dr. Shoemaker by Bill Shea. (Right) Dr. Shoemaker’s mighty Ensign “Challenger” on Narragansett Bay.

Lecture Series Recordings

Using Green Energy and Sailing to
Restore Ocean Health

April 20, 2021

Sail Newport’s Challenger Lecture Series presents “Using Green Energy and Sailing to Restore Ocean Health,” with U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and 11th Hour Racing guests Tom Burnham and Hilary Kotoun. Brad Read and Danni Washington co-moderate an inspiring presentation of developments on the federal level with renewable energy initiatives and what’s happening in the sailing world to protect our ocean.

Women in Sailing


March 25, 2021

Sail Newport’s Challenger Lecture Series: Women in Sailing online event presented March 24, 2021. Joan Porter, Linda Lindquist-Bishop, Kim Hapgood, Dr. Deb Harris and Lynn Lynch talk about their experiences sailing and encourage women and girls to participate in the sport of sailing.

AC Final Match Preview with Ken Read and Shirley Robertson

March 3, 2021

On the “eve” of the 36th America’s Cup Match in New Zealand, Sailors and TV commentators Ken Read of North Sails and Shirley Robertson join Brad Read for a live event from New Zealand. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and Emirates Team New Zealand are about to begin their duel and Ken and Shirley share insights, observations and analytics of this longest-running event in sports history.

Increasing Diversity in Sailing


February 25, 2021

Sail Newport’s online event to discuss Increasing Diversity in the sport of sailing. Guest panelists include Ayme Sinclair, Mark Clarke, Sarah Douglas, Heather Hole Strout and the Honorable Marvin Abney. Moderated by Brad Read.

America’s Cup Update with Ken Read and Shirley Robertson

January 27, 2021

The pressure is intense, the drama is daily and it all comes down to a few hours of racing this weekend. Content includes a behind-the-scenes look at the TV coverage and how Shirley Robertson follows the boats on the water and Ken Read reacts and comments from the studio. Recorded just before the start of the Semi-Finals where American Magic must win to progress further as a Challenger.

America’s Cup and Vendée Globe with Ken Read & Rich Wilson

December 22, 2020

Top sailors give their insight on the America’s Cup World Series and the Vendée Globe. Ken Read, of North Sails and a commentator for NBC Sports, Rich Wilson, two-time Vendée Globe Finisher, and Brad Read, executive director of Sail Newport discuss what’s happening at the top of the sport of sailing.

Severe Weather in Newport with Meteorologist Mark Thornton

November 20, 2020

“Bursting the Newport Bubble” – Sail Newport presents a Challenger Lecture Series on a severe downburst in Newport, RI during an evening sailboat race.