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Displaying items by tag: Londonderry

Derry-Londonderry, one of the ten international teams competing in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race, has won the fight for fifth place in Race 3 of the 15-race series in a contest that went right down to the wire. As they closed in on the finish line in Cape Town, Derry-Londonderry and Qingdao were matching each other mile for mile with Welcome to Yorkshire and New York hot on their heels. At the line there was just five minutes and eleven seconds between the two teams after 3,300 miles of racing.

The 68-foot ocean racing yacht representing the UK City of Culture 2013 crossed the finish line in Table Bay against the magnificent backdrop of Table Mountain at 0505 local time on Thursday morning (0305 UTC) while Qingdao crossed at 0510 (0310 UTC). Race 3 was won by Gold Coast Australia, who completed a hat trick of victories so far in Clipper 11-12, with Visit Finland in second place and De Lage Landen in third.

Arriving in the V&A Waterfront, Derry-Londonderry skipper, Mark Light, said, "It was touch and go – a great finish. Qingdao crossed in front of us and then they had to gybe but we didn't have to. They crossed probably 200 metres in front of us and we were waiting and waiting for the gybe which didn't come and all of a sudden we cut inside of them and managed to take them in the last 0.8 of a mile. It was amazing.

"We were disappointed initially not to get fourth but that quickly disappeared because we were massively happy to get fifth place."

Qingdao's skipper, Ian Conchie, said, "It's been a duel all the way in up until the last six hours when we got ahead of them. In very light airs we found yet another wind hole as we approached Cape Town and then on the final gybe, less than a mile from the finish, the wind shifted on us which meant we could no longer hold the kite and they just sneaked in front of us. We were 50 metres off the beach – it was exhilarating stuff after 3,300 miles."

During the race the crews, who come from all walks of life and between them represent more than 40 nationalities, faced mountainous seas and strong headwinds.

Shauna O'Neill is one of the five Derry City Clipper Bursary winners. The bursary is a project designed to help unemployed people in the city learn the skills to get them back into work. The five will also carry out ambassadorial roles to help promote Derry-Londonderry as the City of Culture, each focussing on an area including, digital, young people and enterprise.

Arriving in Cape Town, where her mother was waiting to greet her on the dock, Shauna said, "The tough weather was exciting. I wasn't really in control of anything so I felt quite safe but I'd say it was hard for the watch leaders. There were some big waves and it was scary enough but we got through it.

"I absolutely loved it, every moment of it. I worried before I went away that I was going to hate it but it's just been amazing, I loved every bit. There have been so many best bits – navigating with the stars at night, helming with the sunrise, everybody on board, how friendly everyone was... all of it!

"It was nothing like what I expected. When I first heard about it I was imagining sailing around in luxury. It was really tough but the training was the hardest and the actual leg was so much fun."

During the stopover in Cape Town the crews will visit many of the attractions the city has to offer including taking the cable car to the top of Table Mountain, the beautiful botanic gardens at Kirstenbosch, and Cape Point which the teams will see from the ocean as they round the Cape of Good Hope in the next race to Geraldton in Western Australia.

Alongside the stopover a busy international trade programme is scheduled with delegations from Derry-Londonderry and many of the other team sponsors, partners and official suppliers to the Clipper Race visiting Cape Town to forge partnerships with local businesses, generating international trade opportunities and developing cultural links.

Race 4 to the City of Geraldton, Western Australia, will start on Wednesday 5 October.

The Clipper 11-12 Race started from Southampton on the south coast of England on 31 July. It runs every two years and is the only event in the world where people from all walks of life can take on the challenge of a lifetime and race around the globe on stripped down ocean racing yachts. Berths are now available for Clipper 13-14, which will see the introduction of a brand new fleet of twelve 70-foot yachts.

Published in Clipper Race
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With the lead pack sent to enter the final 1,000 miles of Race 2 of the Clipper 11-12 Round the Word Yacht Race, Assistant Race Director, Justin Taylor predicts a three horse battle for the podium positions into Rio de Janeiro. Unfortunately not experiencing the same conditions and boat speeds is
Derry-Londonderry, who currently find themselves tenth in the fleet and the most westerly of the back markers.

"The fleet is well and truly split; it will be hard for the chasing back to reel in the three leaders particularly with the forecasted winds. The three leaders will continue to have favourable breeze for at least the next 72 hours when it will ease off before returning the next day. So it's fast, slow fast for them," explains Justin, who previously skippered two Clipper Race entries around the world.

"Although the wind is a more consistent direction and strength for the following pack, they will for have a tough time beating mostly to windward in order to round the shoulder of Brazil before laying the finish at Rio."

Currently in third and pushing for good speeds in the Ocean Sprint is Welcome to Yorkshire.

"If one was to describe this mode of transport in one word it would be WET!" reveals skipper, Rupert Dean.

"Since my last blog, when we were becalmed off Fernando de Noronha, the south east trades have kicked in big style. We are now flying along,
seriously powered up at 10-plus knots on a close reach, as we bid to be the fastest boat between 5 and 10 degrees south.

"As we charge along, Welcome to Yorkshire is shouldering big seas as she ploughs through waves on her relentless charge south. Well, not perfectly south as that would be hard on the wind and slow, but close reaching to obtain maximum VMG," continues the Yorkshire entry's skipper, referring to the boat's speed in relation to the direction they need to travel.

Focused on securing victory in the Ocean Sprint, Rupert has opted for a tactical change on the helm.

"Helming a Clipper 68 in these conditions is pretty physical and requires a high degree of concentration. Consequently we've elected to use our best helms for this form of sailing, bearing in mind that this is a time trial, a point is at stake and at this speed we should have completed the trial within one and a half days."

Unfortunately not experiencing the same conditions and boat speeds is Derry-Londonderry, who currently find themselves tenth in the fleet and the most westerly of the back markers.

"Probably the most frustrating day we have had so far," explains skipper, Mark Light.

"The wind has been light and after threatening to back early on has promptly returned to the south south west and massively hindered our progress south! Due to the light winds and adverse current running north west up the coast of Brazil we have had to head out on another losing tack to clear before we can turn south once more.

"Our tacking angles at the moment are approx. 150 degrees and this is not making Rio! This feels very cruel and we can only watch as other
teams sail faster and more directly to our destination and we slip further down the rankings!"

Even as their progress to Rio de Janeiro hits a setback, the Derry-Londonderry crew continues to be positive as Mark comments, "We will get good winds the further south we get. We have a fast boat and we are at our best hunting down others. We have a fantastic team spirit!"

Meanwhile it was celebrations on board Edinburgh Inspiring Capital yesterday, who are just one position in front of the Northern Ireland entry, as they crossed the Equator.

"Greetings from the Southern Hemisphere, today we are over 3,600 nautical miles from the capital city of Scotland and the home of Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, the fair city of Edinburgh. Last night at 0000BST, Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and her fine crew of ocean racers crossed the Equator," reports skipper, Gordon Reid.

"We celebrated with a wee dram of Kinloch Anderson 12-year-old Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky, however we had to come off the wind a
little and reduce speed from 14 knots to 11.9 knots, so as not to spill the dram, due penance was paid to King Neptune and Davy Jones as they
too received a wee dram and some M&Ms.

"As we crossed into the Southern Hemisphere we also moved up the leader board and will continue to do so today. Inspired by their visit from
King Neptune and a little afraid of Davy Jones the race team on Edinburgh Inspiring Capital want to catch the lead pack and are as usual
focused, committed and smiling as we drive very very very fast towards Rio."

The Scottish boat was joined in the Southern Hemisphere by five other Clipper Race teams, including De Lage Landen, skippered by Mat Booth.
"ZERO! At 2231GMT, De Lage Landen crossed 'the line' and another major milestone of our first leg of the Clipper 11-12 Race achieved - transit from Northern to Southern Hemispheres," says Mat.

"Before our crossing a letter from King Neptune himself was discovered in the snake pit. Sometime this afternoon one of his assistants must
have been aboard to deliver this communication. During dinner this letter was read out loud for everyone to hear. All crew have been
invited to attend Neptune's Court at 1700 sharp dressed 'suitably' for what is in store!

"So tonight promises to be a fun evening! More about that tomorrow, on top of all the Equator crossing excitement one of our crew, Jose enjoyed a fantastic birthday cake produced by both watches. Cut in the shape of a yacht and complete with candles, it's safe to say Jose had a fantastic birthday," continues the Dutch entry's skipper.

"We finally managed to take that place from Derry-Londonderry. Having been duelling with them for weeks it's great news to see we've pasted
them at last. As we gain we also lose out to Geraldton Western Australia, we'll fight for that place over the next few days, we're also chasing the dragon down with Qingdao in our sights."

King Neptune was busy making appearances across the fleet as Geraldton Western Australia was next to cross into the Southern Hemisphere.

"Yesterday was a day of celebration and thanks, as at about 1215pm we crossed from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern," explains skipper,
Juan Coetzer.

"The occasion was celebrated with a Mad Hatters party which included our navigator Ian in a dress and bowman Peter in a skirt made of rope. King
Neptune visited via his alter ego David 'Hawkeye' Hawkins.

"Crossing the Equator was a short distraction, as the crew have been driving hard keeping the boat speed up and overnight moved up a place on
the leader board. Showers were the topic of the afternoon both below and above decks. While the off watch were allowed a wash, the on watch had
to deal with a few squalls. The wind then increased, so we changed down from Yankee 1 to Yankee 2 with full main before sunset which has given
us some consistent speeds through the night.

"Today we also celebrate our first birthday: Ian Geraghty."

After yesterday's report of light winds Chinese entry, Qingdao, has found the wind which they hope will keep De Lage Landen and Geraldton Western Australia behind them and propel them up the leader board.

"The wind eventually began to co-operate as darkness began to fall last night, so we were able to make the north east headland of Brazil
without tacking which brought the crew much relief. As the wind continued to back we were able to free off slightly and began to get boat speeds of around 9 knots," reveals Qingdao crew member, Tom Way.

"We finally crossed the Equator at 0125UTC and Neptune joined us for the occasion and the normal ceremony was carried out with the crew being
punished for sins that they had committed. King Neptune left us some parting gifts to let everyone savour the moment.

"Everyone on board is still in high spirits despite being in sixth place and if anything it has given them greater determination to stay ahead of
the chasing boats and do all they can to catch the boats in front," signs off Tom.

"Today Visit Finland is charging south at a speed we are quite content with," reports Tomi Lintonen, the team's navigator.

"Our closest adversaries are doing roughly similar speeds on more favourable courses and we are looking forward to seeing the courses converge later on. I have been developing simple performance measurement indicators along the way and now, in addition to analysing our performance against other boats, we are using them to make comparisons between watches as well," continues the Tampere-based researcher.

"In fact, watch leader Carl-Axel Palmer proposed a wager between the watches where the watch recording the best run towards the finish would
be offered a three course meal by the 'slower' watch in Rio de Janeiro. Visit Finland crossed the Equator at exactly 1200 noon UTC carefully
following seafarers' time tested traditions. Fridge cool champagne (well, sparkling wine, to be honest) was first offered to King Neptune and the remainder to the crew in small quantities while other sacrifices of valued food stuff were also made. The offerings have worked like magic: our six-hour runs have been on the increase since!"

Current leaders Gold Coast Australia, who will today complete the Ocean Sprint, have once again encountered challenging conditions.

"The Ocean Sprint seems more like a triathlon at the moment as the wind continues to vary angles of 60 degrees and from 12 to 37 knots in strength," reveals skipper, Richard Hewson.

The Ocean Sprint is a simple matter of speed; each team gets the chance to record a time between 5 degrees south and 10 degrees south. The team
with the shortest time elapsed between the two points will gain a potentially crucial extra point. Something skipper Richard Hewson is keen to secure after Singapore's Scoring Gate victory.

"With Singapore looming in the background and apparently making ground on us towards the finish, we are working hard to maintain and if possible open our lead. We are still hell bent on getting the extra point for the Ocean Sprint as this is the only way we will beat Singapore on points in this race since they were first through the Scoring Gate.

"The conditions have been going from starry night Champagne sailing to full on sheets of rain pelting the crew's faces like burning needles. We have had hours at a time of beautiful conditions with nice wind, then suddenly out of the darkness a massive group of squalls will hit us and the crew will have to work very hard to keep the boat upright and moving. For the occasional big gust like the one we had at about 0200 this morning, this has meant we have just had to turn the boat and run with it as there has not been enough time to reduce sail," continues Richard.

"However, due to the conditions we have had so far it is becoming less and less likely that we will get the point unless conditions are favourable in the remaining 60nm of the sprint."

Taking a more inshore approach to the final sprint to Rio de Janeiro compared to Gold Coast Australia is Singapore, currently in second place.

"It's been a fairly busy 24 hours that has seen us do a fair few headsail changes, reefs in and reefs out. After I finished my report yesterday we had a large squall pass overhead which required us to drop the Yankee 1 rather rapidly and before long it became apparent that we needed a couple of reefs to keep the boat under control in 35 knots of true wind," says Ben Bowley, skipper of the Singaporean entry.

"The drop was a great success, even though blinded by a combination of stinging spray and choking rain the guys and girls on the bow did a sterling job as per usual. Once we had the Yankee 1 down and a couple of reefs snugged in the boat became far less like a wounded bull at the helm and soon she was begging for a little more canvas. We quickly hoisted the Yankee 3 and she thanked us by delivering around 9.5/10 knots all day long with the sheets just cracked a little for speed."

With Gold Coast Australia, Singapore and Welcome to Yorkshire set to complete their Ocean Sprint today, American entry New York will look to
secure the extra point when they cross the first point.

Positions at 0900 UTC, Friday 26 August

Boat DTF* DTL**
1 Gold Coast Australia 1016nm 0nm
2 Singapore 1093nm 77nm
3 Welcome to Yorkshire 1118nm 102nm
4 New York 1338nm 322nm
5 Visit Finland 1419nm 403nm
6 Qingdao 1500nm 484nm
7 Geraldton Western Australia 1514nm 498nm
8 De Lage Landen 1516nm 500nm
9 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital 1576nm 560nm
10 Derry-Londonderry 1681nm 665nm

*DTF = Distance to Finish, **DTL = Distance to Leader

Published in Clipper Race
Irish entry 'Derry Londonderry' is among a fleet of yachts that set out from the Solent this afternoon on a unique yacht race around the world. The Royal Navy's helicopter carrier, HMS Illustrious, and a fleet of hundreds of spectator boats gave a spectacular send off to the amateur crews on board the ten yachts competing in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race.

The event, 'raced by people like you', is the world's longest ocean race at 40,000 miles and set off from Southampton this afternoon.  It is the first time since 2004 that a round the world yacht race has started from the iconic sailing grounds of the Solent and the large community of sailing and boating enthusiasts turned out in force to witness the spectacle under blue skies and eight to ten knots of breeze.


Derry-Londonderry crew onboard before starting the race at Ocean Village, Southampton ahead of the start of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht
Race, which set off today, Sunday 31st July 2011.

The south south easterly direction of the wind prompted Race Director, Joff Bailey, to opt for the course that took the yachts from west to east across the start line when the cannon fired at the Royal Yacht Squadron. First to charge across, and clearly intent on keeping the Clipper Trophy Down Under, was race debutant, Gold Coast Australia, closely followed by compatriots Geraldton Western Australia. Keppel Corporation-sponsored Singapore also made a strong start to in third place across the start line, with New York, De Lage Landen and the bright pink Welcome to Yorkshire in hot pursuit. Visit Finland was next with the dragon of Qingdao breathing down their neck. Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and Derry-Londonderry completed the order on the start line as the fleet chased across the Solent towards the first mark at Stokes Bay in Gosport, where the race is headquartered and where hundreds more spectators were watching from the beach.

By the first mark Gold Coast Australia had extended their lead to a quarter of a mile while Singapore had moved up to second, with Geraldton Western Australia nipping at their heels. Visit Finland had gained two places to round it fourth. Positions will be updated every three hours.


Derry-Londonderry set sail for Madeira on the first leg of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race

Tens of thousands of people turned out in Ocean Village Marina to wave the teams farewell before the ten-strong fleet headed out into Southampton Water where crowds of spectators lined the banks to watch as they were joined by HMS Illustrious for a breath taking formation parade ahead of the race start from the historic Royal Yacht Squadron start line at Cowes. Thousands more well-wishers were waiting on shore on the Isle of Wight while pictures were beamed back to a packed race village.

On stage in the race village the Leader of Southampton City Council, Cllr Royston Smith, said, "I'm really proud to be here today to wish the crews good luck. This is a fantastic success. We know this sort of event brings great benefits to the city... If you looked at the restaurants and bars last night they were crammed with people enjoying themselves and all the hotel rooms were full up; that's got to be good for the city of Southampton.

"On behalf of the citizens of Southampton I would like to wish the crews good luck. I am envious that you are doing this challenge – I admire you for doing this challenge and I wish you Godspeed and all the luck in the world. I hope we have more Clipper Round the World Yacht Races leaving from Southampton in the future."

The Clipper Race is the only race in the world where the crews come from all walks of life, all ages and with all levels of experience. Prior to their training, some 40 per cent of the crews had never stepped aboard a sailing yacht before. Race start day was an emotional experience for the crew and their families and friends who had come to support them on their challenge of a lifetime.

David Hall is a teacher in everyday life but for the next 12 months he will be racing around the world on Qingdao, the yacht representing the sailing capital of China and Southampton's twin city. The 37-year-old said, "This is the right time of my life to be able to finally fulfil this dream of mine. It will be hard being 12 months without my family but my wife is very supportive and will be coming to meet me in Australia and following me to each of the stops. She is almost as excited as me which means I am very lucky."

Ahead of David and the rest of the 500 crew who have signed up to the challenge of a lifetime lies a 12-month-long, 40,000-mile course that will take the race to Madeira before crossing to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and then on to Cape Town, Western Australia, New Zealand, the Gold Coast in Australia, Singapore, Qingdao in China, California, Panama, New York, Nova Scotia, Derry-Londonderry and Den Helder in the Netherlands. The race will make its triumphant return to the Solent on 22 July 2012.

The Clipper Race is the brainchild of legendary yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the world. He wanted to open the sport of long distance sailing to all and allow others to experience the challenges of ocean racing.

"I just want to say a big thank you to Southampton because coming up with the idea of starting the race from here, bringing back ocean racing to the city, bringing events into the city, creating a buzz, and you've just got to take a look around to realise what a fabulous buzz... this supports the Southampton economy but it puts Southampton on the map again, makes people realise what a great city this is. I want to thank you for coming down to give our crews a fabulous send off – something they'll remember for the rest of their lives. These crews are not professional sailors – these are people from all walks of life going out and doing something extraordinary with their lives."

Almost 500 crews have signed up for Clipper 11-12. Some will complete a full circumnavigation while others will race one or a combination of the eight legs available. Such is the demand for the experience offered by the race, berths for Clipper 13-14 and beyond are already being snapped up.

Each Clipper yacht is entered by a city, region, country or company and sponsors use the event to showcase themselves to the world. On the last running of the Clipper Race, more than half a billion people worldwide followed the adventure through television, print media, radio and online.

Published in Clipper Race
This weekend's 'Foyle Days' in the north-west city is set to welcome two offshore patrol vessels (OPV) the Naval Service LE Emer (P21) and the Royal Navy's HMS Severn (P 283), writes Jehan Ashmore.
The maritime event includes a variety of sailing organisations and accompanying craft to include the 96ft tall-ship schooner Johanna Lucretia. In addition the festival's star visitor attraction will be the inaugural call of the 68ft yacht Derry-Londonderry which is to take part in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race.

On the naval front, LE Emer was built in Cork's Verolme Dockyard in 1978. She represents the oldest of the eight-strong fleet and is designed from the Naval Service's first purpose built patrol vessel OPV LE Deirdre (P20) but was modified to improve her stability and speed. This vessel was decommissioned several years ago and was converted into a private yacht.

The original BOFORS 40mm L60 gun of the LE Emer was recently upgraded to a BOFORS 40mm L70 to improve range and accuracy of her main armament. She alongside her 65m sisters LE Aoife (P22) and LE Aisling (P23) where all built primarily to patrol the Irish section of the European Economic Zone (EEZ).

During their careers the 'Emer' class vessels have also completed numerous re-supply missions to Irish troops serving overseas with the United Nations and in particular in the Lebanon. A crew compliment of 46 (5 officers) operate the vessels which are all now in their fourth decade of service.

OPV HMS Severn is the third of four 'River' class offshore patrol vessels and like her Irish counterpart is deployed on fishery duties. The 1,677 displacement tonnes vessel was built in 2001 in the UK'S south coast port of Southampton at Woolston Docks. Her home port for the 30 crew is at HM Naval Base in neighbouring Portsmouth.

She becomes the fifth ship to bear the name and with sisters HMS Mersey (P 282) and HMS Tyne (P 281) they are assigned to the Fishery Protection Squadron. Click the ship's diary to follow the ship news. The final member of the River class HMS Clyde (P 257) serves as a Falklands Islands Patrol Vessel (FIPV).

Published in Navy
Next weekend's Foyle Days (21 and 22) is set to welcome the return of the Johanna Lucretia, a two masted wooden schooner built in 1945, along with other vessels which are to visit the north-west city, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The annual maritime festival will bring the sailing boats upriver on the River Foyle and berth at the Queen's Quay. The public are invited to come on board free of charge and explore the vessels. The largest being the 96ft Johanna Lucretia, which was built originally as a fishing boat but never used for that purpose.

Over the years she has changed hands between Dutch and UK interests for recreational use. Several years ago she starred in the RTE TV reality show 'Cabin Fever' where she replaced the show's first ship Camaret of Cornwall (branded as 'Cabin Fever') after it ran aground off Tory Island.

During the two-day festival (11am-5pm) the boating community at the event will include the Coleraine Yacht Club, Foyle Paddlers, Foyle Punts, Lough Foyle Yacht Club, Lough Swilly Yacht Club, Moville Boat Club, RNLI and the Foyle (SAR) Search and Rescue.

Visitors to Foyle Days can call to the Clipper stand and learn more about the city's entry of the Derry~Londonderry boat in the 2011-2012 Clipper Round the World Race. Learn more about the countries the crew will visit and also how to get involved in the event. For more information about the race, at 40,000 miles is the world's longest race go to

Running alongside the festival a continental market with 40 stalls will be open to all at the recently revamped Guildhall Square. For further details about Foyle Days click here.

Published in Maritime Festivals
The sailing crew representing the inaugural Northern Ireland entry in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race, Derry-Londonderry, have been announced at an event in the historic maritime city of Southampton.

More than 360 adventurers travelled from all over the globe to attend the crew allocation event on Saturday 30 April to discover which of the ten teams competing in Clipper 11-12 they will represent. Three-quarters of the 489 men and women who will be taking part in this gruelling challenge of a lifetime came together to meet their skippers and new team mates, travelling from as far afield as Singapore, Queensland in Australia, Finland, New York and Chile, as well as Derry-Londonderry. Among them were those who will represent the UK City of Culture 2013.

Each of the teams is led by a professional skipper and taking charge of Derry-Londonderry is Mark Light, who took his turn at the podium to read out the names of his 52-strong crew. The race is split into eight legs and crew can sign up to compete in one or more of the individual legs or take on the big one – a full circumnavigation of the globe. Around 40 per cent of the crew who take part in the race have never sailed before embarking on their pre-race training.

Amongst Derry-Londonderry's crew are 12 people from the city, including round the world crew member, John Harkin, and his daughter, Jodie, who will race on the final leg from New York, via her home town to the finish line on the south coast of England.

John says, "I'm really delighted and my daughter's on the same boat as well so it's excellent news. It's going to be a dream come true for me. She's sailed with me all her life – she's sailed against me many times, too, so it'll be nice for her to be sailing with me!

"When I come back into Derry having sailed around the world, that'll be the biggest thing in my lifetime, it's tremendous. The boat is visiting Derry-Londonderry for a naming ceremony in a few weeks' time and I think that will be a big buzz. It's a beautiful city and it'll be a very warm welcome there."

Also in the crew are four from just across the border in Donegal and five others from the Republic of Ireland, as well as people from nine other nationalities, demonstrating the international and multi-cultural nature of the race.

The crew allocation event is much anticipated among those who have signed up to take part. This is where the reality of their participation in the race truly begins to kick in; with a skipper in place, team strategies start to take shape, roles are assigned to the crew and, with 92 days to go until the race start, the countdown is on.

The race is contested by ten identical stripped-down 68-foot racing yachts, each sponsored by a city, region or country. Already confirmed for Clipper 11-12 are the Keppel Corporation-sponsored Singapore and, representing China's Olympic sailing city, Qingdao, both of which will take part for the fourth time. Returning for a second time is Visit Finland, backed by the Finnish Tourist Board, and, making their debut alongside Derry-Londonderry, is De Lage Landen, sponsored by the global provider of asset-based financing programmes of the same name and which will race under the Dutch flag. The names of the five remaining yachts will be revealed in the coming weeks ahead of the start of the race on 31 July 2011.

The Clipper Race was founded by sailing legend, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the world, and this will be the eighth time his teams of amateur sailors will circumnavigate the planet, taking the number of people who have taken part in the event to almost 3,000.

Addressing the massed crews Sir Robin said, "It's a big day for you today because you're going to find out who you're going to share your life with for the next year. And it's not just sharing your life, it's sharing an adventure. Your lives are going to be dependent on your fellow crew members. Today you'll know what team you're going to be in and these are the people you have to live with and work with for the next year. These are the people you have to trust. It's the team that will be all important in this race.

"Also know that you've only got one life so why not paint it in bright colours? Don't use pastel shades. Make the most of it – get out there, throw yourselves into it! You will come away from this with friends for life."

Derry-Londonderry and her skipper and crew will be visiting the city as part of the Foyle Days festival from 20-22 May 2011.

Published in Clipper Race

Next year's Irish entry in the Clipper Round the World Race may be named twice according to Lorna Siggins in the Irish Times.  The local yacht could bear the name Derry on one side of its bow and Londonderry on the other, as it circumnavigates the globe – to appease all political interests on the river Foyle. More from the Irish Times HERE.

Published in Clipper Race
Page 2 of 2

Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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