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First Podium Finish for 'LegenDerry' Irish Crew

19th January 2012
First Podium Finish for 'LegenDerry' Irish Crew

#CLIPPER – An ecstatic Derry-Londonderry crew has secured their first podium position of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race. The team, nicknamed the 'LegenDerrys' finished in second place while Gold Coast Australia has claimed victory in Race 7 after the Race Committee made the decision to shorten the course in the stage from the Gold Coast to Singapore.

Extremely light winds which would have prevented the race management team from setting a fair course for the second stage of Race 7, combined with an increased threat of piracy in the Singapore Straits in the light conditions over the Chinese New Year, led to the tough decision. The positions of the yachts at the Celebes Sea Gate, which marked the end of the first phase of the race from Australia, will be taken as the final standings for Race 7.

Race Director, Joff Bailey, told the teams at 0700 UTC today, "Race 7 to Celebes Sea Gate from the Gold Coast was certainly long enough at 3,200nm to qualify as a serious race. It was run fairly, you all had chances to make gains and losses and see your tactics play out and I believe it was one of the most interesting races we have run."

During the race the lead changed hands a number of times as the ten internationally-backed yachts fought for supremacy with Derry-Londonderry, Geraldton Western Australia, and Qingdao all taking their turn to lead the fleet. Gold Coast Australia's tactic of heading much further north than the other nine teams before hooking in to a favourable current allowed them to swoop into the lead in the final miles before the Celebes Sea Gate, which has now become the Race 7 finish line.

They beat Derry-Londonderry into second place by just an hour and 19 minutes, and Geraldton Western Australia claimed third place three hours and 15 minutes behind the Northern Ireland entry. Both teams have recorded their best results of the campaign.

Reacting to news of his team's sixth victory of the Clipper 11-12 Race, Tasmanian yachtsman, Richard Hewson said, "Although the race from Gold Coast to Singapore was cut 'short' I believe it was one of the most mentally challenging and frustrating races to date where any number of tactical decisions could have won the race for any of the ten yachts in the fleet. Crewmembers on Gold Coast Australia are ecstatic about their victory and we will celebrate in style on arrival in Singapore.

"I would like to thank the other yachts in the race, particularly Derry-Londonderry and Geraldton Western Australia who sailed extremely well and made the race very close and exciting."

Mark Light, skipper of the entry representing the UK City of Culture 2013, said, "What a fantastic result for us! I am so proud of each and every one of my crew. We have worked so hard as a team and although a long time coming, we always believed we had a podium finish within us. This gives us huge belief for the next race that we can push on and remain one of the front runners. For me personally it is a brilliant result: a very close second place only 80 minutes behind the overall leader.

"These races are incredibly hard to win and I would like to give massive credit to Gold Coast Australia for another huge result.

"I will be very proud to lead my team up on to the podium in Singapore to represent the good people of Derry-Londonderry and all who have supported us. Thank you very much."

The city's Mayor, Maurice Devenney, congratulating the team said, "We're very proud of the team and they deserve this achievement after their challenging sail. Their global sailing journey helps the city on its journey to tell the world about the many opportunities that exist for tourism, cultural and business connections as we get ready for becoming the inaugural UK City of Culture in 2013. We would like to send the teams our best wishes and we look forward to welcoming them all to the city as part of the race in July 2012".

It was a closely fought race, with both Qingdao and Singapore, who were aiming to be on the podium when the fleet arrives in Marina at Keppel Bay, both in contention for one of the top three places. They finished fourth and fifth respectively; Qingdao's result is a campaign-best result for the Chinese team.

Completing the finish order, De Lage Landen finished sixth, followed by New York, Visit Finland, Welcome to Yorkshire and Edinburgh Inspiring Capital.

The result means Derry-Londonderry moves up the overall table from eighth to seventh place while Gold Coast Australia's win consolidates their dominance of the competition and the team is now 20 points ahead of closest rivals, Visit Finland. Dutch entry De Lage Landen remains in third place overall.

The fleet will now proceed to Batam, Indonesia, where they will muster ahead of a spectacular ceremonial arrival in Marina at Keppel Bay, Singapore on Saturday 28 January.

Ms Wang Look Fung, Director, Group Corporate Affairs at Keppel Corporation, Singapore's Team Sponsor and Host Port Sponsor for the Singapore stopover, said, "Many Keppelites and Singaporeans are all eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Clipper Race fleet into Marina at Keppel Bay. The international event will certainly lend colour and vibrancy to Keppel Bay's appeal as a waterfront lifestyle hub with our luxurious homes, a marina playground, and a host of other waterfront amenities including Singapore's only RYA-accredited Keppel Bay Sailing Academy."

Published in Clipper Race
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About the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is undoubtedly one of the greatest ocean adventures on the planet, also regarded as one of its toughest endurance challenges. Taking almost a year to complete, it consists of eleven teams competing against each other on the world’s largest matched fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts.

The Clipper Race was established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop, around the world in 1968-69. His aim was to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing experience, the chance to embrace the thrill of ocean racing; it is the only event of its kind for amateur sailors. Around 40 per cent of crew are novices and have never sailed before starting a comprehensive training programme ahead of their adventure.

This unique challenge brings together everyone from chief executives to train drivers, nurses and firefighters, farmers, airline pilots and students, from age 18 upwards, to take on Mother Nature’s toughest and most remote conditions. There is no upper age limit, the oldest competitor to date is 76.

Now in its twelfth edition, the Clipper 2019-20 Race started from London, UK, on 02 September 2019.

 

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