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Derry–Londonderry Sets off Across Pacific Ocean

16th March 2014
Derry–Londonderry Sets off Across Pacific Ocean

#clipper – The Olympic Sailing Center in Qingdao, China provided the perfect backdrop today as the Northern Irish entry competing in the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race started Race 10 from Qingdao, China to San Francisco, USA .

Thousands of well-wishers lined the quayside eager get one last glimpse of the 12-strong international fleet during an epic departure ceremony which attracted a large media presence and was broadcast live on TV. The ceremony featured hundreds of performers in a carefully choreographed programme which featured VIP guests including local officials and the British Ambassador to China.

After a tense start Derry~Londonderry~Doire was the first boat to cross the start line of the 5,800 mile race which started at 1345 local time (0545 UTC) as Mission Performance and Qingdao were in hot pursuit.

"We are in pretty good shape; we all know this is a long leg but the crew are all looking forward to arriving in San Francisco, we would have broken the back of the race, we're on our way home." Added skipper of Derry~Londondery~Doire Sean McCarter before his team set off.

The first key milestone in Race 10 will be off the Southern tip of Japan when tactics start come in to play again as skippers are faced with the age-old dilemma; take the shortest route and risk light airs or head north for a colder but stronger ride east.

"This will be a tough leg in lots of ways. I think the length of this race is going to be a challenge. We should have a fairly easy start with light winds, so hopefully we will get into a rhythm then. Once we head off the south of Japan it's going to get a lot heavier and more difficult, which will be the first big hurdle."

"The teams are really looking forward to this race. Once you get on the move the better, all the nerves disappear as soon as you start sailing."Added Sean.

Sea Cadet Volunteer, Keith Bisson from Jersey joined the Northern Irish team in Qingdao after winning a national competition to compete in Leg 6 of the Clipper Race. However, when it came to deciding which boat he would sail on, there was only one option:

"As my wife is from Derry-Londonderry I knew immediately that I had to be on the Northern Irish entry, Derry~Londonderry~Doire. We have a huge family back there; so much so that we have already booked our holiday to coincide with the Derry-Londonderry stopover.

"This race is going to be a fantastic experience, it all feels very surreal at the moment but I can't wait to get started. I know this will be a test of endurance, but I'm well prepared and ready for the challenge. Just knowing that the Golden Gate Bridge will be waiting for us at the end, makes it all worthwhile."

The twelve-strong fleet is expected in San Francisco between 8-12 April where they will be berthed until the start of Race 11 to the Panama Canal on 19 April.

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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