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Sailing Home to a 'New' Derry-Londonderry

11th June 2014
Sailing Home to a 'New' Derry-Londonderry

#clipperrace – Sailing into Derry will be a very special moment for two Clipper Race crew on board the Swiss-sponsored entry, Switzerland as they return home for the first time in decades.

Richard Greer, 45, originally from Derry-Londonderry, now lives in France, and is looking forward to sailing up the River Foyle and experiencing the city's famous hospitality. The completion of the transatlantic voyage from New York into Northern Ireland will mark the first time he has returned home in over three decades.

"I haven't been in Derry-Londonderry since I was a kid back in the 80s!"confessed Richard.
"A lot has changed since then and being a small part of something positive for Derry-Londonderry is very rewarding. I'll feel very proud of my origins, proud to share them with my crew mates. To sail into a 'new' Derry-Londonderry will be very emotional!" he added.
Richard - who grew up in Knockloughrim, County Derry - left the city to study engineering in Salford before then backpacking around the world. He then took up a position within Occupational Safety with Kimberley Clark, producers of Huggies and Kleenex.

After 21 years with the same company and in search of a new adventure - and with zero sailing experience - Richard decided it was time to push himself out of his comfort zone and sign up to compete in Leg 4 and 8 of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race on board team Switzerland.

"I had literally no sailing experience whatsoever. It all stemmed from a dream I had about a poster I saw on the London Underground and the rest is history.

"I'm often asked what the biggest highlight so far has been, and I'd have to say competing in the famous Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (part of Leg 4) and winning our first race from Hobart to Brisbane. However, I'm not sure if anything could beat sailing into Derry-Londonderry as part of this huge adventure."
Keeping Richard company during the 2,850 mile Atlantic crossing is fellow crew member Samantha Tosh, 42, also originally from Limavady, County Derry. She currently lives in Brighton where she works as an engineer. She joined Switzerland in New York for Leg 8.
"I chose Leg 8 as it is the homecoming leg into Derry-Londonderry. Not many of my friends of family have had much exposure to sailing and it is something quite different and exciting for them to get involved in too.
"I think the biggest challenge for me will be the fact that it is the last leg and the round the world crew are already quite established and to see how the new crew fit in to that, it's all about teamwork.
"I'm really excited about returning to my home city and sailing up the River Foyle and am eager to see everyone there celebrating the race with me."
The Clipper Race fleet is expected to arrive in Derry-Londonderry from 21 June. The LegenDerry Maritime Festival - which features The Beach Boys and the Red Arrows - runs until the fleet's departure on 29 June.

Published in Clipper Race Team

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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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