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Full House In Derry-Londonderry As Liverpool 2018 Completes Clipper Race Arrivals

13th July 2018
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Full House In Derry-Londonderry As Liverpool 2018 Completes Clipper Race Arrivals Photo: Clipper Ventures

#ClipperRace - The full Clipper Race fleet has arrived in Derry-Londonderry, with the crews now ready to enjoy an action-packed fortnight and the award-winning Foyle Maritime Festival.

After what has been a thrilling race full of tactical, close racing, incredible whale and dolphin sightings, and a thrilling finish and win by the youngest Clipper Race skipper, Nikki Henderson of Visit Seattle, the final two boats arrived into the Foyle Port Marina.

The third and final day of arrivals started with GREAT Britain after the team crossed the finish line in 10th place at 4.06am yesterday morning (Thursday 12 July).

Having sailed some 3,000 nautical miles from New York across the North Atlantic, the round-the-world crew were very happy to arrive in Northern Ireland and be back in the UK the first time since leaving Liverpool in August last year.

One of them, Phillipa O’Sullivan from Hampshire, said: “As a round-the-worlder, it feels amazing. I didn’t think about what it would feel like to be back in the UK but it’s brilliant and what a lovely warm welcome from everybody here.

“I thought the North Atlantic would be physically harder than it was but psychologically it was tough as we just took the wrong route with the weather and hit a wind hole. But we are here - we made it and crossed the Atlantic for the second time.”

This was the first ocean crossing for crew member Julie Snowdon from North Yorkshire. “It has been my dream for so long and I just can’t believe I have done it,” she said. “The North Atlantic was fantastic, I absolutely love that ocean.

“Now that we have arrived, I am looking forward to catching up with all the other teams and reflecting on what we have done. I also can’t wait to have a look around the Foyle Maritime Festival too.”

All 11 Clipper Race teams were reunited for the first time since leaving New York when Liverpool 2018 made its way up the River Foyle, after crossing the finish line at 1.13pm. A spectacular welcome awaited the eleventh placed team, with friends, family, supporters and fellow Clipper Race crews cheering the bright pink boat into Derry-Londonderry.

On arrival, skipper Lance Shepherd said: “The crew are at the top of their game and very excited to be in Derry-Londonderry, bit of a divert but we managed to catch up 500 miles on the fleet and get three points in the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint. We saw the wind coming in — the further north we were, the stronger the winds would be, so we put ourselves up there to get a good result. We worked well as team so really well done to the crew.”

It wasn’t the standard Atlantic crossing for the Liverpool 2018 team, who had to divert to Newfoundland in Canada in the early stages of the race to carry out a successful medevac of an ill crew member.

But after leaving Canada, the team banded together and had great success in the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint, picking up the maximum three bonus points on offer

Watch leader and resident Caymanian, James Macfee, said: “I am very excited to be here. We managed to get here despite some very difficult waters and tumultuous conditions. We had some good weather for the sprint, the boat was fast and it was good fun.”

With just one race to go and the overall leaderboard tight, the crew will be using every moment in Derry-Londonderry to rest and prepare for the final sprint to Liverpool, which will begin on the final day of the Foyle Maritime Festival on Sunday 22 July.

“SirSir Robin Knox-Johnston, Ralph Morton from the Seattle Sports Commission, and the Visit Seattle team

Meanwhile, legendary sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has praised Derry-Londonderry as the Northern Irish city embraces the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race for a fourth consecutive visit.

Sir Robin, founder and chairman of the Clipper Race, sailed into the walled city on Wednesday (11 July) from Les Sables d'Olonne in France, where he was celebrating the 50th anniversary of when he began the epic voyage that would see him become the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the globe.

“It was lovely returning to Derry-Londonderry and heading up the Foyle, I’m just disappointed that I didn’t beat the entire Clipper Race fleet in!” Sir Robin said.

“I think the partnership we’ve had with the city is why the public give us such great support. This is a place where the city got behind the event and when you get that combination of an enthusiastic city and the spectacle of the boats and crew, you can do so much more. And I think the result has been a major event -- I give the city of Derry-Londonderry full credit for that success.”

Fresh from their win into Derry-Londonderry, the Visit Seattle team and skipper Nikki Henderson cheered Sir Robin into the Foyle Port Marina.

“Nikki’s performance was just fantastic, especially as I had Ralph Morton from the Seattle Sports Commission in my crew for the sail to Derry-Londonderry and he was following it avidly,” said the Clipper Race founder.

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