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After a week enjoying all Cape Town has to offer, Derry-Londonderry and the other nine teams taking part in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race have set off on Race 4 of the 15-race series. At 40,000 miles, Clipper 11-12 is the world's longest ocean race and in this next stage the non-professional sailors will round the Cape of Good Hope and face the might of the Southern Ocean before arriving in the City of Geraldton, Western Australia, at the end of their 4,800-mile journey.

Race 4 started under cloudless blue skies and a brisk south easterly breeze of 15 to 20 knots, typical of a Cape Town early afternoon. It made for a lively start for the stripped down 68-foot yachts as they crossed the start line and tacked upwind to the first mark in Table Bay.

Gold Coast Australia was first to cross the line, marked at one end by the South African Navy mine hunter, SAN Umzimkulu. The yachts were packed tightly together and Derry-Londonderry was just behind the overall race leader with Geraldton Western Australia and Welcome to Yorkshire also crossing on a starboard tack. Singapore approached the line from the eastern end and turned across in fifth place while over at the western end, De Lage Landen, Qingdao and New York were followed by Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and Visit Finland.

As Gold Coast Australia rounded the Royal Cape Yacht Club's Paarden Island turning mark, just 100 metres off the shore, the team hoisted their medium weight spinnaker, while Singapore, who'd tacked their way up the course into second place and also looked set for a hoist, veered off the line and lost some ground to Geraldton Western Australia and Welcome to Yorkshire.

The teams have opted to head away from the shore to avoid the wind shadow created by Table Mountain which frames the Cape Town skyline will allow them to keep some good breeze as they head for the Cape of Good Hope this evening and the point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans collide. Half have opted to go north around the back of Robben Island while the other half have stayed to the south.

As he prepared to set sail, Derry-Londonderry's skipper, Mark Light, said, "The last race was a good one for us and now we've got to improve on it. That was our brief from the beginning – to improve every single leg. Fifth is a good position but we definitely want to get on the podium.

The crew are very excited about this one, as am I. We're looking forward to big downwind sailing: big waves, big wind and improving everyone's skills on downwind sailing."

Clipper 11-12 is 'raced by people like you' and those taking part represent more than 40 nationalities and come from all walks of life. Their ages range from 18 to 72 and almost half of them had no sailing experience before signing up to the challenge of a lifetime and beginning their rigorous pre-race training for the gruelling race.

The Clipper Race was established 15 years ago by sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail around the globe solo and non-stop in 1968-9. Clipper 11-12 is the eighth edition of the biennial race which is contested by a fleet of ten identical stripped down 68-foot ocean racing yachts, each of which is sponsored by a global destination or organisation.

Sir Robin's aim is not only to open up ocean racing to anyone but also to create a global platform for sponsors to profile their destinations and promote business, tourism and culture, acknowledging the traditional trade routes serviced over a century ago by the original clipper ships from which the race takes its name.

A number of sponsor delegations, including one from Derry-Londonderry, the UK City of Culture 2013, visited Cape Town during the stopover where the event has created a significant economic impact, the race organisers, crews and sponsors spending millions of Rand in the city, as well as introducing its destination and trade sponsors to Cape Town with longer term business building potential for local companies.

Derry~Londonderry's delegation has been making waves with Cape Town companies, identifying immediate business opportunities for South Africa in Northern Ireland in digital services and e-learning; there are also further plans for on-going links to continue through business exchange missions between the two cities.

The delegation was led by Cllr Gerard Diver from Derry City Council who hailed the visit a great success with the potential to open up business opportunities for Cape Town as growth was imminent in Northern Ireland and Derry~Londonderry.

Cllr Diver commented, "In 2013 Derry will become the inaugural UK City of Culture and our ambition is to make it easy to grow international connections with our region. We are positioned on the doorstep of the sterling and eurozone and believe there are immediate development opportunities in life science, e-learning, digital and creative industries. In addition we have a growing tourism and cultural sector which is why Derry~Londonderry is open and ready for business."

Sir Robin, who is chairman of the Clipper Race, said, "Our sponsors raise their profile on the world stage with tangible benefits in developing trade, promoting tourism, sharing cultural experiences and involving their respective communities. It creates a powerful legacy."

The fleet is expected to arrive in the City of Geraldton, Western Australia, between 29 and 31 October. It will be the second time the city has hosted the event following a hugely popular debut visit in Clipper 09-10.

Published in Clipper Race
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Irish entry Derry Londonderry under skipper Mark Light took part in a Parade of Sail in Cape Town, South Africa, beneath Table Mountain, at the
start of Race 4 to Geraldton, Western Australia, in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race yesterday.

The Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race started from Southampton on the south coast of the UK on 31 July 2011. The route will take the crews of the ten, identical 68-foot yachts via Madeira, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Geraldton Western Australia, New Zealand, Gold Coast Austraslia, Singapore,
Qingdao in China, California, Panama, New York, Nova Scotia, Derry in Northern Ireland and the Netherlands before returning in July 2012 to the south coast of England.

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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.

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Northern Ireland is recovering after Hurricane Katia left power cuts and travel distruption in its wake.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the remains of Hurrican Katia had been expected to strike hardest in the northern half of Ireland.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that Derry, Antrim and Tyrone were worst hit by winds that reached speeds of up to 120kph on Monday.
There was widespread disruption to rail and ferry services, while drivers reported hazardous conditions. The Foyle Bridge was closed to all high-sided vehiches for a time.
Some 700 homes across Northern Ireland suffered a blackout when powerlines were cut and by falling trees and windborne debris, though power was mostly restored by Tuesday evening.
Though downgraded to tropical storm status after crossing the Atlantic, Katia's high winds wreaked similar havoc south of the border, with power cuts to over 13,000 homes in six different counties - half of them in Donegal alone.
Wind gusts of an incredible 137kmh were recorded on Arranmore Island.
The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Northern Ireland is recovering after Hurricane Katia left power cuts and travel distruption in its wake.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the remains of Hurrican Katia had been expected to strike hardest in the northern half of Ireland.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that Derry, Antrim and Tyrone were worst hit by winds that reached speeds of up to 120kph on Monday.

There was widespread disruption to rail and ferry services, while drivers reported hazardous conditions. The Foyle Bridge was closed to all high-sided vehiches for a time.

Some 700 homes across Northern Ireland suffered a blackout when powerlines were cut and by falling trees and windborne debris, though power was mostly restored by Tuesday evening.

Though downgraded to tropical storm status after crossing the Atlantic, Katia's high winds wreaked similar havoc south of the border, with power cuts to over 13,000 homes in six different counties - half of them in Donegal alone.

Wind gusts of an incredible 137kmh were recorded on Arranmore Island.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Weather
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

Derry-Londonderry has arrived in Madeira at the end of the first stage of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race which began in Southampton on 31 July. The team crossed the line outside of Quinta Do Lorde Marina at 0210 local time (0110GMT) and despite a valiant effort to get on the podium the team finished the race in a respectable fourth place.

derrymadeira

Derry celebrate arrival into Madeira. Photo: OnEdition

The battle for the final podium position was intense amongst five of the teams with only a handful of miles separating them over the last 24 hours of racing. In the end the American entry, New York, was able to hold their position at the front of the mid-fleet pack to take third place. Line honours in Race 1 went to Gold Coast Australia who came out victorious following a two-way battle for supremacy with Visit Finland. A tactical move east towards the coast of Portugal at the end of the 1,340-mile race enabled the Australian team to pull out a sizeable lead, forcing the Finns to settle for second place.

Shortly after the Northern Irish team pulled alongside at the Quinta Do Lorde Marina, skipper of Derry-Londonderry, Mark Light said, "It's brilliant to be here after ten days of racing. It was a shake down sail for all of us and everyone is now getting used to being on board. We raced very well and sailed really well as a team and could have taken third. In the end it was very close but we're pleased with fourth.

"The crew have all surprised me in that they've got used to everything so much quicker than I thought they would. The spinnaker work, the hoisting and dropping of sails... everything has worked really well. I can honestly say they've come on a lot more than I expected, even at this early stage."

Despite an excellent start out of the Solent at the beginning of the 40,000-mile race around the world, Derry-Londonderry and the nine other international teams taking part were caught out on the first night when the wind died, forcing the crews to drop their kedge anchors to prevent their boats going backwards with the tide. The fickle conditions continued until the teams entered the notorious Bay of Biscay which lived up to its reputation by delivering strong headwinds and lumpy seas. Eventually the trade winds kicked in as the fleet rounded Cape Finisterre and the crews were able to enjoy the fast downwind sailing conditions that the Clipper 68s are built for.

As with all ten teams taking part in Clipper 11-12, Derry-Londonderry's crew come from all walks of life, all ages and have different levels of sailing experience. 23-year-old Niall Boyle is one of five Derry City residents who have been chosen to take part in the race and will be an ambassador for the city, inviting visitors from around the world to experience Derry-Londonderry during 2013 when the city becomes the first UK City of Culture.

Speaking from the dockside, Niall said, "It's great to be finally in. The race itself was fantastic, full of ups and downs. We had a few times when we were making good progress on the other boats and catching them up, just to have the wind die on us and drift backwards. But on the whole it's been great, an unreal experience."

Joining the friends and family members of the crew to welcome Derry-Londonderry were representatives from Quinta Do Lorde Marina who have laid on a packed social programme for crews to enjoy during their short stopover. After the deep cleans and essential maintenance have taken place the crew will have some time to explore the beautiful island with a jeep tour and visit to the Madeira Wine Caves and a tour round the island's capital, Funchal City, where they will have the chance to sample the local cuisine and taste the Madeira wine that the island is renowned for. The crews will rejoin their boats on Friday 12 August for the next leg of the race across the Atlantic to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which is scheduled to start at 1630 local time (1530GMT).

Clipper 11-12 is the world's longest ocean race at 40,000 miles and started from Southampton on 31 July 2011. It will take the teams 12 months to complete and the remainder of the race course will take them from Madeira across the Atlantic to Rio de Janeiro and then on to Cape Town in South Africa, Geraldton in Western Australia, New Zealand, Australia's Gold Coast, 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.

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The Port and Harbour Commissioners are wishing "Bon Voyage" to the crew of the Derry~Londonderry yacht which this Sunday will leave Southampton to begin a 40,000 mile Round the World Race as part of Clipper 11-12.

"We know this is a huge challenge for them all," says Harbour Master Bill McCann, "but they have had superb training from the Clipper team and we are confident that they are up to the challenge."

 

Harbour Commissioner Roy Devine, who will join the race in New York for the final leg, says he is thinking particularly about the 10 crew members who are taking the entire round the world trip. "It is a huge undertaking and I really respect them for it. I also send best wishes to the whole crew and hope they race well and race safely."

The Derry~Londonderry yacht take 11 months to cross 15 seas and oceans before completing their arduous journey. The 8-leg race, which stops over at Derry in the final leg, is made up of 15 individual races, and boats score points mainly for how they perform in each of these races (10 points for first, 1 for last etc). The Clipper Trophy goes to the yacht with the highest total at the Finish Line in July 2012.

Find out more about the Derry Londonderry team at www.derrycity.gov.uk/clipper or follow the team on Facebook at Derry-Londonderry Clipper 11-12.

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The Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race will start from the historic maritime city of Southampton on the south coast of England on Sunday 31 July 2011. At 40,000 miles the event is the world's longest sailing race and will take the ten identical 68-foot ocean racing yachts almost a year to complete their circumnavigation of the globe.

Ireland has an entry in the race sponsored by the City of Derry.

Southampton City Council and MDL Marinas, owner of Ocean Village Marina where the yachts will be berthed, are working in partnership to host the Clipper 11-12 race start. It will be an atmospheric, colourful affair as crews bid an emotional farewell to family and friends at a shore-based ceremony before a stunning parade of sail by the yachts as they head to the start line.

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 promises to provide a breath taking spectacle for spectators both on the water and watching from the shore.

Southampton will be the fifth UK venue to host the race start. The Clipper Race celebrates its 15th anniversary this year and first set off from Plymouth in 1996. Two editions later the fleet started from Portsmouth before moving to Liverpool for the subsequent three races and then to the Humber on the UK's north east coast.

As the official host port for the race start Southampton can expect a significant economic return from the tens of thousands of visitors expected to visit the city over the four days the fleet will be in Southampton, delivering millions of pounds worth of revenue for local businesses.

This will be the eighth edition of this unique event which is 'raced by people like you'. More than 500 people from all walks of life and representing more than 40 nationalities will take part. Around 40 per cent of them had never set foot on a boat before beginning the compulsory pre-race training to prepare them for the gruelling challenge of racing across the world's fiercest oceans.

The race was created by British sailing legend, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the world. Since the first edition in 1996 almost 3,000 people have taken advantage of the opportunity to race across oceans in a challenge unlike any other.

Sir Robin says, "Fewer people have raced around the world than have climbed Mount Everest; it remains one of life's great challenges and experiences. Over the last 15 years we have discovered the power of the race to change not only the lives of our crews, but we have also seen it transform perceptions and prospects for the participating global cities, regions and countries.

"The Clipper Race creates a powerful platform at ports of call around the world where our destination sponsors and their partners can network together to develop international trade, promote tourism and celebrate culture."

Each of the ten yachts is sponsored by a city, state, country or company who leverage their participation with trade, tourism and cultural programmes, building on successful pilot initiatives which have seen deals done, trade agreements signed, tourism enquiries generated, universities promoted, knowledge exchanged, cultures shared and powerful economic impact generated on top of extensive international media attention. Clipper 09-10 was seen by a cumulative global audience of more than half a billion people.

Sir Robin adds, "I am particularly pleased that Southampton is to host the start of Clipper 11-12 and that for the first time in many years the very active sailing community in the Solent will be able to be part of a round the world yacht race."

Councillor Royston Smith, Leader of the Council, said, "Southampton City Council is proud to be supporting this race. This internationally renowned event will attract tens of thousands of people of all nationalities to Southampton, generating millions of pounds for the local economy. This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase all that Southampton has to offer to an international audience. Southampton's reputation as a destination of choice is growing, and events like this will only enhance that reputation further. We are also a centre of maritime and marine innovation – a fitting location for the start of this race."

In the build up to the start of the race the fleet will be based in Ocean Village, Southampton, and high profile events for international delegations to the event will also be held in the city.

Dean Smith, Marketing Director at MDL Marinas, commented, "We are delighted that Ocean Village Marina has been selected as the official host port for this phenomenal race and are really looking forward to bringing together thousands of people to celebrate the landmark event. It really is great that this year's race will start from the renowned boating haven of Southampton, which is synonymous with ocean racing, with Ocean Village playing host to round the world races starts and finishes for the likes of Whitbread and Challenge, as well as arrivals from Ellen MacArthur and Dee Caffari. The whole team at MDL is looking forward to looking after the fleet at the marina before cheering them on as they set sail on 31 July."

Already confirmed for Clipper 11-12 are the Keppel Corporation-sponsored Singapore and, representing China's Olympic sailing city, Qingdao, both entering the race for the fourth time. Qingdao is twinned with Southampton. Returning for their second appearance are Visit Finland, backed by the Finnish Tourist Board, and the Scottish entry, Edinburgh Inspiring Capital. And, making their debut in the race, are Derry-Londonderry, celebrating their status as UK City of Culture 2013, and De Lage Landen, the global provider of asset-based financing programmes, which will race under the Dutch flag. The names of the remaining four yachts will be revealed in the coming weeks ahead of the race start.

The international fleet will visit 14 ports on six continents during the 12-month race. Starting from Southampton the route takes them to Madeira, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, the west and east coasts of Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Qingdao, California, New York, Nova Scotia, Derry-Londonderry and the Netherlands before returning to the south coast on 22 July 2012.

A few places are still available for people wishing to take part in Clipper 11-12 and berths are now released for Clipper 13-14 and beyond. Participants must be 18 years old and over and there is no upper age limit. No sailing experience is required. For more information visit the official race website: www.clipperroundtheworld.com

Published in Clipper Race
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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

The Mayor, Cllr Colum Eastwood, officially welcomed the yacht, skipper and crew of Derry-Londonderry to the city at a lunchtime ceremony today. Also there to wish the team fair winds and to offer some winning words of advice was five-time Olympic gold medallist, Sir Steve Redgrave, who met the crew on board before champagne was sprayed over the yacht's bow

Skipper, Mark Light, and the crew of Derry-Londonderry are preparing for the start of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race which, at 40,000 miles, is the world's longest ocean race. It will begin from the south coast of England on 31 July 2011 and Derry-Londonderry will host a stopover in July 2012 when all ten of the 68-foot stripped down racing yachts and their crews will visit the city for a week-long celebration. It will be the first time a Northern Irish port has welcomed the Clipper Race fleet.

This weekend sees another first – it is the inaugural visit of the yacht to Derry-Londonderry and she will play a starring role in the Foyle Days maritime festival which is taking place until Sunday and also features ships from the Irish Navy and Royal Navy.

More than 30 of the crew who, between them, represent nine nationalities, will be visiting Derry-Londonderry over the weekend to find out more about the city for which they will be ambassadors as they circumnavigate the globe.

Welcoming the yacht and crew to the city, the Mayor, Cllr Colum Eastwood said, "This has been a tremendous week of symbolism and we have seen Ireland as a country moving forward. We have a bit of symbolism ourselves with the Irish Navy and British Navy parked side by side in a city like Derry; I think that tells its own story. It tells a story of a city that is moving forward, leading a process of reconciliation. This event, the Clipper Race, will be part of that process. It will help us put Derry on the world stage and I am so excited to see it happen. It's tremendous to see the skipper and crew of Derry-Londonderry and all the people from the city and from the navies around the world. I think it shows the commitment that we have to making this thing work. 2013 will be a huge year for our city but 2012 is shaping up to be a massive year as well."

Clipper Race Director, Jonathan Bailey, responded equally as warmly, saying, "We see our sponsors and crew, both current and past, as part of a larger family. That family includes cities and nations from across the globe, including places like Singapore, New York, Qingdao in China, Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro to name a few. We can now add Derry-Londonderry to that list and it is my pleasure to welcome the city into our family. In July next year the team will return here after travelling 40,000miles around the globe, taking the name of Derry-Londonderry to millions of people and businesses around the world. It is a unique opportunity to showcase what your city and Northern Ireland has to offer on a global stage and will increase tourism and trade in the region."

During the morning local businesses came together to find out how they might benefit during the stopover as well as exploiting international trade opportunities during the race.
Derry-Londonderry's participation in the Clipper 11-12 Race is a major part of the events programme to highlight their status as UK City of Culture 2013 and one which will provide a lasting legacy for the city in terms of both infrastructure and the economy.

The city's participation in the race is in partnership with Derry City Council, Londonderry Port and Harbour Commission and Ocean Event Management. It is supported by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Ilex URC and Sail West.

The Harbour Master at Londonderry Port, Captain Bill McCann, says it means a lot to the port and the local sailing community to have the longest boat race in the world coming to the Foyle. Captain McCann says they have invested heavily over the years in creating the infrastructure for events of this scale, with the development of a new pontoon in the city, "which fits perfectly into the city's strategy for marine leisure and tourism. We will be ready for the Clipper Race within six months and then the facilities at Derry will be second to none."

Bill McCann believes that the Clipper Race will renew interest in sailing and maritime events, and that it will increase the Foyle and the city's chances of securing similar large scale events in the future. "The Clipper Race will finish at the mouth of the Foyle between Greencastle in Co Donegal and Magilligan in Co Derry - it would be hard to find a more visually stunning spot on the planet, and it's an ideal start or finish point for any race."

Derry-Londonderry will be berthed on the Foyle Pontoon, Queen's Quay until Sunday 22 May when church leaders will lead a fleet blessing at 12.30pm. There is an opportunity to find out more about how to become a Clipper Race crew member from the race team who will be at the Foyle Days festival. Berths are now available for Clipper 13-14 and beyond.

Published in Clipper Race
Page 4 of 6

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