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No Derry Boat but Clipper Round the World Race is Heading for Foyle Maritime Festival in July

20th March 2022
Derry Maritime Festival -  This will be the fifth consecutive time that the City of Derry has acted as a host port to the Clipper Race and the crews will once again enjoy a welcome to the Foyle
Derry Maritime Festival - This will be the fifth consecutive time that the City of Derry has acted as a host port to the Clipper Race and the crews will once again enjoy a welcome to the Foyle

You can always be sure Derry will put on a good show, whether it be a Jazz Festival, Halloween or a Light Show. And this year will be no exception when the City hosts the Clipper Race stopover in July during the Maritime Festival.

The news about the official return of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race recently announced by Derry City and Strabane District Council was greeted with excitement and optimism when the dates for the Foyle Maritime Festival were confirmed as July 20-24. This will be the fifth consecutive time that the City of Derry has acted as a host port and the crews will once again enjoy a fabulous welcome to the Foyle

The race resumed on Sunday 20th March from Subic Bay in the Philippines after a two-year delay due to the pandemic. Race crew from 21 different countries are currently taking part in the first point-scoring race, which will take the fleet across the North Pacific Ocean.

Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Alderman Graham Warke said he was delighted at the news, and the much-anticipated return of the sailing fleet to the Foyle, where they will take centre stage at the Maritime Festival. "This is fantastic news; we are thrilled to be able to confirm that the Clipper Race Crew will be arriving in the City on time to join us for the Foyle Maritime Festival. There will be so much excitement as the first yachts appear on the Foyle. It will mark a real milestone in the journey of the crew but also very significantly in terms of the slow journey towards recovery that we have all been on”.

Foyle Maritime FestivalFoyle Maritime Festival

The festival draws hundreds of visitors including many who come by boat to the city centre marina where crews enjoy being in the midst of the festivities.

Highlights of this year's event include the Legenderry Street Food Festival, live music events, on-street animation, marine-themed installations, and much more still to be confirmed as the final touches are put to the programme.

Head of Culture with Council, Aeidin McCarter, said that excitement was already building ahead of the event. "There's a great sense of anticipation about the Foyle Maritime Festival, it's the flagship summer event for the City and District, and one that always generates an incredible buzz of excitement many months before the first sails are sighted on the Foyle”. She continued, “We are delighted that the Clipper Race fleet will once again be central to our festivities, with all the colour and comradery that the crew bring to the Quayside”.

Mark Light, Clipper Race Director is no stranger to the Foyle. He skippered the inaugural Derry-Londonderry team in the 2011-12 edition, the race start of which is still one of his favourite memories. He said “ This has been the longest Clipper Race edition in our history and so we are looking forward to returning to this wonderful city more than ever. As a Skipper who has previously had the honour of representing Derry-Londonderry I have experienced first-hand the exceptional welcome our teams always receive from locals. And for our fleet to be the centre point of the Foyle Maritime Festival is a real honour. We can't wait to be back!"

The fleet is expected to arrive in Derry around 16th July after the 3000nm Race 14 from New York to the Foyle which is estimated to take approximately 15 -19 days.

Chairman of Clipper Events, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: “This will have been the longest edition in our 25-year history. We appreciate it has been a long wait for our crew competing in the outstanding stages of this circumnavigation, but we can’t wait to get our teams racing again and continuing the Clipper 2019-20 Race.”

City of Derry doesn’t have a boat in this race but nevertheless has a considerable international following for the event built up over the years. This year the theme is 'What Lies Beneath' focusing on the natural beauty of our oceans, rivers and lakes, and the onus on all of us to protect and preserve marine life.

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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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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