Derry Clipper crew rest up after epic sea battle

Epic race: Daniel Smith, the skipper of the new Derry-Londonderry-Doire Clipper yacht for the 2015-16 race.
Epic race: Daniel Smith, the skipper of the new Derry-Londonderry-Doire Clipper yacht for the 2015-16 race.

The Derry Clipper boat crew were today enjoying a well-earned rest in Capetown, South Africa after an epic battle across the southern seas.

The local crew arrived at the finish line on Thursday night at around 10pm local time but narrowly missed out on a coveted victory in the second leg of the 40,000 mile race around the globe.

The ‘Derry~Londonderry~Doire’ crew had been competing in the five-week Stormhoek Race to the Cape of Storms, and will now have a week long stint on dry land, setting sail again on Hallowe’en night.

Only ten minutes separated the local crew from ‘Great Britain’ after a thrilling, high speed battle across 3,400 nautical miles from Brazil in the second leg of the 14-race global series.

The local crew were recording surging speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Derry~Londonderry~Doire Skipper Daniel Smith said: “It’s been a drag race to the finish. Table Bay is renowned for wind holes, one minute one boat is doing 10 knots, a minute later doing one knot while another boat was sailing past it. It’s very tricky. I am very proud of the whole team.

“We had the full extremes of weather, we had some very windy conditions and they dug deep and fought hard. The results seem to be getting better, I think the team has learnt a lot and is working well together.”

Diarmuid O’Donovan (40) from County Kerry is a round the world crew member on board the Derry~Londonderry~Doire.

He said: “It’s been a brilliant, great race, absolutely amazing. It is very different to Race 1 which became a sweat box and you couldn’t sleep. On this race you have no problem sleeping because you are so tired after watch. It was very interesting sailing.

“It was tough sailing with very windy conditions and Great Britain popping up beside us didn’t help, but it was very interesting for a while there sailing under our spinnakers, they were following us and it’s just been a battle from the start. Unfortunately we came out the wrong side of it by a few minutes.”

The crew of the Derry boat pictured with Mayor of Derry & Strabane Elisha McCallion and Stephen Gillespie, Director of Business and Culture for Derry City and Strabane District Council, at St Katharine's Docks, London earlier this year.

The crew of the Derry boat pictured with Mayor of Derry & Strabane Elisha McCallion and Stephen Gillespie, Director of Business and Culture for Derry City and Strabane District Council, at St Katharine's Docks, London earlier this year.

The South African Western Cape based Stormhoek Wines, the Official Wine Partner of the Clipper 2015-16 Race, provided special edition magnums of sparkling wine for each team to celebrate completing the Stormhoek Race to the Cape of Storms in style.

For the latest finishing times and to follow the remaining teams still racing visit: www.clipperroundtheworld.com/raceviewer.

It’s just been a battle from the start.

Derry boat crew member Diarmuid O’Donovan