Derry skipper sets his sights on gruelling Vendee Globe race

Sean McCarter pictured lighting a flare in celebration as the Clipper yacht, Derry-Londonderry-Doire, sailed into Derry after winning the New York to Derry leg of the round the World Yacht Race. Picture Martin McKeown.
Sean McCarter pictured lighting a flare in celebration as the Clipper yacht, Derry-Londonderry-Doire, sailed into Derry after winning the New York to Derry leg of the round the World Yacht Race. Picture Martin McKeown.

The skipper of the Derry boat in the last Clipper race, Sean McCarter, is hoping to be the first Irish sailor to compete in Vendee Globe.

An extreme solo race, non-stop around the world without assistance on 60ft race boats, Sean hopes to join 30 sailors on the race in 2020.

But the race for sponsorship starts first as he explained, “Taking part in this race is a lifetime dream, but it’s not one I’m taking on lightly.

“It’s a huge challenge and fiercely competitive - the Vendee Globe is the only single-handed non-stop round-the-world race, and a serious test of individual endurance.

“It’s regarded by many as the ultimate in ocean racing and no other Irish sailor has ever attempted it.

“However, my first challenge starts now, as I need to find corporate sponsorship to help make the dream a reality.

“The exposure is huge, with 188 million euros of media value in France, 738 hours of global television coverage and 285 million page views on the website throughout the race - and I’m hoping this guaranteed exposure will help me secure the sponsorship required.”

Aside from the exposure Sean explained the other huge benefits of getting behind his Vendee Globe dream.

“Sailing is a great platform to bind together multinational corporations spread out geographically and the boat can be used for corporate sailing days, entered in regattas, as well as raced by employees as a way of internal team building.

“The educational opportunities and ability to raise awareness for the protection of the world’s oceans is another huge benefit. I am in the process of becoming an affiliate partner with Mission Blue, an organisation who combine hundreds of smaller environmental groups in an effort to protect large areas of the world’s oceans.

“It would also be great to continue Derry’s recent rise as an international race stopover once the Clipper finishes next year. The immediate local benefits of this are obvious but creating a legacy so this does not die out once Clipper leaves would be of great value to local sailors and local business.”

Sean has already proved his sailing credentials, having skippered the Derry-Londonderry-Doire boat during the 2013-14 Clipper race, winning the Rolex Sydney Hobart leg as well as the homecoming leg from New York to Derry.

Following the race he also picked up the Trophy for Outstanding Seanmanship by the Cruising Club of America.

The founder of the Clipper race, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, agrees that the Vendee Globe should be Sean’s next challenge.

He said, “The next logical step after Sean’s success on Clipper is to go single-handed and of course the ultimate single-handed race is the Vendee Globe. In my view, Sean is ready for that. I think he’ll be an extremely aggressive competitor and he has all the qualities required - the sailing skills, the weather skills. I hope he makes the race, because he will come out if it shining.”

Anyone wishing to help Sean fulfil his sponsorship can contact him via his website www.seanmccarter.com or by email sean@seanmccarter.com