‘We felt like celebrities’ - Derry’s Clipper crew

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Derry’s Clipper crew were treated like celebrities as they came up the Foyle to a rapturous welcome, a local woman has said.

Sinead Diver was one of three people from the city on the Derry-Londonderry-Doire boat following their epic adventure across the Atlantic.

Sinead (33) from Culmore Point, Kieran Lynch (36)from Culmore and Danny Bryce (40) from Beechwood Avenue witnessed first hand the warm reception waiting for them right along the coastline from Stroove to Derry.

Sinead said: “I’d been in the crowd myself before and seen the boats come in. My crew members were a bit shocked. As we came into the Foyle lots of boats came out to meet us and they were passing us presents. There were people giving us burger buns which you can imagine were like gold dust and they were warm.

“It was like paparazzi the whole way up. We were like celebrities and we heard everyone cheering at Stroove, Greencastle, Culmore Point and then into Derry.

“I was very proud of my city and the reception we received.”

Sinead had never sailed before taking up the Clipper challenge last year.

“I’m somebody who has always been interested in watersports and I’m extremely active. I’d seen the boats coming into Derry and thought you would need loads of sailing experience to do that and it would cost a fortune.”

After going to an information event the seed was planted and after getting together the money required, she went for it and said she has learned so much from the experience.

“I’m standing here now, I have done it. It’s a major achievement There is a real sense of family when you are in a 70ft boat. You really are a team.”

The remaining Clipper boats are due to arrive at the Derry Quay by this evening, ahead of the opening of the eight-day Foyle Maritime Festival tomorrow, with the International market returning to the quay from 12pm as a host of water and land-based family activities and a programme of musical events kicks off .