Final preparations are underway aboard the Derry-Londonderry clipper head of the big race start in a few weeks time.
Skipper Sean McCarter has been busy in recent weeks “learning the ropes” with the Clipper and getting his crew ship shape for the 40,000 mil-long round the world race.
“It’s been busy, that’s for sure but I’ve been loving it,” the local man told the ‘Journal’.
“It’s taken a while to settle in as I havn’t worked for Clipper before but the training has been good and it’s been really enjoyable.”
Sean, who hails from Buncrana and went to school in Derry, has a lifetime of sailing experience under his belt and has skippered several ocean crossings as well as worked with the America’s Cup team and taken part in the World Arc Rally.
The Foyle and Londonderry College and St Oran’s Primary School past pupil been around the world and back, and then around again
Since the age of just 10 - when his father Andy introduced him to yachting in Lough Swilly - Sean has dreamed of racing around the world.
Next month when he sails from St Katherine’s Dock’s in London, he’ll be living that dream as he takes the helm for the race of his life.
Among his Derry~Londonderry yacht crew will be a couple of people with familiar accents.
“There’s a nurse, Breidge Boyle from the Illies, and Sharon Doherty from Culdaff, who is a school teacher at the convent [Scoil Mhuire] in Buncrana. There’s a strong Irish contingent on the boat with people from Dublin, Cork, Enniskillen, Belfast, Dublin Meath and elsewhere.”
Sean has also been taking a few tips from the 2011-12 Derry~Londonderry captain, Mark Light, who has taken up the role of Deputy Race Director.
He said he was privileged to be elevated to the prestigious role in the race team which will see him return to Derry during the stopover along the city’s quay next summer.
I’ll be flying to all the stopovers this time around instead of sailing and I can’t deny that when the fleet leaves London I feel a touch of envy as well as a touch of relief,” he said.
An experienced senior instructor with many ocean crossings to his name, Mark is impressed with the capabilities of Sean McCarter and believes the new Derry skipper has what it takes for challenge.
“Sean’s a good guy. I spoke to him quite a lot during the selection process and I know he sees it as an amazing honour. He’s really good at his job.”
Mark’s responsibilities in 2013-14 will be varied. One of the biggest challenges as Deputy Race Director will be managing the smooth operation for the brand new fleet of twelve matched 70-foot ocean racing yachts that will circumnavigate the world for the first time in the ninth edition of the world’s longest ocean race which begins on September 2.