As the Clipper 11-12 fleet raced past Los Angeles yesterday a real Hollywood cliffhanger was developing between Derry and Edinburgh’s entries.
In seventh and eighth places respectively Edinburgh and Derry were enjoying their own Celtic duel about 50 miles to the west of the rest of the teams as they entered the last 10,000 miles of the 40,000 mile global race. The LegenDerry team set sail on Saturday from Oakland with new crew member, former Derry City goalkeeper, Matthew Plummer, on board. The team’s next stop is Panama and the 3,300-mile leg of the race is expected to take a little over three weeks with the first yachts due to arrive in the Central American country on May 9 or 10 before setting off for New York.
Before setting sail, he said: “I’m very much looking forward to going through the Panama Canal - it’s the main reason that I wanted to do this race. It’s a long race with more than 5,000 miles over to New York - you can’t imagine driving that far, let alone sailing it. Hopefully we will get good winds and get there fast. I really want to push the boat and we are aiming for a first place.”
Trailing Edinburgh Inspiring Capital by just a few miles, Derry were closing fast on their rivals after taking a gamble of their own on some speedy teamwork yesterday.
Skipper Mark Light said: “I think this is going to be a very tight and close-fought race to the finish.” He added: “We are racing along well, heading due south en route to Panama. At first light this morning we hoisted our medium weight spinnaker. The spinnaker hadn’t been packed properly in the bag since it was last removed for sail repair; it had been folded neatly but not secured with wool to prevent it filling with wind and opening prior to the full hoist. With the fairly light conditions we took a gamble and prepared everything before executing a very rapid sweat and successful hoist of the spinnaker without re-packing.”