It’s official... Dates confirmed for Maritime Festival 2020

The Quay along the River Foyle during a previous Maritime Festival. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 10.07.16
The Quay along the River Foyle during a previous Maritime Festival. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 10.07.16

The dates of Derry’s 2020 staging of the popular Maritime Festival have now been confirmed.

The festival, which only takes place every two years and brings tens of thousands of people together each day at Queen’s Quay, will take place from Saturday July 25 to Sunday August 2, 2020.

The spectacular fireworks display on the River Foyle  lights up the sky over the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race during the Voyages Showcase Finale during the Foyle Maritime Festival. Picture Martin McKeown.ClipperRound The WorldRace. 20.07.18

The spectacular fireworks display on the River Foyle lights up the sky over the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race during the Voyages Showcase Finale during the Foyle Maritime Festival. Picture Martin McKeown.ClipperRound The WorldRace. 20.07.18

The international Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is set to return to Derry during the eight-day festival, Derry City and Strabane District Council have announced.

A new partnership agreement has been formed between Council and the Clipper Race, to acquire the status of Host Port Partner during the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Welcoming the agreement, Mayor Michaela Boyle, said she was delighted that the hugely popular international sports event will again form an integral part of the Council’s award winning Foyle Maritime Festival.

She said; “This is fantastic news for the city and district and a successful conclusion to our discussions with Clipper Ventures. We are all delighted to once again be a Host Port Partner for this fantastic international sporting event and look forward to welcoming the Clipper Race crews to our city and region.

“We believe this partnership between Council and race organisers fits in with our commitment to host quality international events that showcase our maritime heritage.

“We have a strong working relationship with Clipper Ventures in supporting this global event and looking back over the past four races we can honestly say we have experienced the happiest and most memorable moments for our city when acting as a host port for this phenomenal race.”

Mayor Boyle said the international exposure that the partnership provides is significant with the race itself taking in 14 ports on 6 continents worldwide and the city’s name sitting alongside other host ports such as Cape Town and Seattle, helping to position the city and region as world class destination for visitors and investors.

“The Foyle Maritime Festival in 2018 attracted almost 211,000 attendees with international visitors accounting for 30% per cent of those who visited the city, an increase of almost 400% on when the city first hosted this prestigious race in 2012. With over 19,000 bed nights purchased for the festival and an estimated economic impact of at least £2million for the local economy the success of acting as a host port in 2018 benefited the city and region financially as well as achieving a global promotional campaign valued at £4.8 million.”

John Kelpie Chief Executive with Derry City and Strabane District Council said Council is delighted to be once again be working alongside Clipper Ventures on this exciting event. “The Foyle Maritime Festival is celebratory of all that is good about our city and region and the Clipper Race gives a platform with which to promote our city and region to a global audience, drive the visitor and tourism economy and promote our maritime offering. We are looking forward to working closely with Clipper Ventures and our festival partners Foyle Port and the Loughs Agency to deliver another hugely successful event that will attract both local and global audiences to our city and region.”

Clipper Race CEO, William Ward OBE, said: “We greatly value our partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council and are proud of the legacy we have built together over the past nine years. The Clipper Race crew are treated like friends wherever they go in Derry-Londonderry and it is hard to find a local who hasn’t come down to see our fleet at the Foyle Maritime Festival.

“Derry-Londonderry may not be on the same geographical scale as other Clipper Race destinations such as Cape Town and New York but its strong community pride and infectious sense of hospitality has consistently made it one of the most popular stopovers across all six continents we visit. In twenty years of working with global destinations, this partnership is one of our biggest success stories.”

Reacting to the news that the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is set to return to Derry, Bill McCann, Harbour Master at Foyle Port said:

“We are excited by the prospect of the Clipper Round the World Yacht race returning to Derry / Londonderry. The Maritime Festival that surrounds the race provides not only an economic boost but is socially and culturally significant for the North West with tens of thousands of visitors and tourists coming out to the see the racing boats and to experience the festival. We are looking forward to playing our part at Foyle Port as the preparations for the 2020 set of events get underway.”

Sharon McMahon, Designated Officer at Loughs Agency said ‘Loughs Agency welcomes the opportunity to support this prestigious event. Over the last decade, Loughs Agency has been developing the infrastructure and improving access along the Foyle through installation of pontoons, quays and slipways. We have also been working with local water based clubs to increase capacity and encourage local engagement and membership. The combination of these things, in addition to the wonder natural playground of the river, lough and coastal areas of the Foyle means that we can facilitate international events such as the Foyle Maritime Festival where both visitors and local people can enjoy the river and the recreational opportunities it offers such as canoeing, sailing, swimming and stand up paddleboading.”

Keep up to date with the Clipper 2019-20 Race and Foyle Maritime Festival 2020 through www.foylemaritimefestival.com