A long journey - but worth it

Members of the Derry clipper take it easy as they arrive in Southampton on Sunday.
Members of the Derry clipper take it easy as they arrive in Southampton on Sunday.

Derry-Londonderry finished on a high in fourth place in the final race from Den Helder to Southampton.

Overall, the local entry achieved eighth place in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race.

Round the World crew member John Harkin expressed his delight at joining the exclusive club of circumnavigators.

“It’s been a long journey and I’ll be glad to get back to my family and grandchildren who I haven’t seen for quite a while,” he said.

“It’s been tough and there were lots of times I thought I couldn’t complete it. Now that I stand here at the end, I’m delighted to have achieved what I have achieved. I have always wanted to sail round the world and the Clipper Race gave me the opportunity to do it.”

Race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston applauded their achievement: “All the crew members have achieved something special with their lives. They have ventured out across the oceans of the world facing nature in the raw, whether it be the stifling heat and calms of the doldrums or the ferocious storms of the North Pacific and Southern Oceans. They have become great seaman and should all be justifiably proud of their achievement.”

Derry Mayor Kevin Campbell, who was in Southampton to congratulate the Derry~Londonderry crew as they passed the finish line, added: “We are extremely proud of the crew and their amazing achievement – they are a credit to the city and are wonderful ambassadors.

“They have also worked hard throughout the year long race to promote the city at each of the stopovers around the world, well done to all!”

Derry skipper Mark Light added: “The ocean is a great leveller and deserves huge respect. Our year at sea will live in our memories forever.”