The Clipper Round the World yacht Race is returning to Derry, it has been confirmed.
Derry will welcome the Clippers into the city in both July 2014 and 2016 and a ‘Derry-Londonderry’ yacht will compete in both races.
The city’s Mayor Martin Reilly said the return of the Clipper Race was hugely significant.
“I am delighted that Derry City Council has continued to work in partnership with Clipper Ventures to have a Derry~Londonderry yacht in the 2013-14 and 2015-16 edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and be a host stopover city in July 2014 and 2016.
“Our participation in the Clipper 11-12 Race and the Clipper Homecoming Festival in July 2012 was a phenomenal experience for everyone and was the stepping stone to the city’s UK City of Culture 2013 celebrations.
“The Clipper Festival successfully reinvented our riverfront, brought investment to our maritime offering and changed the way we use and look at the River Foyle. It successfully showcased the city and achieved a PR value of £104m in media coverage as well as generating almost 8,000 bed nights and achieving 98% positive comments in relation to civic pride.
“This further commitment with Clipper Ventures will form an integral part of the city’s international campaign to market the city’s business, tourism and cultural offering as well as forming a key element of the legacy of City of Culture and help us further develop the city’s international profile”.
At 40,0000 miles, Clipper is the world’s longest ocean race. More than 120,000 spectators converged on the banks of the Foyle during the 2011 festival when the boats docked in Derry.
Clipper chairman and founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: “I am extremely pleased to be here today to welcome back Derry-Londonderry to the next two editions of the Clipper Race.
“This will enable the City to capitalise on its many achievements during the last Clipper Race, which will continue to provide an international platform for Derry-Londonderry to promote and build upon trade and tourism around the world. With our brand new fleet of 12 matched 70 foot ocean racing yachts the 2013-14 edition of the Clipper Race will be the largest we have ever produced.”
Sharon O’Connor, Town Clerk and Chief Executive of Derry City Council said the partnership with Clipper Ventures will provide a unique platform to share its new story to a global audience.
“Following the success of Clipper 11-12 we have continued to work closely with Clipper Ventures and build a positive legacy for the city. We know that the Clipper Race provides us with a unique opportunity to profile the city and region and showcase its potential as a location for hosting international events, trade and visitors.
“Participation will also assist us in further developing our maritime offering and confirms an international event for Summer 2014 helping the city sustain legacy from the 2013 cultural year.“
It was also announced today that 31-year-old Sean McCarter, originally from Derry, has been chosen as skipper of the Derry-Londonderry yacht.
He said: “It’s such an honour to be here today in my home town of Derry-Londonderry. In my career I have had the privilege of achieving so many of my personal goals, but to be named as skipper of my home entry in the Clipper Race is one of the greatest honours I have ever received. I’m looking forward to leading my team around the world while helping to place Derry-Londonderry firmly on the global map.”
Follow the city’s participation in the 2013-14 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race at www.derrycity.gov.uk/clipper