The river will be the arena this weekend for a maritime spectacle never before seen in the city, as the flotilla of Clipper Round the Yacht vessels say their final farewell to the River Foyle and the host post of Derry.
The ten yachts will depart the city on Saturday in a spectacular Parade of Sail, before heading to Greencastle, where they will begin the penultimate race in their 40,000 mile journey. Thousands are expected to turn out to watch the Clippers line-up for their spectacular Parade of Sail with activities commencing on the Quay from 12noon as the yachts prepare to sail from the Quay at 1pm, in what will be an emotional journey for the Derry~Londonderry team as they once again set off from their home port.
The yachts will sail down the River Foyle for the official race start at Greencastle, with live links to the city over the duration of the day so that you can watch the official race start live on quay at 5pm.
The crews have enjoyed a homecoming welcome to remember since their arrival last weekend, with 1,000’s along the quay daily enjoying the celebrations and there are still two days to go!! Although the Clippers might be moving on, the party will continue in full swing until Sunday. After the Parade of Sail on Saturday, the Zapcats will be making waves with some high speed action on the river. Reaching speeds of 50mph, these little boats will be performing some breathtaking stunts, with 3G turns and six foot jumps.
“Zapcats go where most other boats dare not,” said Mike Sanford, race organiser. “It’s fast, it’s furious and it’s great fun for all the family. Safety is paramount, but I admit that we really do push things to the limit!
“We have 16 competitors coming from all over England, joining teams from Belfast and the Republic. We’ve already scoped out the lough and are looking forward to two days of challenging racing, after the Clipper fleet departs.”
The Zapcat Grand Prix has been compared to motorcross on water, and promises to keep audiences glued to their death defying antics as the two man crews battle it out over short circuits near the Peace Bridge on Saturday from 3pm, and on Sunday from 12noon-3pm.
Throughout the day visits to the stunning Earl of Pembroke Tall Ship as well as the impressive naval vessels lining the quay, will be running from 10am-5.30pm. The Continental Market will be thronged with foodies throughout the weekend with an exciting array of dishes and goods from home and abroad on offer.
The Quayside itself will be buzzing with activity, with music, song and dance at the Quayside stage. And youngsters can get arty in the Creativity Zone, where there will be a full programme of art workshops, magic shows and documentary screenings.
The festival will also feature a series of fascinating environmental exhibitions, as well as the opportunity to trace your family roots and explore the city’s maritime heritage in the Environmental and Heritage Zone. And don’t forget the festival finale and water display between 4-6pm on Sunday 08th July.
For ease of access, don’t forget we have the Clipper Event Park n’Ride at Templemore and event park n’stride at Magee College, event car parking is also available in all city centre car parks.
The Clipper 11-12 Maritime and Home Coming Festival is organised by Derry City Council in partnership with Londonderry Port. It is supported by Northern Ireland Tourist Board, MalinWaters as part of the Sail West Project marine tourism initiative, part financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through INTERREG IVA Cross-Border Programme, Invest Northern Ireland, Loughs Agency, Ilex URC, FG Wilson, Diageo and event partners Translink.
For more information about all the Festival events visit www.derrycity.gov.uk/clipper for follow us on Facebook and Twitter.