Local water sports enthusiast Shayne McClure (pictured above) has returned after his big sea adventure on the Derry~Londonderry Clipper yacht. Shayne represented his city in the sixth leg of the Clipper Round the World Race.
Shayne, one of five successful Derry City Council sponsored bursary representatives, met up with his team mates in Qingdao, China before departing for 28 days non-stop race sailing. The Derry yachting enthusiast, who had previous sea and water based activities experience, embraced the once in a lifetime experience to visit new countries and be part of the team during one of the toughest and most challenging legs of the race to date.
“This has been a fantastic opportunity for me and it was an amazing experience, although it was challenging at times. The send off from Qingdao and crossing the finishing line in San Francisco is something I’ll never forget,” he said on his return.
Before his trip, Shayne had been involved in water sports for a long number of years and underwent a series of training courses in preparation, which set him in good stead. However, leg six of the race was not without drama. Two members of the ‘Geraldton, Western Australia’ crew were injured 400 miles off the California coast, when a large wave battered their yacht and they had to be air lifted to the US mainland, by the US Coastguard.
“Thankfully we in the Derry~Londonderry yacht did not run into any major trouble. The group really bonded well, and there was great camaraderie on board, which really helped when things got difficult,” said Shayne, who’s delighted he got the opportunity to be part of the journey.
“I had followed the Clipper race for a couple of years and had always been interested in it. It would never have been something I could have done if this opportunity had not come my way through the Kickstart programme. It’s fantastic and I am really delighted to be part of such a huge sailing event. It’s has been such a huge opportunity and I’m really honoured to have been part of it,” he said.
At the end of June and early July, the city will host the race as a destination port when it welcomes all 10 of the participating yachts into the city with the ten day long ‘Clipper Homecoming Festival’. This is something Shayne is looking forward to and anticipates will be a huge occasion and cause for celebration across the city and region.
“The Clipper event is massive and will be of huge interest to people across Derry, Donegal and beyond. There is also a lot of excitement amongst the other race participants – everyone is really excited to come to the city. There is more excitement about this stop off than about any other in the race. It will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase the city to people from around the world”