A dream came true for Lough Swilly skipper Sean McCarter on Sunday evening when he skippered the Derry-Londonderry-Doire clipper across the finish line at Hobart in Tasmania to win his class in the 628-mile Rolex Sydney Hobart Race and to secure its first podium position in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
McCarter and his crew celebrated the win with champagne.
He said: “It was very intense and definitely lived up to its reputation as one of the toughest races. It had a bit of everything. At first there was not enough wind, then there was almost too much wind at the end.
“The last 36 hours was a real slog and it was really difficult. Hats off to all the guys who have done a fantastic job. We have been close to winning a race a few times so to make it happen in one of the most famous races in the world is unbelievable.
“We are so grateful for all the support back home, it’s almost like having an extra crew member. It means so much to us.”
To get there in 3 days 16 hours and 42 minutes from Sydney, the crew (of all levels of sailing experience including none at all) had to cope with everything ranging from the hectic start down Sydney Harbour, through frustrating light winds off Australia’s southeast coast, and then a rising southwest to west gale as they battered their way across the notorious Bass Strait towards the final hundred miles along the Tasmanian coast and the challenging and wayward approaches to Hobart.
The 12 Clipper Race teams – almost half way round the world in their adventure of a lifetime - raced against some of the world’s best professional sailors in the 94-yacht spectacle which started in front of tens of thousands of spectators.