Crowds are expected to gather along the quay over the coming hours as the first of the Clipper fleet is expected to arrive into the city at around 12 noon.
The arrival of the first of the 11-strong fleet following the trans-Atlantic crossing comes ahead of the Foyle Maritime Festival getting under way on Saturday.
Mayor John Boyle said he is looking forward to welcoming the entrants Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race into Foyle Port this week.
The quayside is expected to witness a buzz of activity as crowds turn out to welcome the first yacht crew sail up the River Foyle and into Derry at around 12 noon, after the tightly fought race from New York.
Speaking ahead of their arrival into the city, Mayor Boyle said the crews will have a two-week stopover before they depart on Sunday July 22 for the final race in their round the world adventure as they head towards Race Finish in Liverpool.
He urged locals to come out onto the Quay to welcome the first yacht into port and to keep a close eye on the Clipper race website and Foyle Maritime Festival social media platforms for regular updates on yacht arrival times throughout the week.
He said: “I had the pleasure of meeting with some of the crew members and of course Conall Morrison and Roseann McGlinchey from Derry during a visit to New York last month before they departed toward Derry and I’ve been following the teams’ progress on the Clipper Race viewer and this has been such an exciting race over the past few days.
“I am particularly looking forward to welcoming the two Derry participants – Conall Morrison Skipper of the HotelPlanner.com team and teammate Roseann McGlinchey from Lifford - as they prepare for a warm welcome home. It is our opportunity to come out and show our support for them and thank them for representing our city and region in the Clipper Race and doing us proud.”
Mayor Boyle says he expects it to be an emotional arrival as the crews will be greeted by friends and family. “We are really looking forward to seeing large crowds coming out to welcome the teams into the Foyle Port. They will have a couple of days to enjoy some respite before our Foyle Maritime Festival gets into full swing at the weekend.
“We’re anticipating a very busy week ahead with a packed programme of family entertainment and a whole host of activity on both the river and at various locations throughout the city. I’m looking forward to welcoming visitors here for this huge celebration of our maritime heritage and what promises to be the highlight in the summer events calendar,” he added.
Lifford born Roseann McGlinchey is looking forward to seeing family and friends when she sails into Derry.
“I have thought about arriving home many times over the year and it always brings a smile to my face. The thought of seeing all my family and sleeping in my own bed are amazing never mind the welcome I am sure the entire fleet will have when we (finally) arrive. I am sure it is something I will never forget. The crew are also really excited because I have promised them buns for breakfast from Dohertys bakery as is tradition in Derry.”
The 11 Clipper Race teams will spend the next two weeks in the city where they will enjoy a number of celebratory events during their stopover before setting sail to Liverpool and the final race in their journey which has seen them race 40,000 nautical miles around the world. The colourful fleet will be one of the key attractions throughout the week with open boat tours at their base on the Foyle Marina throughout the Foyle Maritime Festival.
The celebrations will get into full swing on Saturday July 14, continuing to Sunday July 22 with a wide array of activities on land and water. The main highlight of the festival will be the Showcase event on the Friday night, June 20 which will be a spectacular outdoor finale event on the Foyle from 9 pm to 11pm, before the fleet depart in a magnificent Parade of Sail on Sunday 22 July at 1pm.
The Foyle Maritime Festival is brought to you by Derry City and Strabane District Council with the support of Tourism Northern Ireland, Foyle Port, Loughs Agency, DuPont Kevlar, Diageo, NW Regional College and Translink.
For further information on the Foyle Maritime Festival and a full programme of events visit www.foylemaritimefestival.com or you can follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/foylemaritimefestival and on Twitter @Foylemaritime