FORMER Derry City goalkeeper Matthew Plumber will take on a sporting challenge of altogether different nature when joins the city’s clipper crew for the next leg of the gruelling ground the world yacht race.
The fully qualified goalkeeping coach and UEFA B license holder is one of five successful Derry City Council sponsored bursary representatives to take part in the Race through the KICKSTART to Work programme. Matt was busy getting his bags packed this weekend to fly to San Francisco to meet up with his team mates before departing early this week on his journey through the Panama Canal to New York for an estimated 48 days non-stop race sailing.
And he’ll be joining the team at a time when spirits are high as the Derry clipper last week secured fourth place in the most challenging leg of the race so far - the trans-pacific crossing.
Taking part in the race is a challenge that Matt is very much looking forward to. “The last leg across the Pacific Ocean was a very challenging one and the team did fantastic to secure a fourth place win in such challenging and difficult conditions. It was an amazing achievement for everyone on board the Derry yacht and I am really looking forward to catching up with them at the weekend and finding out all about it,” he said on Friday.
Matt has been busy preparing for his challenge over the past number of months, keeping in regular contact with the crew through the sailing blog and checking their progress. He has been keeping fit and getting himself motivated and prepared for spending time at sea.
“It is quite a daunting thought being on board a small yacht for such a long time but I have building myself up to it for so long and now the time has come. I just can’t believe I’m going. I am really looking forward to it, it’s going to be an amazing once in a lifetime experience and I feel privileged to be representing my city in such a positive way.”
One aspect of the challenge that Matt is not looking forward to is the watch rota system on board the vessel. “The watch rota is going to be a bit of a challenge for me I think but I will get used to it and I know each watch will be very intense but by working together as a team we will be able to overcome any challenges that we meet. I am hoping that we get a podium position in this leg, it would be a fantastic achievement to come into New York to a hero’s welcome,” he said.
At the end of June and early July, Derry~Londonderry will host the race as a destination port when it welcomes all 10 of the participating yachts into the city. This is something Matt is looking forward to and anticipates will be a huge occasion and cause for celebration..