Derry man’s Clipper boat hit by lightning

Derry man Gerard Doherty is on the Ha Long Bay boat which was recently hit by lightning on the Clipper Race.

By Daire Ní Chanáin
Thursday, 9th June 2022, 9:26 am

The boat was travelling on the seventh leg of the Clipper Race from Seattle to Panama when the lightning stuck.

Gerard explained: “We had a really good trip from Seattle. The weather was very kind to us and we were enjoying a nice morning and then we went into a swall. There was horrendous rain and the lightning was very far away and then it suddenly hit the boat. It happened that fast, we didn’t have time to be scared!

“We were all grand, there was some slight damage done but the boats are designed to take a lightning strike so it was okay. It all added to the excitement! I had never seen rain like that in my life, it was just bucketing!

Gerard Doherty who is sailing around the world on the Ha Long Bay boat in the Clipper race. Gerard's boat was hit by lightning on their last leg but, thankfully, no one was harmed.

“Despite the lightning, we won that leg of the race which was a phenomenal achievement. It was a very good race for us.”

Read about how Gerard got involved in the Clipper Race.“We’re now at the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal. We went through the canal yesterday and it was an amazing experience to see the majesty and scale of the canal.

“We’re waiting now on the other boats to come through and then we set sail tomorrow again to Bermuda. It will take us about nine days to get there, I think there should be fairly stable weather conditions. It’ll be hard work but it’ll be enjoyable. It’ll be dry and warm so it’ll be grand. We’re turning North now so it’ll start to get cooler, it was very, very warm over the past ten days so it’ll start to cool down now.

“We’re second overall in the race now so that’s great excitement but we’re striving hard, still, to get a good result on this leg. We’re in a good position and the race is still wide open. I have a feeling that the race will be decided on the last leg between Derry and London. Depending on the results of the next couple of races, it could be close now for the final call.”

Derry man Gerard Doherty who is currently sailing around the world on the Clipper Race.