Derry in first place but 3,000 miles to go!

Derry’s clipper may be in first place but skipper Sean McCarter says his crew is not getting carried away just yet.

The Derry~Londonderry yacht was yesterday 30 miles clear of nearest rival Mission Performance in second place in Leg 2 of the round the world yacht race.

However, with more than 3,000 miles to go until reaching the Rio de Janeiro finish line - which includes the often windless Doldrums - the skipper says there’s no room for complacency.

“Luckily over the past couple of days we’ve been doing very well and extending our lead. But we’re under no illusions.

“We are approaching the Doldrums and our lead will shrink down dramatically in a very short period of time.

“We’re currently leading the pack, which is brilliant. We’re the first of 12 boats by about 30 miles which in a 4,500 mile race is nothing really so we shouldn’t be complacent.”

The Fahan man, a past pupil of Foyle and Londonderry College, said he is “not surprised” at the current placing of the Derry yacht with the “great” crew he’s got on board.

He believes that had the Leg One race to Brest in France from London not been cut short his team would have enjoyed a much better finish place than joint eighth.

“We showed great boat speed and great tactical ability and we were very unlucky that the finish was cut short as we found ourselves in the wrong position at that time.”

Despite that disappointment, morale remained high and the crew have carried that into their performance so far in Leg Two.

“They’ve got a great sense of humour, there’s always a laugh on board,” Sean said.

The unofficial bright yellow team t-shirts have a skull and crossbones emblazoned on the back with the phrase: ‘Floggings will continue until morale improves’.

The captain remains confident that the morale will remain high despite the potential to have claw back into the lead after the Doldrums.

Legendary British yachtsman, Clipper Race founder and chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: “Tactically, the Doldrums is where Race 2 is likely to be decided. The teams will have to ensure they maintain concentration and keep the boat moving.

“Between the flat calms and the squalls, the lack of wind will be frustrating at times but how they perform at this stage of the race will be worth watching as it could make a big difference to the final positions.”

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