Pirates, cyclones and more as Derry battle to get back on podium

The Derry crew leaving Brisbane en route to Singapore
The Derry crew leaving Brisbane en route to Singapore

Derry’s entry in the Clipper round the world race could bag another podium finish in the latest leg of the mammoth trans global competition.

The Derry-Londonderry-Doire has led for much of the way in Race 8 of the 16 race series that takes the crews from Brisbane to Singapore and onto China but currently lies fourth behind leaders Scotland’s Old Pulteney.

Derry skipper, Culmore man Sean McCarter, said it’s been an eventful few days for the crew as they battle the elements.

“We are currently thumping our way upwind within sight of Old Pulteney and OneDLL with 140 miles to the waypoint. Usually that would take about 12 hours for us but on this point of sail under these variable conditions it is looking like taking another two days plus!

“This isn’t taking into account that the current that we are punching will get stronger as we get nearer the strait.”

The teams are competing for the Old Pulteney Navigator Cup in a very challenging 4,500 mile course to Singapore. As well as geographical and meteorological challenges with the potential for cyclones, there is the added threat of piracy, with skippers and their crews trained in precautionary responses.

Leg 5 from Brisbane to Qingdao in China is 7,000 miles long and is split into two races via Singapore.

The fifth leg will take some eight weeks to complete and will include a stopover in Singapore for a week from February 8.

The Derry boat is currently third in the overall standings just nine points behind the crew of One DLL after impressive showings in the last two races - including victory in Race 6 , the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

The Clippers are due in Derry later this year.