The fleet is now expected to arrive in the city ahead of schedule, with the first yachts on course to make their way up the Foyle on Wednesday July 6th.
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Alderman Hilary McClintock, urged people to come out to support the teams as they arrive after their gruelling ocean crossing.
“We have just found out that the fleet are arriving earlier than originally estimated and Council is now preparing to welcome them a day ahead of schedule. In previous years the city has turned out in force to line the quayside in support of the teams as they journey up the Foyle and they have received a warm welcome as they have stepped ashore after their lengthy journey.
“The Derry~Londonderry~Doire crew is really blazing a trail and from what I have heard it will be a hard fought battle to steal victory in Race 12, the LegenDerry Finale, which is partly why the fleet is breaking records in its efforts to get here. I think it’s important that we acknowledge the hard work of all the crew – especially the outstanding performance of our own team – by turning out to show our support.
“I met with our Skipper Daniel Smith and the rest of the team on their stopover in New York, and this destination is the one they have all been looking forward to. So let’s prepare for a LegenDerry welcome to remember.”
A spokesperson for Clipper Ventures announced the early arrival last night, confirming that an extension of the route would be added this year to account for some of the time saved.
“The Clipper Race fleet has made fast progress in Race 12 ‘The LegenDerry Finale’ and has broken through the North Atlantic High (NAH) much quicker than anticipated following the experience of previous editions,” the spokesperson confirmed.
“After extensive consultation between the Clipper Race Office and the Derry City and Strabane District Council, the earliest we can bring forward the required infrastructure is Wednesday 6 July.”
The spokesperson revealed that the new route will only redirect slightly from the original course, ensuring competition conditions remain unchanged.
“The Race Committee has agreed to adding an extension to the course of approximately 500 nautical miles from Tory Island (six miles off the north west coast of Ireland), heading North West around Rockall, east to Saint Kilda and then back to the original finish line off Shrove near Greencastle. Due to Tory Island being so close to the original route the current tactics crossing the North Atlantic will remain unchanged, and should not disadvantage any of the teams.
“This will result in the arrival window in Derry opening a day earlier, with the earliest arrivals on the Foyle being from 6 July, and continuing through to 8 July, subject to the prevailing weather conditions.”
The crew will receive a warm welcome on their arrival, and will have a couple of days respite before the major Foyle Maritime Festival celebrations take over the city from July 9-17.
The festival features a wide array of activities taking place at locations throughout the city. The quayside will be transformed into a bustling seaside promenade with market stalls, funfairs, arts and crafts and fun for all the family.
What Maritime Festival would be complete without some fish? The Clipper Race Kitchens will be literally stocked to the gills with some of the very best local produce and seafood..
On Saturday July 16 a mythical and mysterious finale event celebrating the flight of the medieval maritime heroine Sunniva will bring the festival to a close before the final Parade of Sail on Sunday.
The Night of the Two Moons will harness the power of the elements bringing together earth, water, light and aerial displays for an atmospheric evening of entertainment on the beautiful River Foyle.
Add to that a jam packed music line-up headed up by The Riptide Movement on Friday July 15, and some adrenalin fuelled nautical displays, including dragon boat racing, wake-boarding and water skiing, and you have the perfect recipe for a fantastic week
The Foyle Maritime Festival is supported by Tourism Northern Ireland, Foyle Port, Loughs Agency, Diageo, DuPont Kevlar and Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
For more information on the full Foyle Maritime Festival programme go to www.foylemaritimefestival.com.Tags: