Derry Clipper crew arrive Down Under in second spot after weathering storm
The Northern Irish crew in the Round the World Clipper Yacht Race have taken a severe battering in boat-breaking conditions — but have finished the latest leg in second place.
The sailors on the Derry-Londonderry-Doire have arrived in Albany, Australia after crossing the Southern Ocean from Cape Town, South Africa in stormy weather that left them on edge.
The crew crossed the line within 12 hours of first-placed LMAX Exchange.
The race was a typical Southern Ocean leg, with the fleet enduring a storm as it left Table Bay and taking a hammering.
The choices made in those first 36 hours shaped the race for a lot of the teams, with the top three yachts enduring it well and keeping up a lot of sail during the storm. They eventually had a lead of 1,000 miles on the backmarkers.
All the boats reported boat-breaking conditions with gusts of 70-80 knots on several occasions, extremely rough seas and waves of 8-10 metres during the race.
Skipper Daniel Smith said: “We had a real mix of weather, absolutely everything from being becalmed and having to work really hard to keep the boat moving, to much more wind than we wanted at times — so exciting sailing but frustrating sailing too.”
Derry Mayor and Strabane District Council member Elisha McCallion has sent her congratulations to the skipper and crew of the Derry yacht on securing second place in Leg 3.
Extending her best wishes on behalf of the people of the city and district, the mayor said: “Each and every member of the Derry-Londonderry-Doire team should be extremely proud, this is a massive achievement. We are very proud to be an official race partner and host port, and hugely excited as we eagerly follow the clipper race fleet ahead of its arrival here next July for the Foyle Maritime Festival celebrations.”
The team will now enjoy the stopover in host port Albany. Joining the crew there is David Pollock, the first of five people to have been awarded a place on the race through the Derry City and Strabane District Council bursary schemes.