Belfast Telegraph

Derry to host world yacht race

Londonderry is to host a round-the-world yacht race, it has been announced.

The UK city of culture for 2013 will receive the ten-strong fleet in July 2012, with a festival at the end of the final transatlantic stage.

It will also be the first time Northern Ireland has been represented in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race with a boat from the city. The event attracts a global audience of more than 460 million people.

Derry City mayor Colum Eastwood said: "We've partnered with Clipper as we believe it provides a world-class opportunity to showcase the city internationally while supporting business, education and cultural links ahead of the UK City of Culture 2013.

"It's an important building block in developing the city's reputation as a location for international events and brings fully into use the full urban quayside of the River Foyle.

"This is the catalyst project that will bring together public, private, education, sports and community interests to build a legacy for the maritime, tourism, business and cultural interests of the city."

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board provided financial assistance of £40,000 to help secure the bid for the Derry stopover.

Tourism Minister Arlene Foster said: "This is a huge coup for Londonderry as hosting a leg of this internationally-renowned race will not only place the city on a global stage, but it will also provide opportunities to promote Northern Ireland around the world."

The race was set up by Sir Robin Knox Johnston, the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world, to give ordinary people the chance to do something extraordinary.

Sir Robin said: "The race offers a unique platform to showcase the city around the world, both for business and tourism. We hope that, as other cities and countries have discovered, participation in the race will enable you to build a unique legacy for the city that will last for years to come."

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