Belfast Telegraph

Legenderry send-off as thousands bid farewell to Clipper yachts

By Maureen Coleman

Thousands of spectators packed into Londonderry's quayside to bid bon voyage to the 12 Clipper Race yachts as they set off on the next leg of their round-the-world journey.

The departure yesterday from the Foyle Marina was marked with a stunning performance from the Red Arrows and followed Saturday night's grand finale celebrations of the LegenDerry Maritime Festival.

Before sailing to Greencastle in Co Donegal, for the official race start to Den Helder in the Netherlands, the Clipper Race teams were treated to a hearty local breakfast, laid on by Derry City Council and supported by Food NI and local chefs Ian Orr from Brown's restaurants in Derry and Noel McNeel from Lough Erne.

Sailors from all over Ireland then arrived in the city to take part in the farewell parade of sail to the Peace Bridge towards the race starting point.

Members of the public lined the quayside from early yesterday morning to get the best views of the departures from the marina.

The crews made their way to their respective boats while team songs adopted by each boat rang out across to coincide with the Parade of Sail.

Spectators applauded the yachts as they set sail for Greencastle, with the biggest cheer for local boat Derry-Londonderry-Doire, still basking in the glory of winning the race from New York to its home port.

The aptly titled Time To Say Goodbye, and other songs including Danny Boy were sung during the Parade of Sail while local singer-songwriter Johnny Duhan performed his hit The Voyage.

The LegenDerry Maritime festival has seen tens of thousands of visitors flock to the city's quayside and marina, with the Clipper yachts moored alongside a race village all week.

Saturday evening saw a dramatic pyrotechnics display light up the Foyle, featuring a fiery battle between two pirate ships.

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