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Relatively Speaking: Cousins Sean and Aeidin McCarter

By Joanne Sweeney

We ask some local personalities about the special family relationships in their lives.

Name: Sean McCarter

Age: 31

Occupation: Professional sailor

Relationship to Aeidin: Cousin

It was great to see my family out in numbers to welcome me back on Monday – my wife Sofia as well as my aunties, uncles, cousins, you name it, they were all there.

Aeidin was also here but she's the project manager for Derry City Council who sponsored our yacht and appointed me as the skipper.

We were worried that some people might have thought that there was a bit of nepotism involved, and I can assure you that wasn't the case, but it was nice to know that she was involved.

However, there's a rule in Clipper that you don't talk directly to your sponsors, so it was quite awkward in our position as I would have wanted to drop Aeidin an email but I wasn't allowed to.

It was a bit funny but it worked out fine as we do have a good relationship anyway. I think that the people at Clipper understood that ours was an exceptional circumstance.

My father, Andy, and her father, Willie, are brothers so we all grew up together and lived very close together in Buncrana.

I couldn't pick favourites from my cousins, as that wouldn't be right, but my sister Shonagh and I were very close in ages to Aeidin and her brother Angus.

Aeidin's a great person all round, she's incredibly intelligent and a very hard worker. She's also great fun and very easy to get along with. She's also very sociable and great craic.

I have definitely forged very close ties with my crew as we all have been living together in such close quarters. After nine and a half months you can't help but grow close. They are a great bunch of people and I'm sure we are lifelong friends now.

I'll be here for just under a week and we will be heading off again on Sunday to do 800 miles to Dan Helder in the Netherlands before heading for London.

Name: Aeidin McCarter

Age: 39

Occupation: Local government manager

Relationship to Sean: Cousin

There's three brothers, my father Willie, Sean's father Andy, and John and they run a family business in the area, the Fruit of the Loom, so were quite well-known here.

We lived at one end of Buncrana and they lived at the other.

My uncle John is heavily involved in the Lough Swilly RNLI, and Sean learned to sail on Lough Swilly, on the shores of which we all live. My brothers sail a lot and we do have a love of the water, although I do more swimming in it than on the water – I did an open water swim from Rathmullan to Buncrana last year.

Sean is my younger cousin; I have two brothers, Angus and Austin, and Sean has two sisters, Shonagh and Eva.

My base job is finance officer for Derry City Council and I do a lot of work to attract foreign investment. When the council decided to sponsor a clipper, I knew I probably would have the overall project responsibility so it was really exciting for me to get the opportunity to work on this as Sean was involved.

Sean's home is now in Majorca – he has lived there for the last 10 years or so– and I only really see him at family events. He got married two years ago in September to Sofia so I was at his wedding in Majorca.

I suppose one of the things that's nice with us working together on the clipper project is that we see each other as adults rather than just as kids.

I remember him as a good friend as a young boy, he was probably good-humoured and quite like the way he is now.

I think he's fairly unchanged and appears cool and calm but is always good fun but always quite sensible.

Sean and his team gained international fame during Race 10 when crew member Andrew Taylor was hit by a wave and washed overboard. It was only after a 90-minute search in the cold seas of the Pacific Ocean that Andrew was recovered safely and I'm sure the fact that Sean was skipper was instrumental to his rescue."

Join maritime festival fun

  • Sean McCarter studied at Foyle College and has been sailing on Lough Foyle since he was a child. He was a volunteer with the RNLI lifeboat in Lough Swilly in Donegal and has followed ocean races since the age of 10
  • The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the world's longest ocean race. Taking almost nine months and travelling more than 40,000 miles; the fleet of 12 Clipper 70 Racing Yachts is crewed entirely by amateurs (many with no previous sailing experience), under the leadership of one professional skipper
  • Londonderry is hosting the LegenDerry Maritime Festival all week. The final race sets off from Greencastle on Sunday with a send-off from the Red Arrows at 2.45pm along the coast to Limavady
  • For full details, visit www. legenderrymaritimefestival.com

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