The arrival of the 10-strong Clipper fleet over the weekend all went exactly to plan, says Harbour Master Bill McCann of Foyle Port, which manages the day-to-day river operations for the Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners.
“It all went very smoothly,” says Bill. “We were updated regularly by the Clipper team and although some boats came ahead of time and others behind time, we were able to manage these changes.”
“We put a pilot on board each yacht as they came through Greencastle to help them navigate the Lough up to the Foyle Marina and it was great to see the warm welcome each crew got as they arrived. From the water, the city was looking its best.”
“From a port operations perspective, the pontoons which now make up the Foyle Marina were all finished on time and in place. They have been able to easily accommodate the large number of visiting yachts here from all over the island and from Scotland and Wales. “
“On Monday more yachts arrived into Greencastle as part of a Malin Waters initiative and they travelled up to Derry on Tuesday. The Foyle Port Cup Race takes place at Greencastle at 2pm this afternoon Wednesday, and then these boats will also travel up to Derry on Thursday.”
It’s expected that all of these visiting vessels will join local boats and the Clipper fleet for the Clipper Parade of Sail on Saturday. The parade starts at 1pm, when the Clipper yachts will leave Derry for the start line at Greencastle, accompanied by a flotilla of local and visiting boats. They are scheduled to reach Greencastle at 4.30pm ahead of the official race start time.
The chief executive of Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners, Brian McGrath, says it’s been a busy week for the port as Clipper Host Port Sponsor but “it has been a superb demonstration of the port’s ability to manage a major sailing event.”
Mr McGrath praised the people of Derry and Inishowen for coming out to show their support for all the Clipper crews “despite the wet weather. It’s great to see marine activity attracting this level of interest in the area and we are delighted it has all gone so smoothly.”
The city’s participation in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is in partnership with Derry City Council and Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners. It is supported by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Ilex URC, the Loughs Agency and Malin Waters.
Media queries to: Trish Hegarty +353 86 1740057