Derry~Londonderry~Doire crossed the finish line into Hobart, Tasmania at 06:06 local time (19:06 UTC 29th December) to claim a class win in the famous Australian yachting classic, The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (RSHYR) and its first podium position of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
The Northern Irish entry was ahead of second placed GREAT Britain which finished at 09:11:43 (22:11UTC) and third-placed Old Pulteney who finished at 09:55 (22:55 UTC) in the classic Australian offshore race. Derry~Londonderry~Doire was victorious in a closely fought 628-mile sprint by the 12-strong Clipper Race fleet from Sydney which saw gusting winds in excess of 50 knots and five metre waves.
Derry~Londonderry~Doire finished in 29th position for overall Line Honours in the RSHYR out of a total starting fleet of 94 boats, with final handicap positions to be announced on Tuesday. The team also wins Race 6 of the Clipper Race and the Clipper 70 One Design class that was created by the RSHYR organisers, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA).
Derry~Londonderry~Doire skipper Sean McCarter celebrated the win with his crew with champagne. He said: “It was very intense and definitely lived up to its reputation as one of the toughest races. It had a bit of everything. At first there was not enough wind, then there was almost too much wind at the end.
“The last 36 hours was a real slog and it was really difficult. Hats off to all the guys who have done a fantastic job. We have been close to winning a race a few times so to make it happen in one of the most famous races in the world is unbelievable.
“We are so grateful for all the support back home, it’s almost like having an extra crew member. It means so much to us.”
GREAT Britain was pleased to be back on the podium and clawing back the points. Skipper Simon Talbot said: “This is one of the toughest and most famous races on the planet. It’s been very exciting to be part of it. To have clinched a podium and eleven vital points has boosted morale on board as we rebuild our position on the overall leader board.”
Old Pulteney said it was one of the toughest races so far despite the relatively short distance. Skipper Patrick Van Der Zijden commented: “We are all really tired. It was very hard, but exhilarating at the same time. We got off to a good start and were leading, despite the lighter winds. Then when the front came through there were very strong winds on the nose and challenging waves. It’s very rewarding to be on the podium in third. We’re going to celebrate with as dram or two of our favourite whiskey and say cheers to Old Pulteney.”
The 12 Clipper Race teams, who are almost half way round the world in their adventure of a lifetime, raced against some of the world’s best professional sailors in the 94-yacht spectacle which started in front of tens of thousands of spectators on Boxing Day.
Race 7 to Brisbane will start on Wednesday, 1 January.