Spectacular week for crew

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After a spectacular week in Derry-Londonderry the Clipper Race competitive spirit was reignited last night as they took to an ocean of lush green turf to compete in a touch rugby knock-out tournament with the local community.

The City of Derry Rugby Football Club opened its doors to hundreds of crew, local people and spectators with Clipper Race crew eager to beat their nearest rivals on the water, on the pitch.

Although GREAT Britain had the added advantage of former England’s Rugby 7s Captain Ollie Phillips on their team, Qingdao looked set to storm to victory after Sir Robin Knox-Johnston took to the field as an honorary team member. Despite a spirited performance the 18 participating teams were whittled down to an all Clipper Race final between Mission Performance and PSP Logistics.

Mission Performance was ultimately the victor and celebrated their win with great passion as they lifted the shield in the Club House. But no pennants for this one unfortunately!

Another great event this week was the punt racing. All twelve skippers and a chosen crew member from each team were invited to the Lough Foyle Yacht Club, where the on water battle which has played out over the last ten months, on board the Clipper 70s, continued on a slightly smaller scale.

Old Pulteney, which came third in Race 14, went on to thrash the competition to be crowned winners of the 2013-14 punt race.

A wide range of cultural events, entertainment and even a special interdenominational act of worship has provided a rich programme for all visitors to the city.

As the sun set over the Foyle last night, thousands lined the quayside to watch a Japanese Lantern Ceremony. Local school children dressed in traditional Japanese costume and performed a Japanese dance before a hundred lanterns were released onto the river, including twelve representing each of the participating Clipper Race teams.  

Many of the remaining lanterns were released by the public in the memory of loved ones by the public that are no longer with us as a lasting tribute.

While the crew enjoy their last night in the city, the final preparations are also underway for Race 15. The fleet will slip lines from 1100 BST tomorrow (Sunday 29 June) and perform a spectacular parade of sail in front of the Peace Bride before making its way to Greencastle. Here the RAF Red Arrows will stage a heart-stopping 25-minute aerobatics display from 1446 before Race Start at 1545 BST – Race 15 to Den Helder in The Netherlands for the OneDLL Cup.