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UK City of Culture 2013, Derry-Londonderry, is to return to the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race circuit with entries in the next two editions of the high-profile global event as a Team Sponsor in the 2013-14 and 2015-16 races.

The city will have its very own 70-foot Derry-Londonderry branded yacht entry, which will promote the city’s international trade, tourism and business development around the globe during the 40,000 mile 11 month race, and host stopovers of the whole Clipper Race fleet in 2014 and 2016. 

The announcement was made today in Derry-Londonderry by  Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, founder and chairman of the Clipper Race, and the Mayor of Derry-Londonderry, Cllr Martin Reilly on behalf of Derry City Council. The city’s proposal has been created in partnership with Northern Irish Tourist Board (NITB), Loughs Agency, Ilex, Invest NI and Tourism Ireland.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said, “I am extremely pleased to be here today to welcome back Derry-Londonderry for the next two editions of the Clipper Race.

“With our brand new fleet of 12 matched ocean racing yachts, the 2013-14 edition of the race will be the largest we have ever produced. The Clipper Race will continue to provide an international platform for Derry-Londonderry to promote and build upon trade and tourism around the world.”

The Mayor Cllr Martin Reilly added, “I am delighted that Derry City Council has continued to work in partnership with Clipper Ventures to have a Derry-Londonderry yacht in the 2013-14 and 2015-16 editions of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

He added, “Our participation in the 2011-12 Race and the Clipper Homecoming Festival in July 2012 was a phenomenal experience for everyone and was the stepping stone to the city’s UK City of Culture 2013 celebrations. The Clipper Race Festival successfully reinvented our riverfront, brought investment to our maritime offering and changed the way we use and look at the River Foyle. It successfully showcased the city and achieved a PR value of £104m in media coverage as well as generating almost 8,000 bed nights and achieving 98 per cent positive comments in relation to civic pride.”

The Clipper 13-14 Race will be the second time the city has been represented in the biennial event. Derry- Londonderry was a team sponsor in the Clipper 11-12 Race and hosted the hugely successful Clipper Homecoming Festival in July 2012, which attracted over 120,000 spectators over the 10-day celebration.

Sharon O’Connor, Town Clerk and Chief Executive of Derry City Council said Derry-Londonderry’s participation in the two-race deal with Clipper Race will provide the city with a unique platform to tell its legacy story to a global audience.

She commented: “Following the success of Clipper 11-12 we have continued to work closely with Clipper Ventures about building on that positive relationship to generate socially inclusive legacy projects for the future.  We know that the Clipper Race provides us with the opportunity to profile the city and region post 2013 and create opportunities for showcasing the city as a location for hosting international events and visitors.

“It will also greatly assist us in further developing our maritime infrastructure and promoting maritime tourism in the area and enable us to share the successes of our City of Culture story to the world. A key element of the Clipper Race returning to the city is the positive economic impact for businesses. Our city has a long and illustrious maritime history and a key factor in the city’s participation in the next two Clipper races will be to further generate cultural and socially inclusive legacy projects for the future beyond City of Culture 2013.”