Supporters Steal the Show at LegenDerry Prize Giving

14 July 2018

The Clipper Race party in Derry-Londonderry has officially begun, with 600 crew and supporters gathering together at the city’s stunning Guildhall for the Race 12: The LegenDerry Race Prize Giving.

One of the highlights of the evening was when the Race Crew Supporters were announced as the surprise winners of the Stormhoek Social Spirit Award. More than 2,000 people from all over the world – and almost 200 Junior Crew Supporters – have spent the last eleven months living and breathing the Clipper Race, waking up at all hours to check the Race Viewer and supporting their loved ones either in stopovers or from home.

More than 200 Race Crew Supporters were in Derry-Londonderry and took to the stage to accept their award – with the group receiving the loudest applause of the night.

Pauline Pragnell, the mother of Dare To Lead round the world crew member Charlie Garrett, comments: “I’m absolutely delighted to get an award as a race crew supporter, total unexpected, but really nice to be up there and be recognised. I’ve put in a lot of internet hours supporting the teams so it was a fantastic gesture.

“I couldn’t travel to all the locations Charlie has been to so the Facebook Live feeds have been wonderful and really help you to feel part of it at home.”

Nikki Miller, the wife of Sanya Serenity Coast round the world crew member Mike, adds: “I was absolutely thrilled when it was announced, it was really special. I’ve worked out that I’ve flown 106,500 miles this year which is more than four times around the world so it’s been an amazing eleven months and I’ve loved being part of the Clipper Race. And although I wasn’t on the boat, my spirit was and it's really lovely that we got recognised and rewarded.

“For us having Ruth [Race Crew Supporters Coordinator] as our focal point has been brilliant. What I also love is that we get there before the boats so I’ve got friends on all the other teams. I think I might miss this more than I have Mike!”

It was then time for the main event, with Visit Seattle, Unicef and Garmin all taking to the stage to receive their pennants for placing first, second and third in Race 12: The LedgenDerry Race.

It was the first time Garmin had been on the podium since coming third in the Clipper 70 Class of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which doubled as Race 5. Nell Wyatt, a round the world crew member and Doctor from Wiltshire, UK, says: “We are really, really pleased. We had hoped to be on there more often but we are still delighted to be up on the podium for ther third time. It’s been great to celebrate here. Derry-Londonderry is a great place to be and we have had a wonderful party tonight.”

This is also the third time Unicef has gone on stage to collect a pennant and Laura Kearley, a 29 year old teacher from Victoria, Australia, says: “To be up on the podium and to have everyone cheer you on was so much fun. It’s really cool to be involved together as a team and to come second. To finish so strongly at the end – it couldn’t have gone better!”

Visit Seattle has now featured on the podium five times and in every second race since Race 4 to Sydney. But the novelty has in no way worn off with the team dancing and singing as it made its way to the stage. Visit Seattle round the world crew member Phil Whittaker, 62 from the UK, says: “It’s really cool to be here again. You’ve got to admire the other boats, we are all fighting really hard for this. It puts more pressure on us to be on the podium again but our Skipper Nikki is a great tactician, so we pin our hopes on her.”

Kathy Sheehan from was applauded for her brilliant photo of the Le Mans start of Race 12 and her teammates soon got to share the limelight, with Skipper Conall Morrison given a special award by his proud home town of Derry-Londonderry.

“To come home to Derry-Londonderry after being away for a year has been amazing. It has been incredible to sail around the world not only with the incredible people on but all the people on the race. It’s been an experience I’ll never forget and I’m really proud to share my home town with everyone.”

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