Throwback Thursday: Home-port win for Derry~Londonderry~Doire

02 July 2015

In this week’s Throwback Thursday, we look at the most memorable moment from June during the last edition of the race.

“My fondest memory is winning the race from New York into Derry-Londonderry and the reception that we got coming down the Foyle River,” says Leg 8 2013-14 edition crew member, Clodagh Whelan, a 51-year-old former Business Development Advisor from Dublin, Ireland. She was on board the home port team entry, Derry~Londonderry~Doire for the penultimate leg of the eight-leg series.

On the classic 2,850 mile race route across the Atlantic there is the potential for some very fast sailing. After a nail biting race, Derry~Londonderry~Doire was victorious, closely followed by its competitors Team Garmin and Old Pulteney.

Reliving her experience on the race, Clodagh says: “The Parade of Sail up the Hudson River past Manhattan with the Statue of Liberty in the background was a very special moment. Everyone wanted that team home port win in Derry-Londonderry, and particularly for our Skipper Sean McCarter with it being his home port.

“Skipper Sean called the tactics trying to make the most of the Gulf Stream early because the winds were forecast to be light so we wanted to try and get in as easterly a position as possible. This gave us a good head start. We had a few cold days but we were further south than some of the other teams so we didn’t see any Icebergs.

“The route to Derry-Londonderry was blocked by a big high pressure system so it was a very strategic race knowing when to make a call on when we thought it was going to move.”

After a tense race, Derry~Londonderry~Doire recorded a rare home port win into Northern Ireland where it and all the teams were met with a very warm welcome.

Arriving into port to a hero’s welcome, Clodagh recalls: “It was amazing to arrive in Derry-Londonderry as a home port win. Words cannot describe it. All the crew were grinning ear to ear with joy, it was a great experience. The city turned out to meet the fleet and the hospitality was out of this world. A fleet of boats came out to welcome us and escorted us into the marina whilst dolphins swam beside us, that was particularly special.”

Clodagh will continue to fly the flag for the Northern Irish entry in the 2015-16 edition of the race, taking part the All Australian Leg 4. It will be the third time Derry~Londonderry~Doire has featured in the world's longest yacht race and will compete under the guidance of Skipper Daniel Smith, hosting the race crews once again in what is set to be the most spectacular celebration to date.

“When I signed up again there was a bit of nervousness about meeting a new team and Skipper but after Crew Allocation and our team building that soon disappeared.I will definitely be in Derry-Londonderry for the welcoming party; it will be a very different experience watching the team come in from the dockside this time instead of being on it!

“My friends and family think I’m mad but they know I’ve been bitten by the bug. It’s a very different experience doing a different part of the race with different crew and Skipper. I’m sure they will join me in Derry-Londonderry to cheer on the team,” Clodagh adds.

To watch Derry~Londonderry~Doire receive a hero’s welcome, click here

To watch the action from Leg 8, click here

The 2015-16 Race is almost full with Leg 8 sold out with a waiting list and limited availability on 5 and 6. We are now recruiting for the 2017-18 Race. To find out more, click here

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