Clipper Race: Crowd cheers as fleet leaves Derry

boats

The Clipper Race fleet has left Londonderry after a two week stopover.

The 11 boats left in a Parade of Sail on Sunday afternoon and made their way to Greencastle in County Donegal. Crew members will sail from there to Liverpool in the last leg of the race.

Tens of thousands of people descended on Derry's quay for the nine day Foyle Maritime Festival, according to council.

The Voyages event and fireworks display was the highlight on Friday night.

Image copyright Derry City & Strabane District Council
Image caption The Peace Bridge was closed for an hour on Friday night to accommodate the Voyages event
Image copyright Derry City & Strabane District Council
Image caption Two firework displays flew into the air in sync over the River Foyle

Derry man Conall Morrison and Roseann McGlinchey, from Donegal, both received a warm welcome home when their boat berthed in the marina on 10 July, after being at sea for the past 11 months.

They finished their penultimate race in seventh place after completing the 3,000 nautical mile journey across the Atlantic Ocean from New York City to Derry.

Mayor of Derry and Strabane John Boyle said: "It was a sad moment as we waved farewell to the Clipper Race fleet today after an eventful week of celebration.

"We have welcomed visitors from all over the world over the past week and it has been fantastic to see Derry and the wider North West region profiled in such a positive way on a global platform.

"Once again we've demonstrated our ability to stage an international event generating substantial revenue for the local economy, and enhancing the region's profile as an exciting and unique visitor destination."

Image caption Family, friends and people from across the north west cheered for the crew members of the 12 boats as they left to finish the final leg of the race

The parade of sailing boats left the Foyle at lunchtime heading for Liverpool.

Race 13 will conclude with a 20 mile sprint up the River Mersey to the Royal Albert Dock, in which the top three teams will be awarded 3, 2 and 1 points respectively.

Commenting on the final stage, Clipper Race director Mark Light said: "The sprint finish will be all out match racing to the line, and with every team on the edge with so much at stake, tensions are already building across the fleet.

"With the competitive racing that's been demonstrated over the past 40,000 nm, I expect this will go right down to the wire. No one knows which way it's going to go."

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