The first yachts from the Clipper 2017-18 Race fleet will sail into Derry-Londonderry ready to take their place as the centre-piece of the city’s world renowned Foyle Maritime Festival.
This year’s festival, aptly named ‘Voyages’, runs from 14th – 22nd July, 2018 and will attract tens of thousands of visitors from near and far for fun and adventure along the banks of the magnificent River Foyle. An exciting programme of entertainment and animation, including a food festival, artisan markets, live music and a show stopping showcase, will see crowds of up to 160,000 enjoy everything that this unique setting has to offer during one of Ireland’s largest events this summer.
Mingling among the throngs will be the biggest ever gathering of Clipper Race crew, who will have raced across the Atlantic on the penultimate ‘Legenderry’ Race from New York where they will have been waved off by the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council and other dignitaries who will be promoting the region during their Stateside visit.
As the most popular stopover of the entire race, Derry-Londonderry will be welcoming not just the crews but their families and friends who will travel here especially given the strong bond that has built up between the city and the Clipper Race. The heroes’ welcome that the crews receive as they arrive on the River Foyle – and the fond farewell when they set sail around 12 days later – has become a highlight of both the Clipper Race and the Foyle Maritime Festival.
Conall Morrison from Derry is the Skipper of HotelPlanner.com, one of the 11 yachts set to arrive from July 10th. Conall said: “Being from Derry-Londonderry, I know exactly what the race means to the city. I was on the banks of the Foyle to see the fleet arrive in 2016 and it was fantastic to hear the Clipper Race will return to my home city. I know that sailing into Derry-Londonderry will be the proudest day in my whole career!”
Jacqueline Whoriskey, Festival and Events Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council said: “We are counting down the 50 days until we welcome back the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet, as we act as a host port for the fourth time during our internationally renowned Foyle Maritime Festival. The city has developed a very strong relationship with the Clipper Race and the Derry leg of the visit is a very emotional event for the race participants. The famous Derry welcome as the teams conclude the race from New York City across the Atlantic Ocean, sailing up the River Foyle to rapturous applause, has become one of the Foyle Maritime Festival highlights and similarly thousands of well-wishers once again line the quay as the race departs after a week of celebration and festivities.”
The inclusion of the Clipper Race as part of the festival portfolio enables visitors to get up close and experience the buzz and adrenalin that a competition of this calibre creates. Over the course of the festival visitors have the opportunity to meet the crew, Skippers and race teams while they are given detailed tours of these magnificent racing vessels or enjoy a trip on board one of the racing yachts as they motor up and down the River Foyle every day.
And that’s just the start of it! A Twilight Paddle, a Foyle Safari, Foods of the Foyle Tour, Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga, River Races and sailing taster sessions are just some of the other activities you can indulge in right on the River Foyle. Or if you’d rather keep your feet on dry land, you can still find out about the river, ocean and all things maritime at The Science of Water festival zone.
Food and song, music and memories will all be on offer as well for the thousands of locals and visitors who descend on Derry-Londonderry this summer.
The full festival programme is available online at www.foylemaritimefestival.com or you can follow updates on Facebook and on Twitter. Please note that a number of the water-based activities must be pre-booked and an age limit may apply. Check the programme for details.