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Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race: Sir Robin praises Derry-Londonderry

by Clipper Round the World 12 Jul 07:15 BST
Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race - Sir Robin, Ralph Morton from the Seattle Sports Commission, and the Visit Seattle team. © Martin McKeown

Legendary sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has praised Derry-Londonderry as the Northern Irish city embraces the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race for a fourth consecutive visit.

Sir Robin, the Founder and Chairman of the Clipper Race, has sailed into the walled city from Les Sables d'Olonne, France, where he was celebrating the 50th anniversary of when he began the epic voyage that would see him become the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the globe.

Sir Robin says: "It was lovely returning to Derry-Londonderry and heading up the Foyle, I'm just disappointed that I didn't beat the entire Clipper Race fleet in!

"I think the partnership we've had with the city is why the public give us such great support. This is a place where the city got behind the event and when you get that combination of an enthusiastic city and the spectacle of the boats and crew, you can do so much more. And I think the result has been a major event - I give the city of Derry-Londonderry full credit for that success."

Fresh from their win into Derry-Londonderry, the Visit Seattle team and Skipper Nikki Henderson cheered Sir Robin into the Foyle Port Marina. Nikki is the youngest ever Skipper in Clipper Race history and the victory means her Visit Seattle team is now in the box-seat to take out the overall Clipper Race win.

Sir Robin said: "Nikki's performance was just fantastic, especially as I had Ralph Morton from the Seattle Sports Commission in my crew for the sail to Derry-Londonderry and he was following it avidly."

This is the first visit to Derry-Londonderry and Northern Ireland for Ralph, who played a pivotal role in staging the successful race Stopover in Seattle earlier in the race. He said: "I've heard so much about the city and the Foyle Maritime Festival and it is so exciting to think about all the things I'm going to see. And when you go to a town you want to experience their culture and sailing is a big part of who Derry-Londonderry is.

"Being a Clipper Race Host Port is a great way to welcome visitors to your city but also gives you an opportunity to interact with other places around the world."

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