Throngs of onlookers have greeted the city of Londonderry’s competing Clipper yacht as it sailed up the Foyle this morning.
The Londonderry-Derry-Doire yacht has come in first in the Clipper round-the-world race’s Atlantic leg, and was greeted by crowds as she sailed up the river, turned at the Peace Bridge, and came in to dock at the pontoon at around 11am.
It is estimated that a few thousand turned out to cheer in the vessel – captained by Sean McCarter – as it arrived.
The crew have now disembarked and are believed to be dealing with passport control and other paperwork-related matters.
Earning 12 points for the victory, the crew of Derry~Londonderry~Doire are just five points behind OneDLL on the overall leaderboard with two races to go in the 16-race series.
The Northern Irish team is now in serious contention for an overall podium place in the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race.
Unusual weather patterns, due to a persistent high pressure system off the west coast of Ireland, caused the course to be shortened and a cut-off finish time introduced.
Team Garmin and Old Pulteney were in second and third places respectively with the Londonderry yacht closest to the Donegal coast at midday yesterday.
A maritime festival began in the city on Saturday with the quayside transformed into a festive village with boats, music and a continental market.
The skipper of Derry-Londonderry-Doire was born in Donegal and brought up in the Maiden City.
He said: “I couldn’t be any prouder of how this team has performed. We have always said this is our race and there was no way we were going to let anyone else stand on that podium in Derry/Londonderry ahead of us.
“To everyone back in Derry/Londonderry – we’ve waited a long time for this moment and we can’t wait to celebrate it with you.”
The Red Arrows will fly over Lough Foyle on June 29 to close the festival ahead of Race 15 to Den Helder in Holland.