In a fairytale ending to the last transatlantic leg of the Clipper Round the World Race the Londonderry crew claimed first place, eight miles ahead of their nearest rivals when racing stopped at 1pm on Sunday.
The Londonderry arrived home in a blaze of glory on Monday as thousands of spectators and well-wishers lined the quayside, eager to get a glimpse of the winners of the 2850 mile transatlantic race from New York to their homeport.
As the team approached the picturesque setting of Greencastle, County Donegal, a flotilla of boats was already in place to escort the champions up the River Foyle to Foyle Marina.
Skipper Sean McCarter, was overwhelmed by the reception as thousands of people gathered along quayside from the marina all the way up to Peace Bridge in the heart of the city.
He said: “After almost 40,000 miles it’s unbelievable to be sailing into Derry- Londonderry and even more-so in first place. We have had several boats come out to meet us at 0600 this morning and the flotilla has been growing ever since.
“Thank you for the amazing support and look forward to seeing you very soon!”
Round the world crew member Conor o’ Byrne, an Office of the Garda from Dublin, was relieved to be on dry land after a challenging few weeks at sea.
He said: “When we found out yesterday that we had won it was just a huge feeling of relief. It’s been a rough two and a half weeks.
“We’ve been so anxious watching our lead whittle away from 100 miles plus to slipping to second place the day before yesterday - it was heart-breaking.”