The Londonderry skipper Sean McCarter believes a series of short races and the inspiration of a voyage home in June gives his crew every chance of a podium finish in the Clipper Round the World Race in July.
Speaking in San Franciso before sailing south for Panama, Mr McCarter said the Londonderry’s early pace-setting in several races had contributed to its high placings.
The Londonderry is currently in fourth place overall but consistently owned a top three position for much of the race.
Mr McCarter reckons the Londonderry can get back in the top three.
“I think we’ve shown in almost every race so far, we’re really quick over the first couple of thousand miles, and I still haven’t put my finger on it exactly, for some reason, we seem to peter out after that
“So yeah, all the races from here on, I mean this one (from San Franciso to Panama) it’s got a bit of uncertainty in it, and it is a bit longer, it’s 3,300 miles, but after this one, it’s a short one up to Jamaica, which we’re looking forward to, it’s the one up to New York, which is pretty short, we’re looking forward to.
“Then it’s our home port race to Derry, which, you know, we’ll pull out all the stops for, and then two final short races...we’re really excited about it. Races that suit us and we’ve proven we can do well in.”
He also revealed some of the tactics, which have been serving the Londonderry well sofar, on the voyage down to Panama.
“I don’t want to give too much away too soon,” he said. “It’s a classic in shore, off shore, I guess, on the way down.
“There’s the California current. There’s a sort of diurnal wind variation. You know, there’ll be stronger in shore during the day and lighter at night and I guess it’s going to be a case of playing that fine line. going in enough to get a better breeze during the day and get a better angle, and making sure not to get caught in there when the breeze goes light in the evenings, but, yeah, don’t want to give too much away too soon.”
Meanwhile, crew member Andrew Taylor (aged 46) is on the road to full recovery after falling overboard during the Pacific leg and is on board for the remainder of the race.
“I’m thrilled to bits to be back on the boat. There were a couple of days and I didn’t think I was going to be. The medical care here in San Fran’s been superb. Physio’s been great. I’m feeling stronger. I’m feeling fitter,” he said.
“The crew is in good shape. Everybody’s kind of ready to go. I’m pretty stoked about being back on the boat actually,” he added.
Andrew says his leg remains sore following a collision with the Londonderry rudder during the incident but that his physio has advised exercise will improve its condition.
“I need to do lots of exercise on the boat. I need to look after it and make sure I stay fit and healthy,” he said.
At present, he admits he’s not quite ready to throw himself fully into every task on the boat.
“There are going to be some things I’m probably going to avoid for the first few days. I’m really not fit enough and strong enough to do a few bits and pieces on the boat, so I’m going to avoid that.
“But we’ve got such a strong crew on board, I don’t see that as being a really big issue, really.”
And he spoke emotionally about the great support he’s been given by his family and how it had been good catching up with them in California.
“Family are really pleased I’m back on the boat. They kind of grit their teeth a bit when they say that. I’ve had a long chat with all of them over the course of the past few days in San Fran, which has been really good.
“My parents are so supportive of everything I’ve done. It’s been really cool talking to them actually,” he said.