The successful bursary winners for the forthcoming Londonderry Clipper voyage have learned where and when they’ll be voyaging on the high seas in the months ahead.
Three of the bursary winners, Jilly St John, David Pollock and Conor Shortland, are part of a Derry City and Strabane District Council sponsored scheme that will see them embark on an exciting sailing adventure across the world, while Shane Brunker and Danny Bryce are recipients of the Clipper Race’s Voice of the Community Scheme, and will be representing the community sector on board the Derry~Londonderry~Doire yacht.
Details of the race legs were revealed to the bursary recipients this week as final preparations get underway for the start of the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race when it departs from London on 30 August 2015.
David Pollock (31) will be taking part in Leg 4 of the race that will see him sail from Albany, Western Australia and out of the Southern Ocean into the Tasman Sea on what has been described as a very challenging leg testing him mentally and physically. The leg will cover 4,325 miles and require him to be at sea for 29 days, participate in three races and visit three ports over the months of December 2015 and January 2016.
Conor Shortland (22) has been selected to take part in the 5th leg of the race sailing south to north across the Equator, starting off in the heat of the Southern Hemisphere through the islands of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. He will begin at the Whitsunday Islands on Australia’s Gold Coast before entering the wildness of the Northern Territories and sailing to Da Nang, Vietnam. In the second section of this leg, the team will cross the Equator and into the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea with its north east monsoon winds and some tropical heat towards Qingdao, China. Conor will be sea for 48 days covering over 6,300 miles, participating in two races and visiting three ports during January, February and March.
The first Community Bursary winner Shane Brunker (56) will take part in Leg 6 of the race departing from China towards the southern tip of Japan, crossing the International Date Line and sailing towards Seattle in the US. With two ports and one race to compete in during this leg, Shane will be 30 days at sea and will cover 5,700 miles during the months of March and April next year.
Jilly St. John (32) is participating in Leg 7 of the race which will see her depart from the US back out to the Pacific Ocean, heading south towards central America with its high temperatures and light winds. She will sail through the Caribbean with its tropical heat, trade winds and squalls before sailing into New York. This leg covers 5,400 miles and will see her and her team spend 32 days at sea competing in two races and visiting three ports during April to June 2016.
The final leg of the race, Leg 8, has been allocated to the second Community Bursary winner Danny Bryce (39). This homecoming leg will include a visit to the yacht’s home port at Derry~Londonderry as part of the planned week of maritime festival activities. Danny and the team will depart from the US across the Atlantic Ocean and into Europe for the final section of the race that will see them compete for the final stage of the race. The leg will require the team to be at sea for 24 days, take part in three races and stop at four ports, while covering an area of around 3,350 miles during the months of June and July next year.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Elisha McCallion said the allocation of the race legs to the bursary representatives was a hugely exciting event for everyone taking part.
“There has been huge anticipation and excitement among the two sets of bursary groups about what leg of the race they will be participating in. Now that they have been allocated their leg, they will be able to focus and prepare and put into good use the excellent training they have been receiving over the past months. This is a fantastic opportunity for all of them, not only to represent their city on board their local yacht, but to achieve a personal goal and be part of a team who are full of ambition, pride and determination. Their participation in the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Race will provide them with new skills and an opportunity to see the world, meet new people and be part of a world-wide celebration.
“I would like to extend my best wishes to all of our bursary representatives as they prepare to participate in their relevant leg in the race. We are extremely proud of you and delighted that you will be representing your city and region on board the Derry~Londonderry~Doire yacht and look forward to watching you and your team mates progress as you circumnavigate across the world,” she concluded.
All of the bursary winners have taken part in four weeks of compulsory Clipper Race training before joining the crew for their allocated leg of the race.
This is the third consecutive race to feature the Derry~Londonderry~Doire yacht. The race start will take place on 30 August and the city will once again host a week long Foyle Maritime Festival fro, 08-13 July of next year to welcome the Clipper Race fleet into the host port.