The Derry-Londonderry-Doire skipper for this year’s Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, Daniel Smith, says he is looking forward to the warm Londonderry welcome when he and his team moor up during Clipper Fest week next year.
With a strong background in sailing, Daniel said he was bitten by the sailing bug at a very young age and, after a diversion into teaching, decided sailing was the career for him.
“I have been sailing from a very young child, initially in our family yacht, just for pleasure, but as I got a little bit older I started racing dinghies in the Scottish national Squad,” he said.
It was during university that Daniel started skippering yachts.
“This became a summer holiday job while I was at university and after I was a school teacher before going back to teaching sailing full time and I have been doing that for about the last 10 years or so.
“With sailing I really enjoy the adventure and I really enjoy the teaching side of things and working with people.
“The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race gives me an opportunity to do both of those things.”
He became involved with the Clipper team after applying for the job last year.
“I had the application and an interview and a skipper selection, I then started running training courses for them towards the end of last year and began my role as race skipper this year,” he said.
The Derry-Londonderry-Doire has almost 60 crew members world wide, all of whom are novice sailors who must undergo a rigorous four-week training regime to see them fit to man the yacht.
“The crew members will be on the boat at different times, so I will see the 60 different crew during the race over the eight legs of the race.”
Asked if the crew was coming to Londonderry again this year, Daniel said: “We are. We are really looking forward to it. That is going to be one of the highlights for the team and for myself”.
The whole idea behind the Clipper Race, he said, is to encourage novices: “It allows people who have never sailed before to be able to race an ocean yacht.”