The Derry-Londonderry-Doire Clipper Race team has arrived into Seattle, USA, today after winning its third consecutive race, the Seattle Pacific Challenge.
The team finished the extremely tough Mighty Pacific leg after 23 and a half days at sea in Race 9 from Qingdao, China, having battled freezing conditions and big storms to be victorious with a hat trick of wins.
The Derry-Londonderry-Doire yacht docked in Bell Harbor, Pier 66, at 0800 local time, with Skipper Daniel Smith saying he was very proud of his crew for working so hard to win with a big margin over their rivals.
“I can’t believe we have a hat trick of wins behind us now and this is down to each one of the team pushing hard no matter what.
“It’s fantastic to be here. It has been a long, tough race with very arduous weather. It was a fantastic to see the snow on the mountains and the space needle as we came into Seattle this morning.
“With the temperatures being so cold and wet with snow flurries from time to time, we had to keep cycling the team through down below deck to warm up, with 2 hours being the maximum amount of time you could spend on deck. It was very tough on the crew.
“The strongest wind we experienced was over 60 knots, the waves were big and the seas were very confused.
“After the hat trick we are in second place overall, a good place to be and heading in the right direction,” Dan added.
British Round the world crew member Ruth Charles, who celebrates her birthday today, 14 April, said she was very happy to have arrived in time to celebrate in Seattle.
“I said at the beginning of the race in China that I wanted to be here in time for my birthday, and I am amazed we managed it.
“It was a tough race, and we are all extremely happy to be here. The conditions were some of the toughest of the entire trip, and one particularly scary moment saw me washed down the deck on my tether like a domino effect, with a few others, after a breaking wave. The hardest thing was the cold conditions on deck, and you would look forward to being able to get back into your sleeping bag again at the end of your watch.
“I am very much looking forward to spending time in Seattle, then pushing on again,” Ruth added.
The team also won Race 8, Da Nang, Vietnam, to Qingdao, China, and Race 7, The Whitsundays, Australia, to Da Nang, Vietnam.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Elisha McCallion extended her congratulations to the team. Sharing her best wishes on behalf of the people of the city and district, she said the win was a huge accolade for the team.
“On behalf of the people of the city and district, I would like to extend my congratulations to the Derry-Londonderry-Doire team on his fantastic achievement. We are absolutely delighted the team has secured their third win despite the challenging conditions and tough competition from the other teams.
“We are very proud to be an Official Team Sponsor and Host Port, and hugely excited as we eagerly follow the Clipper Race fleet ahead of its arrival here next July for the Foyle Maritime Festival celebrations. Our participation in the race is a fantastic opportunity for us to promote our city and region, and the team is doing a great job of that by continuing to win races and promoting our city and region. Well done to everyone involved and good luck in the next leg of the race, we can’t wait to welcome you home in July,” she added.
The other 11 teams are due into Seattle over the next six days.