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25/09/2021

Hundreds of people line the quay in Derry to bid a fond farewell to the Clipper teams as the Foyle Maritime Festival draws to a close

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Hundreds of people lined Derry’s Quay to bid farewell to the Clipper Race teams as they set sail for Liverpool ON the final stage of their global adventure and the final day of the hugely successful Foyle Maritime Festival. The send off comes after 10 days of celebrations as the city played host to the crew of the 11 visiting yachts during their stopover in the city. Up to 220,000 people are estimated to have enjoyed the packed programme of nautical themed activities during the Foyle Maritime Festival which took over the city from July 14-22. The festival finale event on Friday night included a spectacular Voyages and Parade of Light Showcase, an atmospheric performance featuring aerial performers, an illuminated flotilla of boats on the Foyle, fireworks and animation, retelling the epic voyage of Mannanan Mac Lir. On Sunday the city turned out en-masse to give the fleet a final send-off after a memorable week for both the crew and the thousands who shared in the welcome celebrations, as they took part in a stunning Parade of Sail before their final departure to Liverpool to the race finale. The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle, led the city in waving off the fleet as it made its way back up the Foyle to the official race start at Greencastle in Co Donegal. Speaking after the event Mayor Boyle said the festival had been a major success for the city and district and wider North West region. He said he was extremely proud of the city and the way in which locals and visitors turned out in their tens of thousands over the past 10 days to take part in the Foyle Maritime Festival and enjoy the Clipper Race stopover. “It was a sad moment as we waved farewell to the Clipper Race fleet today after an eventful week of celebration. We have welcomed visitors from all over the world over the past week and it has been fantastic to see Derry and the wider North West region profiled in such a positive way on a global platform. Once again we’ve demonstrated our ability to stage an international event generating substantial revenue for the local economy, and enhancing the region’s profile as an exciting and unique visitor destination. “All of the Clipper crew have really enjoyed their stay here, they have been overwhelmed with the warm welcome and the hospitality shown to them by local businesses and the people here. The Foyle Maritime Festival really showcases our commitment to maximising the opportunity to build on the successes of the past few years in hosting large scale events and to explore our options in terms of utilising our many wonderful resources such as the River Foyle as part of a long-term tourism strategy for the future. “I want to thank all the staff at Derry City and Strabane District Council, Clipper Ventures, Foyle Port, the Loughs Agency, Tourism NI, Dupont Kevlar, Diageo, the North West Regional College, Translink and our many sponsors and support agencies and partners, as well as our citizens and visitors for making this such a special celebration for the city. "Good luck to all the teams in the final stage of the race – you have the support and best wishes of the entire city and district behind you. Make sure and share your memories and be ambassadors for Derry and Strabane.” This is the fourth time the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has included Derry as a stopover city, and the celebrations around the visit have now become an established highlight of the city’s events programme, with plans currently being developed to host the Foyle Maritime Festival biennially.

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