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CORONAVIRUS LATEST: Clipper race, which had been due to arrive in Derry in July, has been postponed

Another devastating blow for the local economy

clipperfoylebridge

The Clipper race had been due to arrive in Derry in July.

The round-the-world Clipper yacht race, which had been due to arrive in Derry in July, has been postponed.

Organisers of the race said they had made the decision because of the ongoing outbreak of Covid-19.

The race's stopover in Derry was to be the centrepiece of the week-long Foyle Maritime Festival.

If the race has been postponed, it seems unlikely that the festival will go ahead - another massive blow to the local economy as the impact of the coronavirus continues to hit all aspects of life.

In a statement this morning, organisers of the Clipper Race said it was a very difficult decision.

"With the ongoing global outbreak of Covid-19 and the enormous impact it has created on world travel, the Clipper 2019-20 Race has been postponed with immediate effect.

"This decision has been in no way taken lightly. Our crew are currently under quarantine in Subic Bay, Philippines, where the Clipper Race fleet has been berthed since Sunday 15 March. The island of Luzon (where Subic Bay is located) is currently under "enhanced community quarantine".

"In addition, the fleet was due to race across the North Pacific Ocean from 21 March towards Seattle.

"However, with the city currently in a state of emergency and travel and medical insurance restrictions in the United States, we could not allow our teams to depart without a viable destination.

"This, along with the growing global uncertainty on how the situation could develop in the coming months, meant postponing the race was the safest option for all involved."

The organisers said the Clipper 2019-20 Race has three legs remaining.

"These race stages will now be postponed for approximately ten months, when the remaining circumnavigation will be completed. This length of postponement allows for us to avoid adverse weather patterns on the remainder of our global route.

"All Leg 6, 7 and 8 crew, along with our circumnavigators, will be able to rejoin the race when it resumes next year.

"This postponement will have an impact on the timing of future races. The next full edition of the Clipper Race will start in the summer of 2022. More details on this will be confirmed at a later date.

"We are extremely disappointed to postpone the remainder of the Clipper 2019-20 Race.

"We are proud of all of our intrepid crew for having competed in this race edition since it departed London and look forward to welcoming all of our upcoming crew next year when the race continues.

"We are also grateful to all of our crew, supporters and Race Partners for their continued support."

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