Derry will host a round the world yacht race, it was announced today.
The UK City of Culture for 2013 will receive the 10-strong fleet in July 2012 with a festival at the end of the final transatlantic stage.
It will also be the first time the North has been represented in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race with a boat from the city. The event attracts a global audience of more than 460 million people.
Derry City mayor Colum Eastwood said: “We’ve partnered with Clipper as we believe it provides a world class opportunity to showcase the city internationally while supporting business, education and cultural links ahead of the UK City of Culture 2013.
“It’s an important building block in developing the city’s reputation as a location for international events and brings fully into use the full urban quayside of the River Foyle.
“This is the catalyst project that will bring together public, private, education, sports and community interests to build a legacy for the maritime, tourism, business and cultural interests of the city.”
On board the yacht will be a team of people from all walks of life, many of whom have never sailed before.
The race was set up by Robin Knox Johnston, the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world, to give ordinary people the chance to do something extraordinary.
Johnston said: “The race offers a unique platform to showcase the city around the world, both for business and tourism. We hope that, as other cities and countries have discovered, participation in the race will enable you to build a unique legacy for the city that will last for years to come.”