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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: -2°C
Chris Ison The veteran British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious
naval gazing

Round-the-world yacht race route changed due to British navy missile testing

The Derry-Londonderry-Doire team is currently leading the 20-year-old race into Derry.

THE COURSE OF a round-the-world yacht race due into Derry tomorrow has been changed at the last minute due to missile testing by the British navy.

The world’s fifth most powerful navy is testing its military hardware near St Kilda, in the Outer Hebrides.

The course of the Clipper Round The World yacht race was extended a few days ago because the clipper fleet was unexpectedly quick across the Atlantic Ocean, making the 3,100 mile journey in record time.

Kilda capture St Kilda, or Hirta, is a rocky archipelago off the northwest coast of Scotland

This extension was then reduced after the organisers were informed that the British navy was carrying out planned missile tests on the route.

In a statement, the organisers said:

Due to planned missile firing tests by the Navy, the mark at St Kilda has been removed and a new one inserted at Rathlin Island.

The final finish line will remain the same but the fleet will cross it from east to west.

Race director Justin Taylor added:

This will have the effect of shortening the course a little but with the dying breeze and lower boat speeds the fleet should still start to cross the finish line late on 5 July, with the first teams arriving in Derry-Londonderry on 6 July.

The Derry~Londonderry~Doire team is currently leading the race into Derry and on course for a home port victory which is very rare.

If they win, it will be the first time in the 20-year history of the clipper race that a home team has won into its port in consecutive races.

Spokeswoman Claire Glancy told 

At the moment the race is incredibly tight with 1.5 miles between the front two boats.

The winning team is expected to cross the finish line off Greencastle, Co. Donegal around 3am tonight and then arrive into Derry around 8am tomorrow morning.

Read: Sailor with suspected spinal injuries rescued during yacht race

Read: Irish ships in the Mediterranean rescued almost 9,000 migrants in 2015

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