Round-the-world yacht race back to Derry in 2014 and 2016
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will return to Londonderry in 2014 and 2016, it has been confirmed.
The Clipper Race is the world's longest ocean race at 40,000 miles and visits 15 ports on six continents.
The races will take place in 2013-14 and 2015-16, with Derry festivals planned for July 2014 and 2016.
The Derry-Londonderry yacht took part for the first time in the 2011-12 edition of the race and its visit attracted over 120,000 spectators.
The announcement was made on Monday by the Mayor of Derry, Martin Reilly.
"I am delighted that Derry City Council has continued to work in partnership with Clipper Ventures to have a Derry-Londonderry yacht in the 2013-14 and 2015-16 edition of the race," he said.
"July 2012 was a phenomenal experience for everyone and was the stepping stone to the city's UK City of Culture 2013 celebrations.
"The Clipper showcased the city and achieved a PR value of £104m in media coverage as well as generating almost 8,000 bed nights and achieving 98% positive comments in relation to civic pride.
"This further commitment with Clipper Ventures will form an integral part of the city's international campaign to market the city's business, tourism and cultural offering as well as forming a key element of the legacy of City of Culture and help us further develop the city's international profile."
The founder and chairman of the Clipper Race, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, said: "I am extremely pleased to be here to welcome Derry to the next two editions of the Clipper Race.
"This will enable the city to capitalise on its many achievements during the last Clipper Race.
"With our brand new fleet of 12 matched 70-foot ocean-racing yachts the 2013-14 edition of the Clipper Race will be the largest we have ever produced."
Sharon O'Connor, town clerk and chief executive of Derry City Council, said the partnership with Clipper Ventures will provide a unique platform.
"Following the success of Clipper 2011-12 we have continued to work closely with Clipper Ventures and build a positive legacy for the city.
"We know that the Clipper Race provides us with a unique opportunity to profile the city and region and showcase its potential as a location for hosting international events, trade and visitors.
"Participation will also assist us in further developing our maritime offering and confirms an international event for summer 2014, helping the city sustain legacy from the 2013 cultural year."
Sean McCarter, 31, and originally from Derry, has been chosen as the skipper of the new yacht.
"In my career I have had the privilege of achieving so many of my personal goals, but to be named as skipper of my home entry in the Clipper Race is one of the greatest honours I have ever received," he said.
"I'm looking forward to leading my team around the world while helping to place Derry-Londonderry firmly on the global map."