Following schoolteacher Pod McConway attempting to secure victory for the 'Legenderrys' in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to Derry-Londonderry.
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This programme contains some strong language.
Ten yachts, 40,000 miles,
500 competitors from more than 40 countries.
This is the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race,
the longest ocean challenge on the planet.
Starting in Southampton, the ten-month voyage
will circumnavigate the globe in eight legs.
It's crewed entirely by non-professional sailors,
who've each paid £40,000
for the privilege of taking part for the full year.
For City of Culture in 2013,
Derry City Council has sponsored one of the ten yachts,
This is the story
of three unemployed young people from the city.
No, never, never been on a boat before at all.
They'll take turns to join the crew for one leg of the voyage each.
I'm here, I've got here and there's no going back now.
I can't pinpoint one emotion.
It's like nervousness, excitement, feel a wee bit sick.
Niall Boyle worked hard on the first race from Southampton,
but fluky winds meant the boat trailed last into Rio de Janeiro,
where he handed over to Shauna O'Neill, who helped crew the boat
into a respectable fifth place in Cape Town.
Now, it's Pod's turn to show
if he's got what it takes to become one of the Legenderrys.
After arriving last into their stopover in Halifax, Nova Scotia,
the Derry-Londonderry crew needs to step up its game
for the most important race of the competition -
the much-awaited voyage to their home port.
Nobody wants it more than we do, OK? What team are we?
-We are the Legenderrys!
Come on, let's do it, OK? Come on!
25-year-old unemployed schoolteacher Pod McConway
is the last of the Derry City Council bursary winners
to join the race, and he's feeling the pressure.
We'll probably be leaving in about eight minutes' time or so,
so I can't pinpoint one emotion.
It's like nervousness, excitement, feel a wee bit sick.
We've got 2,500 miles between us and stardom.
# A broken arrow fills the hole... #
The positions for the actual start, Ben is going to be up on the bow,
in the pit we're going to have Emma and Lizzie. OK?
On the yankee sheet, we've got Danny and Pod.
# Headed for the winter sun... #
We're going to have Shona and Orla on one running backstay
and Padraig, you're going to be on John's mainsheet back here with me.
# I'm sailing out into the wind... #
Five, four, three, two, one.
AIR HORN BLARES
Get these sheets in, guys!
As the boats jockey for a good start,
the Derry-Londonderry has to act quickly to avoid a collision.
And just in the nick of time!
That was good, very exciting.
A lot of boats trying to push us out and over the line early,
but we managed to sneak across, I think,
with very good timing, actually, on that one.
It was one of our better starts, that,
and great to see the fleet leaving with spinnakers flying.
After nine months circumnavigating the world,
Mark's team has been on the coveted winner's podium only once,
in third place.
Now, they have to race across the Atlantic Ocean,
one of the roughest and most unpredictable seas in the world,
as they battle for the finish line in just under three weeks' time.
To make the best of every moment of sailing,
the crew is split into two watches with sleep
and watch duties carried out in rotation 24 hours a day.
They each take turns on "mother" duty,
which means cooking for the entire boat.
Pod is on the team of Tom Way from Portsmouth who, at 22-years-old,
is one of the youngest watch leaders in the entire fleet.
The other watch leader, John Harkin from Derry, has brothers
Danny and Padraig O'Sullivan from Donegal on his team.
But, he's especially delighted to have his daughter, Jodie,
onboard for the homeward leg.
We're just trying to, I suppose, tease out
the most amount of power that we can out of these sails
and every five minutes, I'm just checking the tell-tales.
The wind's very fluky. We're getting really heavy spurts of wind
but then equally, we're getting really light spurts.
It's just to make sure the guys at the back are aware of that.
Catching the wind in their sails is vital for maximising their speed,
but by choosing to follow the lead boats on a northerly route,
they're soon battling against strong headwinds and the heavy ocean swell.
Can we get that message forward?
It's been a baptism of fire for some people that have just joined
I think, really. But they're doing well,
we're racing well, so I'm happy.
Just a bit wet, cold and knackered.
As the fleet separates, it's not long before they feel
the full force of the mighty Atlantic Ocean.
The angle of the boat, combined with the harsh wind and the cold,
makes work on deck a real endurance test.
Dan, you go number two, Pod, three.
Action man, Tom, is in his element,
but Pod is showing definite signs of the dreaded seasickness.
..it's all leaning on the sheet.
Pod, on the drops, give it a little ease to start with.
It's time for the watch to change over
and it soon becomes clear that Pod is not the only one suffering.
I'm not feeling too super at the minute.
Just sitting here and having a wee chill out
and hoping when I get up there and get a bit of fresh air I'll be fine.
Always worried about losing people to seasickness,
specially in weather like this,
when you need as much muscle and grunt as you can get.
There's three out of six struggling.
We can't change sails for three people, with three crew.
Pod, pull it round the way.
The pressure also builds on Tom's watch,
with Pod's condition worsening by the hour.
But there's no relief below deck,
where the motion of the boat is even worse.
As the boat heaves, so does Pod's stomach,
and he's lucky to make it to the head.
People aren't eating what they normally would.
Some aren't having food at all.
The big concern to me would be they're not really drinking enough.
Everything's thrown up... Sore head...
This is as turbulent as I've seen down below,
in all the stuff that we were in.
I don't know what it is, if it's a short, choppy sea or whatever?
-It's quite high and short.
The relentless sea is causing havoc above and below deck
and has claimed another victim in Dr Bill McConnell.
I'll try to get the Dramamine,
but putting two of them in and not swallowing them.
Just let them absorb in the side of your mouth.
Hopefully, these will work.
I feel like shit.
I think we've another three or four days of this
and then the wind's meant to change,
so it'll be downwind sailing, so it'll be smoother, hopefully.
Well, that's the plans.
# On a day
# In the past
# I had a dream...
The loss of crew has taken its toll on the watch leaders, Tom and John.
Their turn on mother watch is a welcome respite from the rigours
above deck, but there's not much cooking going on.
# Dream... #
The problem about both us being on mother watch,
if we get heavy conditions like that, it puts a big strain on Mark.
What you guys have to do is think about what you're doing
and be aware of what's going on.
There's an awful lot of times there when people are trying to
struggle to do something on their own
and everybody else is sat with their thumb up their arse.
He has to cover both watches, day and night,
so then it burns him out.
There's only so much I can do every day on here, OK?
I can't be up all the time, I can't be telling you every single step.
# I open my eyes... #
I haven't slept for six days.
# Turned over in my bed... #
The race slips from focus
as the casualties below deck begin to mount.
It looks like Bill has done more damage than he first realised.
Moving around on the next watch that I was on,
I realised that I'd maybe done
a bit more than I thought.
And I think Mark realised that I was moving a bit slowly
and gingerly, so he asked me how I was and just said,
"Right, go off to your bunk for a few hours
"and get a little bit of rest and see how it is."
After seven days at sea, the Derry boat's position has slipped badly.
The race is now split into two groups - one headed north
and the other southwards.
Mark decides that their best chance
is to continue behind the lead boats on a northerly route.
The good news is that Pod seems to have turned a corner
and he valiantly goes back on deck.
Not too bad, as long as I sit down and have, like,
deep breaths, I'll be all right.
I took a few different types of medications and stuff,
so hopefully, now, that's me sorted.
But sticking to the route means that the boat is still battling
against the strong headwinds and the conditions remain rough.
Suddenly, the situation takes
a serious turn for the worse for Jodie.
The problem is the least wee bit that she eats or drinks,
she's throwing up after it,
so she's not really showing any signs of getting any better.
She really hasn't drank at all now in 24 hours.
I mean, she hasn't drunken an egg-cup-full, which concerns me.
By day nine of the race, Jodie's condition has become dangerous.
# I just want to watch... #
Jodie's not feeling particularly well.
We're going to have to move her out, down into the lower hospital bunk,
so the medics can attend to her a bit better.
Seasickness is one of those things, the longer it lasts,
the more serious it gets.
People get dehydrated and eventually, after two, three days,
it starts to become a real problem and we need to start getting fluids
into them and if they don't react to that,
then it's potentially fatal after four or five days of that,
so we need to think about getting them off the boat.
# Moonlight, open my eyes... #
When you're seasick, you feel you're letting everybody down.
That's a big part of it, you're not pulling your weight,
you're letting the team down.
As well as the illness, you go through all that as well.
It's terrible to go through.
MUSIC: "Gymnopedie No. 1" by Erik Satie
Relief finally comes as the seas turn to calm.
It's a chance for the beleaguered crew to recover,
but there's a price to pay in the race
as the boat slips to a disastrous eighth place.
-How's it going, Dan?
Since about two o'clock this morning, the wind has just died.
With little to do, the crew on Tom's watch amuse themselves.
A bit more, it's not bang tight yet.
Can you actually sit up now?
So, we have to get a bow shot doing this.
-Why am I going to the bow?
-Being Kate Winslet.
You're being Kate Winslet.
SHE LAUGHS Where's my payment?
So you just have to be saying, "Jack, I'm flying!"
# You're here... #
I'm the king of the world! Whoo!
# My heart will go on and on... #
-Thanks. That was fun.
-Ahh, very sweet.
But for the senior crew from Derry,
the calm waters are no laughing matter
as they see their chances for a good race finish into their home port
slip away from them.
This is depressing.
The weather system that we should have had obviously has changed.
We were hoping to stay with the front group and now
the front group have got a breeze and got away in front of us.
The boat may be losing out in the race,
but Jodie's strength's begins to come back as she rises
from her sickbed and fights to get some food into her body.
-Can I give you a hand out?
-Ah, I'll roll out. I'm OK, Tom.
Though still in agony, Bill has dosed himself with heavy
painkillers and struggles to get on his feet again.
-How are you feeling, Jodie, at the moment?
-Much better, thankfully.
I think a day of eating and wee bit of respite now
up on deck with fresh air will do me the world of good today.
Yeah, I think so. Well, you look a lot better anyway. Good thing.
Welcoming Jodie above deck for the first time in days,
Padraig O'Sullivan can always be relied upon to lighten the mood.
Here we are, back in sunny Marbella.
got pina coladas, sunshine.
We've got the yacht with the beautiful women, Club Tropicana.
What more could you ask for?
# When all the dark clouds roll away... #
# And the sun begins to shine... #
Hang you on to it, Padraig, and we'll bring you back as well!
# And it comes right in on time... #
After almost a fortnight at sea, Mark makes the decision to
change course and join the boats taking the southerly route.
He'll avoid a threatening hurricane and greatly improve their speed.
# Make me feel so free... #
We made a decision to change course.
What it means for us now is now we're connecting into these
favourable winds, it means very, very fast sailing, flat boat,
a lot easier on the crew, a lot more comfortable,
and a direct course to Ireland.
# And it seems like Seems like
# Yes it feels like... #
With seasickness finally banished,
the watches join force to regain lost ground.
-# A brand-new day, yeah
-Brand new day
-# Yeah, yeah
-A brand new day... #
Within days, they have crossed the Atlantic Ocean
and are finally in Irish waters.
They're on the downward journey at last and spirits couldn't be higher.
Eyes across the Atlantic Ocean.
A little bit for me, because I'm the skipper.
And Neptune, thank you for looking after us.
Play safe, guys. Enjoy.
# Feels like it's a brand new day... #
Fantastic experience, this, crossing the north Atlantic Ocean,
and regardless of what happens to us,
I know we're all going to get into Derry and have a great time.
We're on our way home, guys.
THEY CHEER Cheers, everybody.
The crew is happy and Pod's talent as an entertainer comes to the fore.
# Mustang Sally
# Guess you better roll that Mustang down
# Mustang Sally now, baby
# Guess you better roll the Mustang down
# You've been running all over town girl, oh
# I guess you better put your two flat feet on the ground
# All you want to do is ride around Sally
ALL: # Ride, Sally ride. #
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
OK, well done, guys.
But the celebrations are short-lived.
Relations between the two watches have become strained
as despite their efforts,
the boat has been unable to regain lost ground.
# While we're sitting here alone
# Why don't we talk?
If your watch gets a chance today,
people have just been putting the tea towels into the same water
and it's black and rank and disgusting,
so if you can get a chance if you can tip it out.
Guys, Last night, the starboard head was blocked with a number two.
Not sure what's causing it, it probably needs
a bit of maintenance, but a few extra flushes never goes astray.
You can sort of add in 30 seconds, 50 pumps,
and we might prevent ourselves from a blockage again.
# There's still so much
# Worth fighting for... #
I can't wait to get home now.
I think everybody on the boat today, today's a funny mood.
Everybody seems to be in a funny mood.
The mood's been very tense
and everybody's on the verge of cracking up.
I think it's just...we're just all ready to get home.
On his journey round the world, John Harkin had dreamed of
a winning finish into the city he left almost a year ago.
He finds it hard to accept coming in ninth, or even worse, last.
# Worth fighting for... #
The last couple of days are dragging.
We think we're going to get it easier.
The wind was in the right direction last night
and we made good speed but now we've got onto light airs
and we're not making our speed,
so it's one type of frustration after another.
I can't think about getting home yet.
I'm thinking, you know, get the next two days over, get under 500 miles,
and then get excited, that's the way I'm thinking.
# So why don't we talk? #
The Derry boat is still two days away from the finish line
when they learn that Gold Coast Australia
has taken first place once again
and is already docking on Derry's quay.
For Pod's father, Liam, the long wait is nearly over.
This is his banner.
-You haven't seen the poster. Look at that.
-This is it.
We'll have this on the quayside as he gets off, hopefully.
He doesn't know anything about all this stuff,
so I'm sure he might get emotional himself.
There's a big buzz in the city
and this whole week's going to be really exciting for the city.
I'm looking forward to giving him a big hug.
Back on the Derry-Londonderry,
the crew catches its first sight of land.
Oh, fuck me, land!
I hope that means we're there.
Oh, even more land!
That's Tory Island.
-Is that where Father Ted's from?
-That's Craggy Island!
You need to stand-by for attack on the yankee, OK?
37,000 miles later...
Guys, there's about two miles till we cross the finish line.
AIR HORN BLARES
CHEERS AND HORN BLASTS CONTINUE
Where's that banner?
We're just leaving Derry, heading towards the Foyle Bridge,
past all the clippers.
# And so it's almost over
# This journey's all but done... #
We need whiskey and women!
# As I follow the river
# Time's taken more than its turn... #
Welcome home, everybody. Great job!
# I could sleep forever... #
It's great to see him.
It's emotional and it's a happy occasion
and it's just good to see them on the Foyle.
# Home where the moon sits like amber... #
I can't believe it. It's just amazing.
The welcome was just unbelievable.
Terrific. It's pretty emotional, actually.
# Dances in the glow
# To an ancient lullaby... #
The clipper race doesn't end until they arrive in Southampton
in a couple of weeks' time, but for the Derry crew,
the arrival into their home port is the climax of the journey.
# I hope to greet you kindly... #
-Here he comes now.
# Home where the moon sits like amber
# Burning up the dog-leap sky... #
# And the valley below
# Dances in the glow
# To an ancient lullaby... #
He's brought it home!
# They say nothing is eternal...
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Bill discovered he had broken two ribs and damaged a vertebra,
but he went back on the boat to finish the race.
# I'm thankful
# For the road we lost in the wind...
Pod, Shauna and Niall also got the chance
to go back on the boat in Derry and helped crew the Derry-Londonderry
into fourth place in the last race into Southampton.
Gold Coast Australia won the overall race.
Derry-Londonderry came eighth.
It's once-in-a-lifetime, really, isn't it?
Even if something is scary when you do it,
it usually works out for the best
and the fact that it was hard makes it so much more worthwhile, like.
Well, it has already changed my future.
It's given me a career path, you know,
since I've got the yacht master's they've trained me up over the year,
so it's made a huge difference to me.
Generally I've got a sense of just take things
and grab the opportunity and all, it mightn't not present itself again,
and just go for things in life.
# Behold the finish line. #
All three bursary winners got jobs after the race.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Crippled by seasickness and becalmed waters can unemployed schoolteacher Pod McConway help secure victory for the 'Legenderrys' in the emotional homecoming race to Derry-Londonderry in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race?