Clipper Race departs London today

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Today the world’s largest fleet of matched ocean racing yachts will begin its 40,000-mile circumnavigation in the world’s longest ocean race.

The twelve 70-foot state-of-the-art yachts will lock out of St Katharine Docks four at a time, mustering around Shadwell, before parading down the River Thames from Tower Bridge to the Thames Estuary.

Free entry to the Race Village at St Katharine Docks, is now open daily (1000-1900), with boat tours, competitions, a big screen, live music, DJs, drummers, dancers, international cuisine, and more.

The departure and Parade of Sail will be streamed live online. Click here for further details. 

Legendary British sailor, Clipper Race Founder and Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said:

“It is wonderful to see these gutsy people set off on one of the greatest adventures left on the planet.

“Departing from the iconic British capital London in the shadow of Tower Bridge is something really special for the crews and skippers who have been building up to this moment for months.

“To see them return to London as accomplished circumnavigators in 11 months’ time will be a special moment.”


OneDLL – Olly Cotterell

“My team and I are feeling very excited. It has been a long road to get here but everyone has worked incredibly hard. The boat is looking in good shape.”

“I think we are very motivated team so we have a great chance. It is a new fleet and we’re all facing the same challenges but we are all willing and ready to do our best.” 

GREAT Britain – Simon Talbot 

“Everyone is getting increasingly excited as we approach race start day. We’ve worked very hard and are just very much looking forward to getting out and getting the job started.”

“At the moment, the team is very hot in their belief. I’m not sure they all know quite what is ahead of them but I feel our chances of success are high. We are very focused on our immediate tasks. Nerves may come as we hit the water but right now we are too focused to really feel the pressure.” 

Derry~Londonderry~Doire - Sean McCarter

“There is a really good feeling on board as we do our final preparations and prepare to say goodbye to dry land for the next 11 months.

“We are very happy with our boat and can’t wait to get out there and start testing ourselves as well as the yacht.”

Qingdao - Gareth Glover

“There has been some really good bonding going on amongst the team and we are confident of success. As I have done the race before, I am feeling very prepared and have already done our crew brief and gone through all the watch patterns, weather conditions, engineering, winching and safety briefs.”

Invest Africa – Rich Gould

“We are ready to race. Invest Africa are prepped and ready to go sailing. No nerves – just sheer excitement and determination at this point. We feel good.

“I feel very good about our chances of success in the Clipper Race. I think we are ready and we’re certainly going to give it our best shot. Now, let’s go sailing!”

Team Garmin – Damian Parnham

“There is a really good feeling on board – we are all buzzing and raring to go. There has been so much hard work and preparation the last few weeks and now we can’t wait to see the boat start to perform.

“There has been an amazing atmosphere in London as friends and family have come down to wish us well. Now we look forward to the welcome in all the host ports.”

Henri Lloyd - Eric Holden

“I’m not anxious and I think my calm outlook is reflected in the rest of the team. I have done a lot of weather routing in advance and I know have looked ahead to what is expected throughout the whole race.

“The first race is going to be a real sprint, so the first podium results may not reflect how the rest of the race will run. We look forward to getting into more of a stride once we head for Rio.”

Mission Performance - Matt Mitchell

“I have great support from my team and a well prepared boat so I’m feeling well prepared. I have done a lot of research into the conditions and tactics and have seen my fair share of rough weather and storms so I’m pretty confident.

“It is about having fun too, and for me a happy ship is a winning ship.”

Switzerland - Vicky Ellis

“We are very excited and have done so much preparation so we are not nervous.  Today we have to do our final food shop and then we are ready. We have really been growing as a team the last two weeks and happiness on board will be the biggest measure of success.”

PSP Logistics – Chris Hollis

“I have a very excited crew – the mixture of Aussies, Kiwi’s, South Africans and English is proving to be a lot of fun.

“The pressure is there with Australians having won the last two races, and I am going to give it my best shot for a top three finish.”

Jamaica – Pete Stirling

“We are feeling excited. A little nervous with anticipation but ready to get going on our journey and do what we came here to do. “

“We would be delighted to win and it would of course be brilliant to finish in the top three overall. Anything else may be slightly disappointing.”

OLD PULTENEY – Patrick van der Zijden

“The team is feeling very good. Very confident. Very ready.”

“I think we have a very good chance of a successful place in the first leg. The boat is ready, the team are prepped. We are ready to go.” 

Key viewing times along the River Thames on Sunday are:

+ Race crew official departure ceremony, St Katharine Docks: 0930 - 1030 

+ Fleet departure ceremony, locking out of St Katharine Docks: 1050–1225 

+ Tower Bridge opens and fleet departs 1330

+ The O2, Greenwich 1420*

+ Thames Barrier1440*

+ QE2 Bridge 1600*