Race 12, the LegenDerry Finale to Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland, starts today from New York.

The crew depart Liberty Landing Marina this morning local time on the first of three races on the final leg, the Atlantic Homecoming to London.

A Departure Ceremony will take place at Liberty Landing Marina between 0945 and 1035, before a Parade of Sail in front of the New York skyline on the Hudson River between 1115 and 1145 local time (1515 - 1545 UTC).

The public will get good views of the parade from Battery Park on the Manhattan side, or from Liberty State Park on the New Jersey side.

Due to the busy shipping lanes in the approaches into and out of New York, the fleet will then motor around 50 nautical miles to the start line at Ambrose Lighthouse where a Le Mans start will take place before sunset.

Race 12, The LegenDerry Finale, is approximately 3100 nautical miles and can be broken down into two phases.

The first part of this race, a sprint east for almost 1200 nautical miles, will be dominated by the low pressure systems coming off the coast of America and the Labrador Current which flows south and then bends east to west around Newfoundland. Fog banks and changing winds will test the fleet.

On the classic race route across the Atlantic there is the potential for some very fast sailing. At the Southern tip of Newfoundland are the Grand Banks, an area renowned for thick fog and light winds as the Labrador Current drags down cold water from the Arctic.

The fleet will pass close to the wreck of the Titanic before heading up over the Flemish Cap – the setting for the Perfect Storm. The route will take the teams well south of the icebergs that are expected to be in this area.

Along with the weather, the Clipper Race Office constantly monitors the ice flow which moves south with the Labrador Current down the east coast of Newfoundland. In order for the fleet to avoid the ice the teams must keep below 40 degrees north. Various 'ice marks' are in place. No yacht shall enter the ice box marked by the ice marks. Disqualification will apply for this infringement.

The ice marks may be moved or deleted at any time by the Race Committee to take into account the latest ice reports.

Once the risk of ice has receded the teams will then need to decide whether to go for the Scoring Gate. If not, they can immediately enter phase two and turn north-east towards Derry-Londonderry and take the shortest great circle route to the finish line.

Although the prevailing westerly winds should make this a fast crossing, the high pressure systems of the summer have a habit of shifting further north, allowing light winds to block progress on the approach into Northern Ireland.

Given how short Races 13 and 14 are, this is the last race where bonus points are on offer at the Scoring Gate and through the Ocean Sprint. The position of the Scoring Gate is: 41°N 40°W and 39°N 40°W. The Ocean Sprint section of the course will be between the lines of longitude 27°W and 24°W.

Once in Derry-Londonderry, the crew will be treated to the legendary Northern Irish hospitality during an action-packed stopover. For more details, click here.

Head of Culture with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Aeidin McCarter, who is currently in New York with the city’s mayor to meet the Derry~Londonderry~Doire crew said: “We are hugely excited to be working with the Clipper Race once again in hosting this stopover. The name ‘Clipper Race’ has become synonymous with the city and I know there is great expectation ahead of this year’s Foyle Maritime Festival based on the success of previous years. And we won’t disappoint – the festival promises to offer the ultimate visitor experience and we are so looking forward to welcoming our international guests to the city.”

The estimated arrival date into Derry-Londonderry is between 7 and 11 July.

For the Race 12 Elliot Brown preview video with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, click here.

To follow all the action once Race 12 starts, click here for the Race Viewer.

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