With just two weeks to go until the start of the Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race, the fleet are pictured setting off from the Solent past the iconic Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth arbour for St Katharine Docks, Tower Bridge, London.
Locals, friends and family turned out to see the departure which included an impressive parade of sail, ahead of race start practice, marking the beginning of the crew’s adventure to take on the unique 40,000-mile challenge.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, chairman and founder of the Clipper Race waved the crew off. He said: “Thanks to a tremendous effort by the Clipper Race team, skippers and crew, all twelve Clipper Race yachts were able to parade down the Gosport waterfront and out into the Solent with their mainsails set. Considering that the last boat went into the water and had her mast stepped on Friday, this was a terrific effort, but if everyone rolls up their sleeves and gets focused, miracles can be achieved.
“And what a great sight they made. This was the first time all the skippers had manoeuvred the new Clipper 70s in close company and they made a very good job of it.”
The fleet’s journey to the Thames includes a final Level 3 training course, with the yachts scheduled to arrive at Tower Bridge on Friday afternoon 23 August.
The Race Village in St Katharine Docks opens to the public on Saturday 24 August. Open boat tours of the Clipper 70s will be available until 30 August, from 11am until 6pm each day, along with a full schedule of race related activities, food stalls and entertainment.
The Clipper 13-14 Race fleet departs St Katharine Docks on Sunday 1 September. Leg 1 comprises two races: a sprint to Brest, France and then over 4,800 miles to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
If you are interested in taking part in the Clipper Race, a href="http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/apply" target="_blank">click here to request more information.