Pictures from the start of the 2015-16 edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race – the longest around the planet, taking almost a year to cover 40,000 nautical miles.
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Hundreds of amateur sailors from around the world passed under Tower Bridge on Sunday as they began the 40,000 nautical mile Clipper Round The World Yacht Race which will take almost a year to complete.
The fleet of twelve identical 70-foot ocean racing yachts, each led by a professional skipper, will stop over in Cape Town, Albany – Western Australia, Sydney (including participating in the world famous Sydney-Hobart Race), the Whitsundays, Da Nang – Vietnam, Qingdao – China, Seattle, Panama, New York, Derry-Londonderry and Den Helder – the Netherlands, before returning to London’s St Katharine Docks for Race Finish on 30 July 2016.
“Our crew are everyday people who are taking on one of the world’s toughest endurance challenges,” stated Clipper Race founder and legendary yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (76), who became the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-9.
Sir Robin established the Clipper Race so that novice sailors could experience ocean racing and, for some, a full circumnavigation. Nearly half of the 700 crew, representing 44 nationalities, from all walks of life, had never sailed before undergoing their extensive pre-race training. The youngest is 18 and the oldest is 74. This year, 35 per-cent of the crew are women.
Sir Robin added: “Irrespective of their amateur status Mother Nature pulls no punches. They’re going to go through some of the roughest waters in the world; in fact the roughest waters in the world. I wish them a safe and an extraordinary journey – the experiences ahead will stay with them for life.”
The opening leg of the race takes the teams over 5,500 nautical miles from the British capital, across the Atlantic Ocean, including the challenging Doldrums, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Over the next week the fleet heads south towards the Cape Verde islands. There are daily updates on the official Clipper Race website with team pages updated regularly with the latest reports, blogs and images. You can view the Race Tracker here.