Clipper Round the World Race – Spectacular London send-off
Hundreds of amateur sailors from around the world passed under Tower Bridge today at the start of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, a 40,000 nautical mile global race, between six continents, which will take almost a year to complete in the longest and toughest ocean endurance challenge on the planet.
Tens of thousands of well-wishers filled the international Race Village at St Katharine Docks, central London’s only marina, and lined the banks of the Thames to wave off the courageous crews and their professional skippers in the tenth edition of the famous biennial Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
The fleet of twelve identical 70-foot ocean racing yachts, along with a flotilla of RNLI support vessels and spectator boats, participated in a spectacular parade with London’s iconic Tower Bridge lifting to salute the crew twice ahead of their ocean odyssey.
“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, the oldest is 74 and 35% are women.
The Clipper Race is a life-changing experience for the crew who are following in the footsteps of more than 3,300 people who have taken on some of the world’s toughest oceans in this unique global challenge since its inaugural race in 1996.
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 event comprises twelve teams of amateur crew aboard identical 70-foot ocean racing yachts which are each led by a professional skipper.
Teams are sponsored by global destination, business and consumer brands, which include debuts for cities such as Da Nang – Viet Nam and Visit Seattle. GREAT Britain is making its second appearance after finishing second in the previous edition and Northern Irish entry Derry~Londonderry~Doire is making its third outing. The longest successive competitor is the Chinese city of Qingdao, host of the sailing events of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, which has used the race as a major part of its legacy programme; this is its sixth campaign.
Many of the crew fundraise for various charities and to mark the tenth edition of the Clipper Race, Unicef has been made its first official global charity partner. The charity has also been gifted a branded yacht entry by the organisers to help it raise its global profile and highlight its international projects at ports of call to help children in danger.
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.
Race 1 starts on Monday, August 31 at 12.30 BST (11:30 UTC). Following the first stopover in Brazil, the fleet will continue on via Cape Town, Albany – Western Australia, Sydney (including 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.
more info ………… clipperroundtheworld.com
by Event Media