Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious is to escort 10 yachts as they set off on the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. A parade of sail will begin at 2.30pm and ten yachts, battle colours flying, will sail towards the Isle of Wight.
It is the first time since 2004 that a round the world yacht race has started from the Solent and promises to provide a breath taking spectacle for spectators both on the water and watching from the shore.
A flotilla of small boats and sailing enthusiasts is also expected to see off the yachts as they set off on their global challenge.
The race itself will start at 4.30pm from the Royal Yacht Squadron start line in Cowes and the yachts will head out of the Solent eastwards towards the forts.
At 40,000 miles the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the world’s longest sailing race and will take the ten identical 68-foot ocean racing yachts almost a year to complete their circumnavigation of the globe.
Founder and Chairman of the Clipper Race, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the world, passed on valuable advice ahead of today’s race start off Cowes.
“Remember how powerful the sea is, treat it with huge respect at all times and that way you will come back safely.”
Now entering its eighth edition, the Clipper Race, offers people from all walks the chance to take on the planet’s most extreme sailing conditions. Forty per cent of the crew about to embark on the twelve-month adventure had never stepped aboard a yacht before their Level 1 training and now, after a rigorous 32-day training programme, they are about to set off as ocean racers.
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