The 12 yachts competing in the Clipper Round the World Race, dubbed the world’s longest ocean race, have started their 40,000 mile adventure off the English coast.
PSP Logistics and skipper Chris Hollis crossed the line first with Team Garmin and OneDLL closely behind on a running start with the yachts soon flying their new asymmetric spinnakers.
The new generation of Clipper 70s have a short sprint to Brest, France, before sailing onto 2016 Olympic host city Rio in Brazil to complete Leg 1.
Legendary British yachtsman, Clipper Race Founder and Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: “This is the start of a life-changing experience for these courageous people who have been building up to this moment for months. The excitement on board is phenomenal.
“They may come from all different backgrounds, but on the ocean, Mother Nature does not differentiate. This is where they will put all their hard work and training into action. Those three weeks will have been some of the toughest of their lives.
“I wish them safe and competitive sailing over the next 11 months.”
Race Director Justin Taylor said: “It was a cautious start but it was really good to see the yachts flying their new spinnakers. Those skippers that did were quite brave but it paid off for them.”
On Sunday, the fleet took part in a spectacular parade on the Thames with Tower Bridge lifting to salute the crews with big crowds waving farewell on the river banks.
The fleet will not be returning until July 2014 after a total of 670 crew race 40,000 miles and visit 16 ports on six continents.
To follow the fleet around the world visit www.clipperroundtheworld.com