Thousands are expected to flock to London's St Katharine Docks this Saturday to welcome the Clipper fleet home

Dramatic footage has been released today of the moment the GREAT Britain team

were hit by a tornado as they competed in the Clipper Round the World yacht race.

The 12-strong Clipper Race fleet will return to London this Saturday, 12 July,

after covering more than 40,000 miles between six continents over eleven

months.

A total of 670 novice sailors from all walks of life, aged 18 to 74, were

trained to take on the biennial endurance

challenges, currently in its ninth

edition.

Crew have experienced a wide range of weather conditions from the benign to the extreme: in addition to the tornado incident they have endured being knocked down by giant waves, battled hurricane force winds, dodged icebergs and growlers; extreme heat and cold; been on the alert for pirates; had coast guard assisted medical evacuations and rescued of a man overboard after being lost in a Pacific storm for more than an hour.


The footage of the tornado was captured by a fixed on-board camera attached to the mast looking down towards the stern. It shows the team in challenging conditions a week out of Australia heading towards the equator with heavy rain and squalls battering the fleet.

The waterspout was pretty invisible in the conditions at the time and hit without warning, rolling the boat through 120 degrees pinning the mast down on the ocean’s surface in swirling winds over 100 knots.

Crew are thrown into the sea on their tethers and scrabble to hang

onto the boat which starts to right itself as the tornado passes and is

visible in the upper left hand side of the screen disappearing into the

distance as the crew start to clamber back onto their feet.

Click here to watch the tornado footage

Crew member Paul Hardy, aged 43, an IT consultant from Brighton is

seen desperately trying to grab onto the mast after he is submerged into

the sea as the yacht is hit by the tornado.

He said: ‘All of a sudden

the wind picked up and the noise picked up…water started to rise and I

knew there was something wrong… I tried to get out of the water and

climb up onto the mast and then saw the water spout.’


Saturday’s homecoming schedule

Thousands are expected to descend

on St Katharine Docks to welcome the Clipper crews back to London

after 11 months circumnavigating the world.

But even those who cannot attend the big event will be able to watch the action online thanks to a Live Stream, which will be available from 1145 BST (1045 UTC/GMT), by clicking this link.

The Clipper Race fleet are expected to finish racing

in the early hours of Saturday, ready to parade up the Thames

at 0730 from Southend.

Timings of the best vantage points

to watch the fleet:

10.00 – Parade of Sail starts
10.19 – QE2 Bridge at Dartford
11.48 – Thames Barrier
12.01 – Dome
12.12 – Greenwich
12.30 – Canary Wharf Pier
12.45 – St Katharine Docks
14.00-15.00 – Final prizegiving ceremony at St Katharine Docks

Find out more at www.clipperroundtheworld.com

Pictures: A still from the Tornado video; The Clipper Race fleet leaving London in September 2013