Sunday sunshine send-off for Round-The-World yacht race

After enjoying a weekend of free festivities, tens of thousands of spectators gave global yacht race Clipper 11-12 a rousing send-off from Southampton’s Ocean Village Marina yesterday afternoon, Sunday 31 July.

In the shadow of the Royal Navy’s helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious, a flotilla of hundreds of smaller boats accompanied the racing fleet out of the Solent at the start of their 12-month, 40,000 mile journey.

With a good eight-ten knot breeze to help them on their way, the ten competing 68ft yachts crossed the start line at the Royal Yacht Squadron in bright sunshine, with Gold Coast Australia taking an initial lead.

But as the sun set last night the wind tailed off and today, mid-Channel, conditions are said to be like a ‘mill pond’.

Competitors, made up largely of amateurs 40% of whom had never sailed before, are hoping winds will pick up soon if they are to make their next landfall of Quinta do Lorde Marina in Madeira by 10 August.

Follow the race at