Grand finale five days before Olympics start

Organisers of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race have announced that the event will finish back where it began, on Sunday 22 July 2012 at Southampton’s Ocean Village.

Clipper Race chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: ‘The race departure from Southampton was spectacular and the warmth and enthusiasm of the thousands of spectators who waved them off made a lasting impression on all the crews. We anticipate another great reception when the fleet returns next July after its year-long circumnavigation.’

Southampton filled up for the start of the Race last August, providing a massive boost to the local economy. The Race finish should do the same as the crews’ supporters line up alongside officials and the media to cheer the largely amateur sailors home.

The teams, led by professional skippers, are made up of people aged from 18-70 from all walks of life and 40 different countries who took time out of their normal lives to sign up for all of part of this, the world’s longest yacht race.

The 10 yachts in the racing fleet are around a third of the way through their 41,000-mile journey, having reached New Zealand on leg six of the Race with Gold Coast Australia currently in the lead.

Planning for the next Race is already well advanced with almost 300 crew already signed up for Clipper 13-14.

The opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games is just five days after Clipper 11-12’s Southampton finish, and with the Olympic and Paralympic sailing events taking place just 60 miles west of Southampton at Weymouth and Portland, it is going to be the biggest year for yachting that the South Coast can remember.

Image: Clipper 11-2 start in Southampton, OnEdition