Maritime city launches round-the-world race on 31 July

The Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race is to start from the historic south coast city of Southampton on Sunday 31 July 2011.

The event is, at 40,000 miles, the world’s longest sailing race. It will take the ten identical 68-foot ocean racing yachts almost 12 months to complete their circumnavigation.

It is the first time since 2004 that a round-the-world yacht race has started from the famed sailing grounds of the Solent.

Southampton City Council and MDL, owner of Ocean Village Marina where the yachts will be berthed, are working in partnership to host the Clipper 11-12 race start.

As the official host port for the race start Southampton can expect tens of thousands of visitors over the four days the fleet will be in port, delivering millions of pounds worth of revenue for local businesses.

More than 500 people from more than 40 countries will take part. Around 40% of them had never set foot on a boat before the compulsory pre-race training. In the 15 years since Clipper began almost 3,000 people have taken advantage of the opportunity to race across oceans in a challenge unlike any other.

The race was created in 1996 by British sailing legend, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the world.

Sir Robin says, ‘Fewer people have raced around the world than have climbed Mount Everest; it remains one of life’s great challenges and experiences. The race changes not only the lives of our crews, but transforms perceptions and prospects for the participating global cities, regions and countries.’

Clipper 09-10 was seen by a global audience of more than half a billion people.

The fleet will visit 14 ports on six continents during the 12-month race. The route takes them from Southampton to Madeira, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, the west and east coasts of Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Qingdao, California, New York, Nova Scotia, Derry-Londonderry and the Netherlands before returning to the south coast on 22 July 2012.

A few places are still available for Clipper 11-12 and berths are now released for Clipper 13-14 and beyond. Participants must be 18 years old and over and there is no upper age limit. No sailing experience is required.

For more information visit the official race website:

Photo: onEdition