Home > Clipper Round the World Race 2011-2012 > One month to Southampton start of world’s longest ocean race

One month to Southampton start of world’s longest ocean race

The start of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race from Southampton is just one month away. Celebrations to mark the start of the 40,000-mile race around the globe will take place all weekend in Ocean Village, beginning with the arrival of the ten 68-foot yachts on the afternoon of Thursday 28 July and culminating in their departure and parade of sail in Southampton Water on Sunday 31 July.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to visit Southampton over the weekend for the colourful, atmospheric and emotional spectacle. As well as the ten yachts, each named after a city, region or country around the world, the event will include live music, stalls and entertainment and the line up on the main stage will be announced in the coming weeks.

There will be a raft of free, family-friendly entertainment in the race village while the yachts and their crews, ‘people like you’ drawn from all walks of life and representing more than 40 nationalities, make their final preparations before they say goodbye to their loved ones and set sail on the 12-month challenge – the sailing equivalent of climbing Mount Everest.

For the large south coast sailing community the event offers the chance to be a part of the first round the world yacht race to start from the iconic sailing grounds of the Solent since 2004.

The Clipper Race organisers are keen to make the event one that everyone can be a part of and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, founder and Chairman of the Clipper Race and the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the world, says, “I am personally very keen to ensure as many local boat owners, crew and general boating enthusiasts as possible have the opportunity to enjoy this event.”

Many are expected to turn out to join the small boat flotilla escorting the race yachts as they pass in formation down Southampton Water and cross the historic Royal Yacht Squadron line at the start of their epic journey around the world.

To register their intention to take part in the flotilla or to get involved in an official capacity on the water, boat owners can emailracestartflotilla@clipper-ventures.com.

Those who don’t have access to their own vessel can still get up close to the action on one of the larger spectator boats including those operated by Red Funnel. Full details of spectator boats and how to book places can be found by clicking here.

On Sunday 31 July the teams will take to the stage from noon for the departure ceremony, which will be followed by a fleet blessing before the yachts begin to slip their moorings and head out of Ocean Village at 1.30pm.

The parade of sail will begin at 2.30pm just off Mayflower Park and the ten yachts, battle colours flying, will sail in formation down Southampton Water towards the start line.

The race itself will start at 4.30pm from the Royal Yacht Squadron start line in Cowes and the yachts will head out of the Solent eastwards towards the forts.

Southampton City Council and MDL Marinas, owner of Ocean Village Marina where the yachts will be berthed, are working in partnership to host the Clipper 11-12 race start, the eighth edition of the event established by Sir Robin to give people from all walks of life the opportunity to take part in the life-changing experience of ocean racing.

As the official host port for the race start Southampton can expect a significant economic return from the tens of thousands of visitors expected to visit the city over the four days the fleet will be in Southampton, generating millions of pounds worth of revenue into the local economy.

Local businesses will also be briefed on international trade opportunities alongside the race and benefit from networking events with the international sponsors and business partners visiting Southampton for the start of Clipper 11-12.

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