The countdown begins for the London start of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

A fleet of Clipper racing yachts will lead the biggest pageant on the River Thames since the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

For the first time this September, London will be host to the Clipper 2013-2014 Round the World Yacht Race. On Sunday 1st September, the fleet of twelve 70ft ocean racing yachts will participate in a spectacular parade of sails along the Thames with a flotilla of support vessels, spectator boats and well wishers.

The 11-month race will see the fleet visit 16 ports in six different continents, making it the world’s longest ocean race. Joining the flotilla will be a paddleship steamer, pilot boats, police boats, RIBs, spectator boats and other pleasure craft.  

After departing from London the 270-strong crew will sail to Rio de Janeiro in Leg 1. The second leg of the race will continue on via South Africa, Western Australia, Sydney, Singapore, China, San Francisco, Panama, Jamaica, New York, Derry Londonderry and the Netherlands before finally returning to London’s St Katharine Docks in July 2014.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has welcomed the news that the capital is to host the Clipper Race.

“Playing host to the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will once again see London showcasing why it is the best big city on earth in which to hold major sporting events,” said Johnson.

“It’s a fantastic honour for the capital to mark the beginning and end of this feat of human endeavour, which will not only provide an awesome spectacle for hordes of sailing fans, but also give a huge boost to the economy.”

The Clipper Race brings together people from a diverse rage of backgrounds – from nurses to sports stars – to take on the world’s toughest sailing conditions and experience the challenges of circumnavigation.

The fleet will be skippered by professional yachtsman and each team will battle to complete eight different legs over the eleven months, all vying to win the overall prize.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, legendary British sailor and the Clipper Race Founder and Chairman said that it is “the only race in the world that takes every-day people and turns them into ocean racers.”

You can visit the boats, which are currently moored in London’s historic St Katharine Docks, at the official Race Village during the following times:

Saturday, 24 August – Until Saturday 31 August
10.00 – 19.00     Race Village Open
11.00 – 18.00     Open Boats (Daily until Aug 30)  
Come and experience life on board the new generation fleet of Clipper 70 yachts.

Sunday, 1 September
09.00 – 17.00     Race Village Open
09.30 – 10.30     Race Crew Official Departure Ceremony
10.50 – 12.25     Yacht Departure Ceremony from St Katharine Docks Marina
13.30             Yachts Depart Tower Bridge