The organizers of the Clipper 13-14 Round the World Race picked a great setting for the send off of the race boats and crews competing in the latest running of the race. The 12 70-footers departed for their 40,000-mile adventure by passing through Tower Bridge on the Thames River in London while an estimated 120,000 people lined the banks to cheer them on. The armada was joined by a paddleship steamer, pilot boats, police boats, RIBs, spectator boats and other pleasure craft as Britain waved off the 270 crew sailing from London to Rio de Janeiro on Leg 1. It is the first time London has hosted the Clipper Race and is 40 years since the Thames last featured a round the world sailing event.
The fleet will not return until July 2014 after a total of 670 crewmembers race 40,000 miles and visit 16 ports on six continents. Designed to provide everyone – regardless of sailing experience – the chance to race across oceans and taste the exhilaration of completing a circumnavigation, the Clipper Race has turned over 3,500 novices into ocean racers since its inception in 1995.
The race officially started offshore at Southend on Monday morning at 09.30 BST. The first leg of the Clipper Race ends in Marina da Gloria, Rio de Janeiro, the destination for the 2016 Olympic sailing events. They then continue on via South Africa, Western Australia, Sydney (including the world famous Sydney-Hobart Race), Brisbane, Singapore, China, San Francisco, Panama, Jamaica, New York, Derry Londonderry and the Netherlands before returning to London’s St Katharine Docks for Race Finish in July 2014.