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Departure day: Fleet leaves Clipper Race HQ for London

by Clipper Round the World 22 Aug 2019 08:58 BST 22 August 2019
Clipper Race fleet departs Clipper Race HQ for London © Clipper Race

Clipper Race HQ was a hive of activity this morning as the eleven strong fleet of identical 70 foot yachts prepared to depart for London. Almost 175 crew signed up to sail from Gosport to St Katharine Docks, with the teams waved off by locals, friends, family and Clipper Race staff too.

Whilst not part of the official circumnavigation, it was still an emotional day for crew as they said goodbye to their base, where they have spent lots of time undergoing intensive and rigorous four levels of training.

Jackie Webb and Jerome Riga, both round-the-worlders from the Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam team can't wait to get started. Jackie says: "I'm from Australia and heading off around the world. I'm really excited to get going and for the whole race ahead. We have a great team, a fantastic Skipper and excellent Mate. We are going to have a ball!"

Jerome added, "I live in London so can't wait to get there. It'll be a really big start for me, especially as my friends and family come see me off. London will be buzzing like a beehive.

"I'm all packed and ready to go. The one luxury I'm bringing with me is my music. I'll use it to zone out for a bit on board, when resting in my bunk. I'll then come back fresh for the next watch."

Tim Moody, Unicef UK, who is competing in Leg 6, the Mighty Pacific Leg, says; "the atmosphere is building already. Training with my team has been amazing and our unifying force is helping children by flying the flag for Unicef, UK. We have a fantastic team spirit with everyone helping each other on board. Training has been tough on some occasions. There have been moments when I've wondered what on earth I'm doing. But now, having finished it all, and with the focus being safety orientated, it makes me feel comfortable, and we've got a great Skipper and Mate too.

"It's an odd feeling to be leaving Gosport, but we are ready to get going. London is going to be great, there'll be thousands of people there to see the boats off."

Clipper Race Training Manager Kirsty Squires said: "It has been a very emotional morning, it's almost like seeing your children go off to prom on their last day of school, a very proud moment. The change in crew from when they arrived on the first day of training is very apparent. Crew arrive as individuals but are now setting sail as families.

"It's sad to see the boats go and I'll miss the blast of colour they brought to the marina but we won't be quiet for long as we'll be welcoming 2021-22 Crew in the next few months. In the meantime, I'll be heading up to London to wave of the boats and wish them well on their next life changing adventure."

After their departure, the fleet practiced a parade of sail formation on the Solent, showing off their eye catching hull designs. The journey to St Katharine Docks is 190 nautical miles long and should take approximately two days, ready for the Clipper Race Fanzone opening on Saturday 24th August, click here to find out what activities will be running at St Katharine Docks.

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