On the 3rd of September thousands of spectators lined the coastline at Gunwharf Quays marina at Old Portsmouth and Southsea beach to marvel at the colourful spectacle of nearly a dozen gleaming racing yachts gliding along from Gosport marina in Hampshire to set sail on an unforgettable transatlantic voyage.
There was a slight delay of around an hour to the official race time to allow the organisers to make their last-minute preparations to the Clipper Round the World yacht sailing race at four o’clock. Nobody in the vicinity minded as it was such a glorious afternoon to be out on the Solent.
This September the Clipper Round the World boat race commenced in high style from the glistening calm waters of the Solent to the booming sound of an Old Portsmouth traditional firing salute.
Portsmouth in Hampshire, England is the home of the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy and dozens of enthusiastic sailors in all sizes of nautical craft lined up on the Solent to take a glimpse and cheer on the brave crew of the first leg of the transatlantic Clipper racing rally.
An official pilot boat motored around the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour guiding the boating onlookers, who gathered in droves, gently drifting about in the gentle breeze of a perfect summer day.
There are eleven Clipper boats each measuring seventy foot in length that make up the Clipper Race in 2023. The route is divided into eight legs which include six ocean crossings.
This week heavy rain, strong winds and lightening have faced the competing sporting teams in a weather phenomenon that is termed a ‘Sudeststada’
Today, on Race 2 day 26 The Clipper Race organisers reported that
“as the fleet makes its final run towards Punta Del Este …over the last 24 hours the coast of South America has served up some challenges with a frontal system passing overhead bringing squally, unpredictable and light conditions.”
Another squally ‘Pampero’ of rather too exciting weather is forecast over the next few days which may involve some Captain testing strategic leadership to ensure a smooth wind maximised ‘reach’ sail into Punta Del Este and winning glory.
The slogan ‘Achieve Something Remarkable’ is the theme to this year’s race. The first person to sail solo non-stop around the world was Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and he launched the famous annual globe competition in 1996 stating “you will never conquer or master the ocean but you can endure it.”
Participating in the race is a possibility for men and women of all ages and qualifications, although specific training courses are a key element of preparing for the prestigious and challenging yachting competition.
Prizes are given to the first three boats across the finishing line for each race and the overall winning team is presented with a Clipper Race Trophy.
“If Mother Nature throws down the gauntlet you must be ready to face it.” warns the website which invites would-be sailing competitors to not underestimate the power of the natural forces of time and tide. However, if a uniquely ambitious life-changing experience is your calling then Clipper Round the World Race a recruiting for the next international off-shore tournament, so you may be tempted to “seize the moment and unleash the adventure” and join up. (2)
Currently the leading vessel is the Yacht Club Punta del Este which is also the location of the finish line the fleet is heading for keenly, completing the second leg of the global ‘Race of Your Life’ in Uruguay, South America. The second competitor is team Perseverance who are only just over twenty nautical miles behind, which is amazing considering the vast distances involved.
After a 40,000 nautical mile epic journey the crews are expected to complete the eighth leg of the international circuit and cross the final finish line at North Pier marina in Oban in Scotland between the 12th to the 16th July 2024.
(1) Clipper Round The World ‘Achieve Something Remarkable’ official website, 11th October 2023 Clipper Round The World ‘Achieve Something Remarkable’
(2) ‘A Race Without Equal’ Clipper Round The World, official website, 11th October 2023 ‘A Race Without Equal’ Clipper Round The World Race
(3) Royal Navy, Clipper 2023-24 Round The World Yacht Race Departure and Start, 3 September 2023 Royal Navy, Clipper 2023-24 Round The World Yacht Race Departure and Start