The Clippers are coming! 

Photo: Matt Dickens OnEdition
THE Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race fleet is on its way to Liverpool, ahead of its long awaited Race Start on Sunday 20 August.Locals turned out on both sides of Portsmouth Harbour to bid the Clipper Race fleet, Skippers, and crew farewell, as they began the almost 500 nautical mile delivery to Albert Dock in the vibrant heart of Liverpool’s world-famous UNESCO waterfront.Clipper Race Director Mark Light said: “The twelve Clipper Race Skippers and their crew have been working hard and training for months so it is a big moment for all involved to be leaving for Race Start in Liverpool.“The Clipper Race gets bigger and better with each edition and I wish all the teams well, both for the delivery to Liverpool and for the race ahead.”The twelve matched Clipper 70 ocean racing yachts are due to arrive in Liverpool on Monday 14 August, and after a white sail parade of the fleet on the Mersey, the teams will be treated to an Official Civic Welcome ceremony.The arrival will also coincide with the official opening of the Clipper Race Village. The six days of entertainment and activities will include open boat tours, crew presentations, and displays and exhibitions from Official Clipper Race Partners and Suppliers.Race Start on Sunday 20 August will begin with a Departure ceremony at 0915 in Albert Dock, and after a spectacular parade of sail on the River Mersey, the start gun at 1230 will mark the start of the eleven month, 40,000 nautical mile circumnavigation.The first of eight legs that make up the Clipper Race, the Atlantic Trade Winds Leg, will see the twelve teams race from Liverpool to Punta del Este, Uruguay. At around 6,400 nautical miles, this will be the longest opening leg in the 21 year history of the Clipper Race.The eleventh edition of the biennial round the world yacht race will also be the biggest yet in terms of crew. 712 non-professional crew from all walks of life will be taking part in the 40,000 nautical mile ultimate ocean challenge, representing 41 different nationalities.After crossing six oceans and visiting thirteen stopover ports on six continents, the fleet will return to Liverpool’s Albert Dock almost a year later for Race Finish on Saturday 28 July 2018, where one of the twelve teams will be awarded the illustrious Clipper Race trophy.The Clipper 2017-18 Race route is as follows: Race 1: Liverpool to Punta del Este, Uruguay Race 2: Punta del Este to Cape Town, South Africa Race 3: Cape Town to Fremantle, Australia Race 4: Fremantle to Sydney Race 5: Sydney to Hobart Race 6: Hobart to the Whitsundays Race 7: The Whitsundays to Sanya, China Race 8: Sanya to Qingdao, China Race 9: Qingdao to Seattle, USA Race 10: Seattle to Panama Race 11: Panama to New York Race 12: New York to Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland Race 13: Derry-Londonderry to Liverpool, UK