Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race preview

International crews gathered in Southampton, UK - Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race
Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race will be the eighth edition of the biennial event. The race start is on Sunday 31 July from the historic maritime city of Southampton on the south coast of England.

At 40,000 miles it is the world's longest ocean race and more people than ever will be taking part.

Five hundred 'people like you' representing more than 40 nationalities and all walks of life have signed up to take part in the challenge of a lifetime. More than 40 per cent of them had never sailed before beginning their pre-race training.

The ten 68-foot yachts will be berthed in Ocean Village, Southampton, from Thursday 28 to Sunday 31 July. There will be a raft of free, family-friendly events in the race village including live music. The colourful and emotional departure ceremony will begin at midday on Sunday 31 July and after the yachts have slipped their moorings they will head out into Southampton Water for a spectacular parade of sail towards the start line at the historic Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes.

The race will start at 4.30pm and the yachts will exit the Solent to the east.

Boating enthusiasts on the south coast of England are invited to join the accompanying flotilla to see the fleet on their way at the start of their 40,000-mile circumnavigation which will take them from the Solent to Madeira, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Geraldton Western Australia, New Zealand, the Gold Coast, Singapore, Qingdao, California, Panama, New York, Nova Scotia, Derry-Londonderry, Den Helder in the Netherlands and back to the Solent on 22 July 2012.

You can follow the race online where you will be able to view yacht positions updated every three hours plus dramatic diaries, photos and video from on board. You will also be able to pit your own skills against those of the crews by playing the online game.

Daily updates will be issued on the teams' progress following the highs and lows of the race beginning on 31 July 2011.

Clipper Round the World website