With just 7 days left before the start of the world's longest yacht race, organisers announce support of the Royal Navy.

With one week to go until the cannon fires to signal the start
of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race, the first global event
to set off from the Solent since 2004, organisers are thrilled to
welcome the Royal Navy’s helicopter carrier, HMS Illustrious, which will
attend the weekend’s festivities in Southampton, culminating in the
race start on Sunday 31 July.

At 40,000 miles Clipper
11-12 is the world’s longest yacht race and almost 500 people from all
walks of life and representing more than 40 nations will take part,
putting their everyday lives on hold to take on the challenge of a
lifetime. More than 40 per cent of them had no sailing experience before
beginning their rigorous pre-race training.

Commanding Officer
of HMS Illustrious, Captain Jerry Kydd, said, “HMS Illustrious is
delighted to be in Southampton to support the start of the Clipper Round
the World Yacht Race. The Clipper Race stands for much of what the
Royal Navy and Royal Marines hold dear: personal determination and
fortitude, in dangerous and demanding conditions, where teamwork,
resilience and a winning spirit overcome any challenge the crews may
face on their adventure. On behalf of the officers and crew of HMS
Illustrious, I wish all yachts and their crews the very best of luck for
a safe and fast circumnavigation and a cracking race!”

and Chairman of the Clipper Race, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man
to sail solo and non-stop around the world, said, “The Clipper Race has
always had a very strong relationship with the Royal Navy and I am very
pleased to welcome HMS Illustrious for the start of Clipper 11-12. She
is part of the large maritime community of the south coast and I am very
keen that as many members of that community as possible are able to
enjoy this event which promises to be a quite spectacular sight.”

boat owners and sailing enthusiasts will be joining the flotilla of
spectator boats to watch the parade of sail in Southampton Water from
2.30pm – where the ten ocean racing yachts will sail in formation ahead
of HMS Illustrious – before the race begins at 4.30pm from the historic
Royal Yacht Squadron line.

HMS Illustrious will arrive in
Southampton on Saturday 30 July and will be berthed at the QE2 Terminal.
A raft of free, family friendly entertainment is taking place over the
weekend in Ocean Village where the ten 68-foot yachts contesting Clipper
11-12 will be based. Live music will include sets by Southampton
groups, Delays and Parade, as well as Toploader, who will headline on
Friday night. As well as the live music on stage other entertainment in
the Race Village will feature African dancers, acrobats, drummers and
fire eaters plus a spectacular fireworks display on Saturday night.

of thousands of people are expected to visit the race village between
Thursday 28 July when the yachts arrive and Sunday 31 July when the
teams will say an emotional farewell before setting off on their
12-month circumnavigation. The course will take them to 15 ports on six
continents and across the largest and most ferocious expanses of water
on the planet. Each of the colourful yachts bears the name of the city,
region, country or company it represents.

The race starts on Sunday 31st July from Southampton. You can view the whole Clipper Race start schedule here.

For more information, visit the Clipper website.

Image: onEdition.