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HMS Illustrious to see off yachts

Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious is to wave off 10 yachts as they set off on the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

More than 500 amateur sailors from 40 countries will take turns to sail the yachts in the 40,000-mile race which starts from Southampton, Hampshire.

More than 40% of them had no sailing experience before beginning their rigorous training for the world's longest yacht race.

The 10 ocean-racing yachts will sail in formation ahead of HMS Illustrious before the race begins from the historic Royal Yacht Squadron line in Southampton Water.

A flotilla of small boats is also expected to see off the yachts as they set off on their global challenge.

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."

Founder 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."

Thousands of people are expected to visit the race village ahead of the start of the 12-month circumnavigation.


From Belfast Telegraph