Sunday, 31st of July, 10 identical 68ft yachts will depart at 16:30 BST from Southampton (UK) on the first of twelve legs on a 40,000-mile race around the world. I think this race calls itself as the longest race in the world, and is supposed to take up about a year to complete. That's including the lay-over at the end of each leg. The first leg sails from Europe to Brazil.
Each yacht is sponsored by a city, region or country. So far the entries in this year's race includes represents De Lage Landen, Singapore, Finland, Qingdao and Derry-Londonderry. Each has a skipper supplied by the Race organizers. A good portion of the crews on each boat are sailing novices, come from all walks of life and undergo a four-stage training programme to prepare and qualify them for the gruelling journey. Organizers say:
Housewives, taxi drivers, chief executives, lawyers, doctors, carpenters, truck drivers, IT specialists, marketing executives and even members of the clergy have all taken up the Clipper challenge – to race around the world under sail. It is a feat that fewer people have completed than have climbed Mount Everest.Those among my more adventuresome readers who think they have what it takes to take on the world one leg at a time, should apply. A completed application will get you to an interview; if you pass the interview process, an invitation follows for you to participate in the first of four pre-training classes to qualify for rail meat or better on a Clipper.
As I say, it's not for me. But if anywone was a younger -- say by 10 years -- Laser sailor, I'd say he would be physically fit to qualify! Mentally fit? I don't know.
For myself, I no longer deem myself to be an able-bodied seaman. I can't physically do even the shortest leg of this race; but virtually? Virtually I am in and I am in to win!
Update (3-August) Click to expand:
Not as advertised, this first leg ends, apparently, on Portugal's island of Madeira. In this satellite 'photo' you can see Brest (Fr) on the upper right, and the north western tip of Spain on the lower right. My Open Container III's position is identified in 396th place (I'm very pleased!) in the tail end of the (avec options) A-Fleet. Contiguous is depicted also, ahem, not so favorably but temporarily in 2307th place in the back of A-Fleet. Paula, OTOH, in No Going Back, is displayed in 622nd place over all. However, at the front of B-Fleet (sans options), she has sailed into the ranks of A-Fleet.
Update (3-August): That's the coast of Portugal off to the right. (Click to expand!)
I've felt compelled to track an additional boat. Bailiff gave us all a four-hour head start, but has come on like gangbusters! Contiguous has also recovered from her earlier grounding!