Skippers stand ready for round-the-world endurance yacht race

LAST TIME ROUND HMS Illustrious and the Clipper yachts when they left the Solent in July 2011

LAST TIME ROUND HMS Illustrious and the Clipper yachts when they left the Solent in July 2011

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TWO skippers in a round-the-world race have spoken of their ambition as they stand just one day away from embarking around the globe with amateur sailors.

All 12 boats in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2013-14 will set off from St Katharine Docks, in London.

As reported, veteran sailors Pete Stirling and Gareth Glover will separately lead their crews on Clipper 70 yachts, Jamaica and Qingdao.

Clipper, which was founded by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, is based at Royal Clarence Marina in Gosport.

Pete, 48, from Titchfield, has a crew of 55 sailors, with 22 of those staying on for the whole 40,000 miles race.

There are eight legs in the race, and many of the crew will not stay on for the entire race.

Determined to beat his fifth place overall in the 09-10 race, Pete is ready with his international crew.

He said: ‘I’m back because I want it, and I certainly hope I’m going to be in the top three overall.

‘It’s very important to get a good result for the first couple of legs, it sets the benchmark. It’s also great for the crew morale, if you’re finishing in the bottom part of the fleet then morale’s not going to be that good.’

And that is a sentiment echoed by 36-year-old fellow skipper Gareth, of Gosport, who is eying up a podium finish.

His crew have already received a boost after the Jamaican High Commissioner, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, christened the yacht this week.

And Levi Roots, of Dragons’ Den fame, also attended the christening and met the crew.

Gareth said: ‘Overall, on the whole circumnavigation, a top-three finish is what we would like.

‘I skippered in the last race so I know how hard that will be.’

Gareth’s crew have a prestigious start, being just one of four entrants to sail through Tower Bridge on their way to start the race.

And as reported, Ed Collison, 18, of Emsworth, is the youngest person set to go round the world.

Thousands of people are expected to wave the crews on at the start of the race in London as they head to Rio.

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