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The Clipper Race is the biggest round-the-world ocean race, and is also regarded as one of the toughest endurance events on the planet.

The Clipper yachts leave Gosport Picture: Clipper Race / onEdition

The Clipper yachts leave Gosport Picture: Clipper Race / onEdition

Taking almost a year to complete, 12 yachts will journey 40,000 miles – a total of 13 races.

The race was established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who wanted to give anyone the chance to embrace ocean racing, regardless of previous sailing experience.

Crew members are given four weeks of mandatory training, regardless of skill level, before being placed into a team by the race director.

This year, there are two people from the region competing in the Clipper race.

Will Stokely

Will Stokely

Will Stokely, 46, from Southsea, is a technical development manager racing on Visit Seattle.

John Vearncombe, 53 from Swanmore, is a property investor competing on Liverpool 2018.

Mr Stokely says that a lot of the preparation for the event lay in getting to grips with sailing on a vessel of this size, with so many crew members.

He said: ‘I signed up about a year and a half ago, so I have had a long time preparing for it.

John Vearncombe

John Vearncombe

‘I’ve had a decent amount of sailing experience, but never anything of this size.’

Mr Vearncombe says his preparation consisted of improving his upper body strength.

He said: ‘Sailing requires a different sort of fitness than most sports.

‘A lot of the work you do involves your upper body, so improving that and your core strength is really important.

‘On my part, there has been a lot of pilates and yoga going on, which I’ve been doing for the past year.

‘My attitude has been to not think about it too much – I don’t want to scare myself before the off.’

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69.

He says that one of the biggest challenges ahead of the sailors lie in the changing weather conditions and their food supply.

Sir Robin explained: ‘Most crews will probably have a couple of tonnes of food with them at the start line.

‘Quite a lot of it is dry food, which doesn’t weigh very much, but by the time you have all of the rest of the supplies on board, including water and personal belongings.

‘There is such a variety of weather conditions ahead of them – from calm waters to the raging storms of the Pacific Ocean.

‘Around the equator it will be boiling hot, and then there are the freezing temperatures of the polar regions – it is a mixed bag, and I hope the sailors are up to the task.’

The teams will be setting off from the starting line in Liverpool on Sunday, August 20, with the estimated return on July 28, 2018.

This year is also the 11th year that the competition has run.