IT WAS a sight to behold as 12 Clipper yachts headed into the Solent to start their journey to London.
The boats left Gosport Marina yesterday ahead of the start of the 2015/16 Round the World race.
They completed a ‘parade of sail’ past the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth Harbour before sailing into the Solent.
The crew of the 72ft boats have one more week left in London to ensure all preparations are made before the first race to Rio.
Both the crews and skippers are raring to go and said the nerves are kicking in as they sail to the capital.
Ali Hudson, from Lee-on-the-Solent, will be sailing on board Mission Performance.
The 45-year-old was the first person interviewed to be a crew member in 2012 and will be taking part in the first leg.
She said: ‘It has been a long time waiting so it’s great to finally be setting off.
‘I haven’t felt any nerves at all until the last few days.
‘But coming to the boats this morning and seeing them ready to go has made me excited. We will all be working hard to get them fully prepped in London.’
Charlotte Morton-Haworth, from Gosport, will be sailing onboard GREAT Britain with Mel Thompson, from North End.
Charlotte, 32, said: ‘Things have suddenly got real now. I can’t believe we are leaving but things are looking good and the crew seem ready. The team have done a really good job.’
The Clipper Round the World Race starts on August 30 from London.
The 11-month event will test the crews to the limit as they battle it out for a podium finish visiting Rio, Australia, China, Africa and America along the way.
I can’t believe we are leaving but things are looking good and the crew seem ready.Charlotte Morton-Haworth
Skipper Greg Miller, from Gosport, who will lead Mission Performance, said they are ready to go.
‘We are all a little apprehensive, excited and raring to go,’ he said.
‘The race is what we are here for so we are excited to get started.
‘Once everything is over in London, we can get on with the race. We are all looking forward to that.’
Fellow Gosport skipper Jim Prendergast, who is leading the Unicef yacht, added: ‘We’re are all relieved today is finally here. The guys are very excited and it’s the beginning of an adventure.’