The Clipper Round the World race was started in 1995 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston who became the first person to sail single-handed non-stop around the world in 1969. Today, it is the longest sailing race totaling 40,000 miles as it circumnavigates the globe across some of the world’s toughest oceans. The race is generally divided into eight legs with crews being able to race completely around the world, or on one leg or several. Based on the original tea clippers which ruled the oceans 150 years ago, the race starts in England, crosses the Atlantic Ocean to South America, heads eastward around the tip of Africa and eventually finishes back in England roughly a year later.
In 2011-2012, the race was as follows:
- 1. Southampton, UK -> Madeira -> Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Race Start: July 31, 2011 Brazil / ETA: September 2-3, 2011 Leg 1 starts in Southampton, England and races 1,300 miles out across the English Channel and the infamous Bay of Biscay on to Portugal’s Madeira Island off the coast of Morocco. From there, the team will follow the trade winds 4,000 miles to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the finish of the first leg.
- 2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil -> Cape Town, South Africa Departure: September 10, 2011 / ETA: September 26, 2011 Leg 2 leaves the sunny beaches of Brazil and races 3,500 miles across the South Atlantic Ocean to the distant shores of Cape Town, South Africa.
- 3. Cape Town, South Africa -> Western Australia Departure: October 5, 2011 / ETA: October 29, 2011 Leg 3 is a 4,750 mile race from the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa across the Southern Ocean and the Roaring Forties to the shores of Western Australia.
- 4. Western Australia -> New Zealand -> Eastern Australia Departure: November 6, 2011 / ETA: December 14, 2011 Leg 4 leaves Western Australia heading south around the bottom of the continent and back into the Roaring Forties in a 3,100 mile race to New Zealand first, then finishing another 1,100 miles further on the Gold Coast of Australia.
- 5. Eastern Australia -> Singapore -> Qingdao, China Australia Departure: December 24, 2011 / Singapore ETA: January 28, 2012 Singapore Departure: February 4, 2012 / Qingdao ETA: February 22, 2012 Leg 5 heads north from Australia’s Gold Coast in a 4,800 mile sprint through the islands of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, across the Equator and on to Singapore. From there, the race continues another 2,580 miles to Qingdao, China.
- 6. Qingdao, China -> San Francisco, USA Departure: March 4, 2012 / ETA: April 1-7, 2012 Leg 6 is an attempt to conquer the mighty Pacific Ocean in a 6,000 mile journey, leaving Qingdao and sailing around the southern tip of Japan, then across the North Pacific, passing closer to the Alaskan Aleutian Islands than Hawaii before finishing under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
- 7. San Francisco, USA -> Panama -> New York, USA SF Departure: April 14, 2012 / Panama ETA: May 9, 2012 Panama Departure: May 16, 2012 / New York ETA: May 29, 2012 Leg 7 is a 5,200 mile coast-to-coast US race, leaving the starting gate in California, sailing down the coast of Baja California and Central America to the Panama Canal. Once through the engineering marvel, the race begins anew, through the Caribbean, past Cuba and on to my homeport of Liberty Landing Marina in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.
- 8. New York, USA -> Nova Scotia, Canada -> Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland -> the Netherlands -> the Solent, UK New York Departure: June 7, 2012 / Nova Scotia ETA: June 11, 2012 Nova Scotia Departure: June 15, 2012 / Ireland ETA: June 29, 2012 Ireland Departure: July 7, 2012 / Holland ETA: July 11, 2012 Holland Departure: July 18 or 19, 2012 / Race End: July 22, 2012 Leg 8 is the homecoming race with several stops along the way. From Manhattan, the teams will make a quick 600 mile dash north to Nova Scotia. From there, it’s a 2,200 mile run to the Irish city of Derry Londonderry before another quick 800 mile dash down to the Netherlands and finally finishing back in England.
For information on the race, please visit the Clipper Round the World webpage.