May 31 - London has been named to host the start and finish of the world's longest ocean event, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
The 2013-2014 edition of the event will leave the capital on September 1 this year, taking in 40,000 miles, 14 ports and six continents, before returning in July 2014.
London Mayor Boris Johnson (pictured top, right) and Clipper Race founder and chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (pictured top, left) made the announcement at St Katharine Docks - where the twelve-strong fleet will be based from August 24 - in front of Tower Bridge today.
"This will be the ninth edition of the biennial Clipper Race, a unique global event, and what better place to host the start and finish than London, in front of one of the best known landmarks in the world," Sir Robin, who became the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-1969, said.
"This will be the first time the capital has hosted a global yacht race start and finish.
"We have a huge following and I'm proud that this will showcase London to our fans and partners around the world as well as making a significant economic impact in the local economy as crew, officials, sponsors and guests visit and stay in the area to participate in the event.
"Out of the 650 international crew participating in the race more than 80 live in the Greater London area, so it will be especially exciting for them. Our crew come from all walks of life, are aged from 18 into their early seventies, and over a third are women."
This year's event will see the debut of the third generation Clipper 70 ocean racing yacht and the boats will begin and end their global journey in the Thames in front of Tower Bridge.
"Playing host to the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will once again see London showcasing why it is the best big city on earth in which to hold major sporting events," Johnson said.
"It's a fantastic honour for the capital to mark the beginning and end of this feat of human endeavour, which will not only provide an awesome spectacle for hordes of sailing fans, but also give a huge boost to the wider London economy.
"Those who take part are an inspiration to us all and exhibit the very best of the human spirit.
"As they battle through everything the elements can throw at them, I wish everyone on board these stunning vessels the very best of luck."
More than 3,000 people, including non-professional and novice sailors, have participated in the Clipper Race since its creation in 1996.
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