On Thursday 29 April the twelve identical, 72ft Global Challenge race yachts will be making their grand entrance to the public as they set sail from Plymouth to London on their maiden voyage, following their multi-million pound refit.
The fleet will arrive in the heart of the capital on Saturday 1 May, sailing along the Thames in formation and through Tower Bridge, which is being raised especially for this memorable occasion at 08.40.
The crews, made up of men and women from all walks of life, and nationality, will be gathering together for the first sail on 'their' yachts, as they prepare for the Global Challenge which sets sail on Sunday 3 October 2004.
Hundreds are expected to pack the Embankment as the yachts make their dramatic entrance into the City and St Katharine Dock, which will be their home for 'London Week' (3 - 8 May 2004).
On Sunday 2 May 2004 there will be a Friends and Family Day for the crew, who, in less than six months, will be packing in their jobs and leaving their families to race for ten months around the world, in an event described as the World's Toughest Yacht Race.
On Bank Holiday Monday, 3 May, there will be a Public Open Day for the official race charity, Save the Children, sponsored by Barclays. There will be a raft of activities including open boats, so the general public can look around the race yachts; live music; yacht naming ceremony; demonstrations and children's entertainment.
The yachts will then be berthed in St Katharine Dock for a week of events and corporate hospitality activities, before they set sail back to Southampton.