Friday 6 June saw the Clipper 2002 fleet of eight identical 60-foot yachts set sail on the penultimate fifth leg of the eleven-month circumnavigation and a 2,311 mile long race from Mauritius to Cape Town.
His Excellency the Vice President of the Republic of Mauritius, Mr Raouf BUNDHUN, sounded the hooter on the Coast Guard Ship Guardian at exactly 12:00 local time to start Race 12 of the Clipper 2002 series. His Excellency Mr SNOXELL, British High Commissioner, was also on board.
The wind was light as the eight yachts bunched up on the starting line, with an armada of spectator vessels poised to witness the start of leg 5. A picture perfect race start, with light winds from the West and blue skies, saw Adam KYFFIN and Liverpool Clipper's crew on great form as they secured an excellent start.
Liverpool Clipper was closely followed by the Bristolians, who in turn were chased by their arch-rivals on board Jersey. Although the best start was actually had by a tuna vessel that ploughed across the narrow start line ahead of the fleet, albeit 30 seconds too early according to Race Director, Colin de MOWBRAY. As the fleet embarked on the route to South Africa, the remaining order was Hong Kong, London, Glasgow, Cape Town and New York.
Although the winds were light it was a perfect setting with the dramatic mountainous backdrop and the packed crowds on the jetty were treated to a Jazz band and firecrackers. After a calm start to the day, the excitement built on land - as did the breeze, in time for an excellent start from Mauritius and the eight international yachts are now making 6 knots as they make their way along the coast.