Portimão Marina will be the first stop of the hundreds of sailors from all over the world who will participate in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, a circumnavigation regatta that starts in September and will last for close to a year.
The Algarve city will be the first place the crews will set foot on dry land, after their departure from England. The first sailors are expected in the Algarve on the 8th of September, eight days after setting out to sea.
The vessels participating in this competition are of a single model, clipper 70, 21 meters, of unique design. It is on board these sailboats that the 40 nautical miles of the regatta will be completed.
“More than 700 people from 44 countries will participate in the Clipper 2019-20 Race – the twelfth edition of this biennial race. For eleven months, the crew, under the leadership of a skipper and a matt, will cross six oceans and will be tested to the limit by Mother Nature. What makes the challenge even more incredible is the fact that the crew are not professional sailors, with teams made up of doctors, housewives, lawyers, engineers, nurses, farmers, business administrators and surf instructors», according to the organizers of the test.
"The aim is to allow anyone passionate about sailing and the sea to participate in a competition of this dimension", they add.
So the only people on board who have to be professionals are the skipper and a co-skipper. "The rest of the crew will be made up of those who have money, time and, above all, an adventurous spirit."
This is the first time that a stopover will be made in Europe, at the beginning of the competition, in three editions of the competition. After starting the circumnavigation regatta at the St Katharine docks in London, crews will cover 1.200 nautical miles from the English Channel. The fleet will then cross "the always unpredictable Gulf of Biscay and descend the coast of Portugal, to the marina at Portimão".
«Portimão, known as the last safe harbor for both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, is the European City of Sport 2019. Its modern marina will provide the first stopover for the Clipper Race crew, offering an opportunity to rest and allow them to recharge the batteries before starting the first of six ocean crossings – a 5.200 nautical mile stage that will connect the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere, ending in Punta del Este, in Uruguay», describes the Clipper Race organization.
“After months of training and preparation, our Clipper Race crews leave London for a fast and exciting stage to Portimão – the best way to start a round-the-world race”, illustrates Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, founder and president of Clipper Race.
In Portimão, the Clipper Race's hundreds of crew and families will have four days to enjoy everything the city has to offer, namely «kilometers of beaches, excellent cuisine – especially the famous grilled sardines -, good wines, surfing, diving in the impressive underwater museum and the BPM Festival». On September 15th, the fleet sets sail for Uruguay.