The 2017/18 Round-the-World Clipper race, the biggest ever, set off from the Albert Dock in Liverpool on Sunday. This was a change of start venue compared with recent races, as previously the race had left from St Katharine’s docks in London.

The first of the eight legs in the 40,000Nm global routing will take the 12 participating yachts with their professional skippers and non-professional crew member on a 6,400Nm sail to Punta del Este in Uruguay. This leg, the longest ever in any of the Clipper RTW races over the past 20 years, is expected to take around 35 days.

In total, the 2017/18 race will see 712 non-professional crew from 41 countries participating in the race, which was founded by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Following their stopover in Uruguay, the teams will then head to Cape Town, Fremantle, Sydney, Hobart, The Whitsundays, Sanya, Qingdao, Seattle, Panama and New York before a final crossing of the Atlantic Ocean towards Londonderry and back to Liverpool.

Following a stopover in Uruguay, the teams will then head to Cape Town, Fremantle, Sydney, Hobart, The Whitsundays, Sanya, Qingdao, Seattle, Panama and New York before crossing the Atlantic to Londonderry and returning to Liverpool. The race takes about 11 months to complete and at each of the stopovers there is a mix of pleasure and business as each of the sponsors hold promotional events to highlight their respective brands.

Legendary sailor and Clipper Race chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop around the planet almost 50 years ago, founded the race to allow anyone, regardless of experience, the chance to experience ocean racing.

He said: “Over the next 11 months, our crew and skippers will get to face everything Mother Nature can throw at them. Upon their return they will have sailed across many of the world's greatest oceans. Very few people get to say that. The Clipper Race has got bigger and better with each edition and I can’t help feeling incredibly proud as I watch our crew head off on what will certainly be a life changing journey. I will be watching them closely and wish them all safe voyage.”