WITH the famous round-the-world Clipper Race set to create quite a spectacle on The Solent, a group of young sailors from the Isle of Wight were given a unique opportunity to meet those taking part in it.


The Clipper Race — one of sailing's toughest challenges — will see 11 racing yachts depart from Portsmouth at 4pm this afternoon (Sunday), to take on the gruelling 40,000-nautical mile journey.

Isle of Wight County Press: A group of young sailors of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Fishbourne.A group of young sailors of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Fishbourne. (Image: Wightlink)

Young sailors from the Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Fishbourne found out what it’s like to sail around the world, when Wightlink arranged a behind the scenes visit to the Clipper Race yachts, berthed in Gunwharf Quays.

They discovered more about the international event and talked to some of the men and women taking on the challenge across the world’s oceans.

Among the youngsters given the rare opportunity, was 12-year-old Harry O’Callaghan, of Fishbourne, who is already a keen RS Tera dinghy racer, who came tenth in the RS Tera Nationals, held at Fishbourne last month.

Isle of Wight County Press: Fishbourne sailor Harry O'Callaghan got to meet Clipper Race crew.Fishbourne sailor Harry O'Callaghan got to meet Clipper Race crew. (Image: Wightlink)

Harry said: “The Clipper Race visit was so much fun. We went on one of the boats and saw how the sails work.

"I’m definitely going to be tracking them on my phone to see how they are doing and, who knows, maybe I’ll get to sail around the world one day.”

The Royal Victoria Yacht Club has a lively cadet section, where enthusiastic young people can get started in the sport — assisted by Wightlink sponsorship.

Wightlink's chief executive, Keith Greenfield — a keen sailor himself — said: “We were delighted to invite youngsters from the Royal Victoria Yacht Club to get an insight into this amazing challenge.

"I hope it inspires them to take part in a future Clipper Race.”

More than 700 crew will take part in the Clipper Race over eight legs — tackling some of the most challenging conditions Mother Nature can serve up, from freezing temperatures and 40ft waves, to the blistering heat and flat calms of The Tropics.

The race should be clearly visible from vantage points along the eastern side of the Isle of Wight.