Joshua the red ketch in La Rochelle

Joshua, the famous red, steel ketch which belonged to the equally famous French solo sailor, Bernard Moitessier, lead the fleet of 10 boats out of La Rochelle which are taking part in Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s Clipper Round the World Race fleet.

Sir Robin and Moitessier were the front-runners in the 1969 Golden Globe solo non-stop round the world race, which Robin won 40 years ago.

The Clipper fleet were starting leg 2 across the Bay of Biscay, which has the reputation of being one of the most feared stretches of ocean in the world. This morning, however, it was more pussy cat than lion for the start of Race 2 of the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race from La Rochelle, France, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Just three knots of breeze barely disturbed the glassy waters as seven of the ten 68-foot yachts opted for lightweight spinnakers to find the most of the zephyr. Jamaica Lightning Bolt and California opted for windseekers and surprisingly Cape Breton Island went straight for a medium weight kite, finding enough breeze to fill it and propel them across the start line in the middle of the fleet. Their luck didn’t hold for long though and they quickly changed down to their lightweight spinnaker.

Ahead lies a 4,890-mile route that is expected to take around 28 days to complete – the longest passage most of the crews will have ever made. Along the way, they will get to experience trade wind sailing, meet King Neptune as they cross the Equator, deal with the challenges of the Doldrums and then work their way down the Brazilian coast before crossing the finish line under the shadow of Sugar Loaf Mountain.

Standings after Race 1
1. Team Finland, 10 points
2. Spirit of Australia, 9
3. Cork, Ireland, 8
4. Cape Breton Island, 7
5. Jamaica Lightning Bolt, 6
6. Hull & Humber, 5
7. Uniquely Singapore, 4
8. Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, 3
9. Qingdao, 2
10. California, 1