Sailors from across the world gear up in Southampton retro round-the-world race

  • WATCH ITV News Meridian's Tommaso Dimiddio reporting from Southampton.

Fourteen intrepid crews are preparing to embark on an eight-month race around the world.

Yachts in the Ocean Globe Race have no computers, GPS or other modern technology and their crews will use sextants to navigate the 27,000 mile journey.

The race will depart from Southampton at 1pm on Sunday

On this day in 1973, 17 yachts from 7 countries sailed out from Portsmouth in the first ever Ocean Globe Race known then as the Whitbread Round the World Race.

And this week old friends and rivals met again in Southampton to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the competition.

Butch Dalrimple-Smith was onboard Mexican yacht Sayula - the first to cross the finish line half a century ago. The Duke of Edinburgh gave him a beer mug at the prize giving.

Butch said: "What I like about it is it doesn't actually say that it's a prize, it doesn't say the we won. It just says Whitbread Round the World Race, Sayula and my name.

"And I like that. But the memory of course is there and that's the important thing. The memory and the friends."

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the competition. Credit: The Ocean Race

This year's sailors are gearing up for the race - which will be in the style of the original competition. What that means is no computers, satellites or GPS are allowed.

That means even music can only be listened to on old-school cassettes.

Skipper Mark Sinclair said: "Every boat has to have an under 24-year-old onboard which is really exciting and you know, sort of, means that we're trying to recreate if you like the golden age of sailing where the average bloke could sail around the world. Average bloke, average woman."

"I'll be really happy to cast off and get underway.

"Get a little piece and quiet, we'll go to sea and we can get on with this great adventure. You know, it's a lot of preparation and a lot of pressure on the crew to get into the starting line and it will be really refreshing to start to get on with it."

Skipper Heather Thomas said: "We would be the first all female team to win a round the world race which is obviously a huge accolade and we would love to show women all around the world what we're capable of and what women are capable of. So it would be a really big thing for us to win it."

This year 23 countries are represented across the 14 yachts and the race starts in Southampton on Sunday (10 September).

After making stops in South Africa, New Zealand and Uruguay, the first boats are due to return to Ocean Village in April next year.

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