The tenth edition of the Clipper Round the world race set sail from Southend pier in the Thames Estuary on Monday.
The 12-strong fleet made up of a mix of amateurs and pros as they began their record breaking 40,000 nautical mile journey.
The race is divided into eight legs and 16 individual races covering six continents and should take some 11 months to complete.
It is the only race in the world where the organisers supply a fleet of twelve identical 70-foot ocean racing yachts each with a fully qualified skipper to safely guide the crew.
Race 1 sees the fleet tackle just over 5,000 nautical miles from the British capital to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.