HAMPSHIRE sailors competing in the world’s longest yachting race are today back at sea as they line up to start the latest race to the Big Apple.

The 12-strong fleet taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race are set to leave behind the tropical destination of Jamaica and head to New York.

The fleet, which includes Southampton’s Lindsey Nobel and Jacob Carter, from Portchester, are set for an interesting 1,420 race complete with thunderstorms and crackling lightening, as well as winds from every point of the compass as the yachts head away from the steady Caribbean trade winds.

Mark Light, deputy race director, said: “Thunderstorms are likely to provide some spectacular backdrops with the air alive with static and lightening cracking in to the sea around the finish line in the Ambrose Channel outside the Big Apple.”

Hazards include reefs around the Bahamas and a large amount of shipping close to New York. The yachts are also advised to stay at least 12 miles clear of Haiti and Cuba.

Each yacht also has the opportunity to use one 24 hour period of Stealth Mode.

Estimated arrival into New York is May 31.