HAMPSHIRE sailors setting out on the latest leg of the round-the-world Clipper Race have been halted due to thick fog.

Eleven of the 12 teams left Southampton's twin city, Qingdao, in China earlier today as they began the tenth race of the 40,000-mile event.

But within hours they were stopped due to thick fog off the eastern coast of China, and are now unlikely to set off again until tomorrow.

Eric Holden, skipper of Henri Lloyd which had gone into an early lead, said: “They will now motor-sail offshore until the visibility improves and then restart racing using the Le Mans procedure.

“I expect that this will happen at first light tomorrow morning.”

Derry-Londonderry-Doire, Mission Performance and Qingdao were the other vessels at the front of the fleet.

PSP Logistics only arrived in Qingdao yesterday, and will leave on Tuesday.

This leg of the race will see the vessels make the 5,800 mile crossing across the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco in the United States.