HAMPSHIRE sailors competing in the world’s longest yachting race are lining 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 with the next hour.

The fleet, which includes Southampton’s Lindsey Noble, and 19-year-old student Jacob Carter, from Portchester, are set for an interesting 1,420-mile race complete with thunderstorms and crackling lightning, as well as winds from every point of the compass as the yachts head away from the steady Caribbean trade winds.

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 has the chance to use one 24-hour period of stealth mode.

The estimated arrival date in New York is May 31.