CREWS in the Clipper Round the World Yacht race are due to set off on their penultimate race this afternoon.

The teams left the Northern Irish port of Derry Londonderry this morning as the competitors, 10 of whom hail from Hampshire, edge nearer to the end of their epic circumnavigation of the world.

The 12 strong fleet are set to line up near Greencastle off the Northern Irish coast in time to see a 25 minute air display by the RAF's Red Arrows at 2.45pm.

They will then start race 15 to Den Helder in the Netherlands.

This will see the crews bid for the OneDLL Cup, taking on an 800 mile route around Scotland and then down into the North Sea to arrive in Holland between July 2 and 4, subject to weather conditions.

The crews will then have an eight-day break in the Dutch port before setting sail for London, from where the race set off 10 months ago.

Before casting off for the start line, the Mayor of Derry Brenda Stevenson made a special presentation to the skippers of the Derry-Londonderry-Doire boat before they departed.

Last weekend crowds lined the quayside to cheer on the team , who were the first to arrive on the River Foyle after winning the trans-Atlantic leg, marking the start week-long LegenDerry Maritime Festival.

Crewed by amateurs but skippered by professional skippers, the Hampshire organised Clipper Race was founded by racing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

It is the world's longest ocean race at more than 40,000 miles.