A SWANMORE man is among those who set off on a gruelling yacht race around the world.

The Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race started in spectacular style as yachts left Liverpool on Sunday.

The race previously set off from London - and before that it was in Southampton.

John Vearncombe from Swanmore is among those taking part in the race.

The 53-year-old stepfather of two is raising money for the St George Foundation and will be sailing in the yacht called ‘Liverpool 2018’.

The 40,000 nautical mile round-the-world race will see 12 70ft yachts raced across the plant by 712 amateur sailors.After the yachts left Albert Dock they performed a white sail parade on the River Mersey - before starting their journey towards Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Split into eight legs, the first to the south American city is more than 6,400 nautical miles and is expected to take 35 days - making it the longest opening leg in the 21-year history of the race.

The race will also visit other cities around the world, including Seattle, Cape Town, and Qingdao - finishing in Liverpool on July 28 next year, where the overall winners will be crowned.

Speaking about taking part, Mr Vearncombe said: “Doing the whole race, all 13 races, 8 legs and 11 months is truly daunting. I knew that I could do one leg which is why one leg was not enough. But the thought of doing them all does quietly terrify me. Do I have the stamina to see it through? Will I have the will power to battle through the tough times? How am I going to cope with being with 20 other strangers on a 70ft yacht for such periods?

“I have all these doubts. That is my challenge.

“Overcoming these is my adventure and sailing around the world is the opportunity, the mechanism and the achievement that allows me to face these fears.”