The 12 Clipper Race yachts left the Gosport Marina and will perform a parade of sails alongside the Spinnaker Tower before heading off to London.
As the boats left the marina, other crews waved goodbye and wished them luck for their quick journey to the capitol where they will have their final prep week.
Following months of training and preparations involving a constant throng of crew and skippers, the Clipper Race HQ in Gosport was left eerily empty and quiet today as the race fleet slipped its lines and the crew departed Portsmouth Harbour for London for the tenth edition Race Start.
The event, which will involve 700 crew members from 41 different countries, is in its 10th edition since it was founded in 1996 by veteran yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who was the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world 46 years ago.
A race spokeswoman said: "Crew of all ages come from all walks of life, from chief executives and taxi drivers, to nurses, firemen, farmers, airline pilots and students. The minimum age is 18 but there is no upper age limit and the oldest crew member on this race is 74."
Just ahead of departure however, an excited buzz and feeling of anticipation was felt all around the marina with the reality of the adventure ahead now within touching distance.
The Clipper Race fleet is due to arrive in London’s St Katharine Docks from approximately 16:45 BST on Thursday 20 August. The Race Village is open to the public from 10:00am on Saturday 22 August right through until the long awaited fleet departure on Sunday 30 August.