Sailors prepare for round the world trip of a lifetime: Twelve yachts will leave St Kath Docks next month
In less than a month an intrepid group of amateur sailers leave their jobs to take on a trip of a lifetime.
Twelve yachts, each 70 feet long, will set sail from St Katharine Docks on September 1 for a 40,000 mile race around the world, tackling the high seas.
Bankers, IT workers, PAs and a host of other professionals have been training hard to reach peak physical fitness for the odyssey, which will also be an epic battle of spirit.
Chris Nelson, 48, who lives on the Isle of Dogs, has been training for the event for two and a half years but said nothing could prepare him for the real thing.
"During the training you're wondering if this is the right thing to do," said Chris, a freelance IT consultant, pictured in action above. "Even now I can't quite believe what I've let myself in for.
"We've had some very tough training but there will certainly still be situations out there we haven't come across yet."
The journey will involve little sleep, much work and some treacherous sailing.
But Chris, who will be raising money for the Essex charity Dreams Come True, which carries out wishes of terminally ill children, says it has been a lifelong ambition to sail the world.
Potential participants are assessed by a committee before being whittled down from 10,000 to 600 for the Clipper Round The World Race. Chris said judges were impressed by his run in the New York marathon - although his surname couldn't have hurt either.
"It has been mentioned," laughs Chris. "But I'm sure I would have heard by now if I was a relative of Horatio and sadly I haven't."
Michelle Porter, below, a PA in the City, who lives in Blackwall, is competing to raise money for Alzheimer's Society.
She said: "I'm least looking forward to the leg from China to San Francisco. It will be miserable weather and very tough sailing conditions. It doesn't appeal to me at all.
"The bit I'm most looking forward to, however, is the Sydney to Hobart race. There will be us and 80 other yachts leaving the Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day.
"It will be amazing to go half-way around the world and then take part in such a prestigious race - but it does mean no partying at Christmas."
As for her luxury item, it will be the recent gift of a Sony Xperia tablet.
"I'll be loading that with tunes," said Michelle, 36. "But with a limit of just 20kgs each there's not much room for luxury items so I'm just hoping I can fit it in."
The boats will be based in St Katharine Docks from August 22 and can be visited from August 24.