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Sailors to set off for solo race
Three British sailors will set sail hoping to win the ultimate yachting prize - the Vendee Globe solo non-stop around-the-world race.
Mike Golding, 52, from Southampton, Alex Thomson, 38, from Gosport, Hampshire and Sam Davies, 38, - the only woman entrant - from Hayling Island, Hampshire, will leave France for the race dubbed the Marathon Of The Seas.
The 25,000 mile circumnavigation is due to start from Les Sables d'Olonne at 12.02pm GMT.
The French have so far dominated the race winning all six previous competitions with Michel Desjoyeaux the 2008/09 winner.
There are 20 sailors from six different countries setting sail with the French the biggest group on twelve, followed by Britain.
First prize is 160,000 euro (£120,000) but it is not all about the money.
The Vendee is the ultimate test of human endurance with on average only half the boats ever making it back to Les Sables.
Two sailors have lost their lives since the race started in 1989 and several others have been lucky to survive.
Conditions at the start are likely to be challenging, with heavy rain and wind forecast, but this will not stop an estimated 250,000 people lining the port and seafront to wave the skippers off as sailing in France is a big draw.
The British challenge this year is headed by Thomson, who is sailing in Hugo Boss. He has a reputation for speed but has not yet finished a Vendee after two previous attempts.