Sailors embarking on a round-the-world race set sail from Southampton.

The highly anticipated Ocean Globe Race started with a bang on Sunday.

Fourteen intrepid crews are taking part in the eight-month, 27,000-mile race across the world.

The sailors will be sailing via the three great capes: Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, Australia’s Cape Leeuwin, and South America’s notorious Cape Horn.

Among the sailors is University of Southampton Anne De Kerviler. She is racing to South Africa, then to Auckland, Punta del Este and back to Southampton in April.

Ahead of the race, she said: “I am most excited about the experience and just being a part of it, but also passing the equator and going south as this is such an achievement for a sailor, it is a lot less travelled which makes it pretty cool to achieve.”

Hundreds of people gathered at Ocean Village to wave off their families and loved ones.

Several people were showing their support for Heather Thomas, skipper on the Maiden ship.

Daily Echo: L-R: Sue Martin, Matt Thomas, Lindsay Thomas and Rachel ThomasL-R: Sue Martin, Matt Thomas, Lindsay Thomas and Rachel Thomas (Image: Newsquest)

Her mother Lindsay Thomas, 58, said: “Heather is a skipper on the Maiden which is an all-female crew.

“It supports and empowers education. They have an amazing team of people of all nationalities.

“Heather has worked for Maiden for the last year and a half and worked her way up to skipper.

“She grew up sailing dinghies in a gravel pit. We are very proud of her.”

READ MORE: Veterans from original Ocean Globe Race celebrate 50th anniversary reunion

Her dad Matt Thomas, nan Sue Morris, and sister Rachel Thomas were also showing support for Heather.

Her cousin Arthur Swarbrick was in attendance with his wife Sam and two children Rufus and Izzy.

Daily Echo: Arthur and Sam Swarbick with their children Rufus and IzzyArthur and Sam Swarbick with their children Rufus and Izzy (Image: Newsquest)

Arthur said: “Heather is my cousin, and we are here to support her and say goodbye until we see her in a few months.

“We have travelled down from Bristol. We are having a nice time in Southampton.”

The Royal Family also surprised the Maiden team with a message of support.

Posting online, Camilla, the Queen Consort, said: “You are all much in my thoughts today, as you cross the start line of the Ocean Globe Race for Maiden’s final race.

“I do hope that each one of you is proud to be part of such a special crew, bringing Messages of Hope to girls across the world.

“I wish you fair winds and following seas.”

The Finnish flag was being waved by proud parents Leena and Jens Hongell, who travelled to Southampton to support their son Mikko.

Daily Echo: Leena (right) and Jens HongellLeena (right) and Jens Hongell (Image: Newsquest)

Mikko, 33, set sail onboard Galiana WithSecure from Ocean Village.

Leena, 67, said: “We are excited he is taking part. We have been in Southampton for one week.

“Mikko has been staying with us until his family arrived on Thursday.”

Jens, 75, said: “This is one of the greatest things we have ever had with our son.

“We have been walking to the race in Ocean Village every day.

“We are both very, very proud of him. And we are very impressed with the city and its seafaring culture.”

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Leena added: “We really understand the history of Southampton now.”

Graham Butterworth and Rob de Silva were among those supporting the crew onboard Maiden.

Rob said: “The race is fantastic and it’s good for the city.”

Graham added: “It’s a huge spectacle. We were hoping for more people for the send-off today, but it’s good for the sport and for Southampton.”