A Kiwi couple who have lived in London for the last decade are returning by sailing home in a round the world yacht race.

Twelve rookie New Zealand sailors have already signed up for the 2015 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, which leaves the UK on August 30.

Unlike the Volvo Ocean Race, which is only for professional sailors, the Clipper race is open to anyone regardless of experience.

The amateurs - who don't need any sailing experience - can either do all of the 64,000 km, 11-month long ocean odyssey or sign up to individual legs.

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Katrina and Andy Boxall are using the race for a unique trip home after living in the UK for the last decade.

They will race on a 70ft (21.3m) Clipper yacht against international amateur sailors, aged over 18, that include farmers, miners, doctors, truck drivers and housewives.

The Boxalls will be challenging their limits to raise money for the Motor Neurone Association in memory of their close friend Clare who died of MND in 2013 and Clare's partner Jon died of cancer 18 months before her after 38 years together.

"We want to remind all of the tenets that Clare and Jon lived by - do only good and experience it all. Live life to the full and go hard," the Boxalls said.

"If our commitment to their memory inspires others to do the same or, to give a little to those that suffer, then so be it."

Another Kiwi competing the race is Balclutha nurse Cheryl Campbell, currently stationed in the Gaza Strip with the Red Cross.

Ms Campbell, who has also worked in Afghanistan and India treating torture survivors, is doing Leg 6 - the Mighty Pacific Leg from Qingdao, China, to Seattle, USA, next March.

Organisers say she is "excited about being part of a honed racing team, the teamwork aspect, and the intensity of the racing".

Rookies have undergone three compulsory and comprehensive training sessions in Sydney and the UK.

Forty per cent of crew members have never sailed before they start training.

The Clipper Race was established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69.

His aim was to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing experience, the chance to "embrace the thrill of ocean racing".

The 2015-16 edition of the race starts in the UK on August 30.