More Solent Spectator Action this weekend

All six Volvo 70s will compete in the Portsmouth in-port race on Monday 29 May. The boats will leave Gunwharf Quays following a departure ceremony at 1030 BST, in preparation for a race start of 1300. The boats are expected to return to Gunwharf at 1700, with a prize giving at 1800, followed by a light show from the Spinnaker Tower at 2200.

The race area is five nautical miles south of Portsmouth Harbour, bounded by the Nab tower to the east and Bembridge, Isle of Wight to the west. This area encompasses the notorious Princessa shoals, where the iron remains of the steamer lie; however, the winds

photo: Rick Tomlinson

should keep the boats away from the shoals if they turn out to be the 15 knot north-easterlies forecasted.

This will be the sixth in-port of the Volvo race. Previous races have stuck to windward-leeward courses of three or four legs, with orientation wind-dependent. As the forecast stands, the start is likely to be towards the island and the windward mark in the direction of Chichester bar. As the shallows surrounding the sailing area mean that the boats will be over three miles offshore, the best spectator spots will be on the water. For those who can’t get out on the water, the high ground to the south of Bembridge should offer a reasonable viewing platform. You can listen to a live commentary from 1245 BST on the Volvo Ocean Race website; see