It was a day of blustery showers out on the Solent as the boats of the Volvo Ocean Race battled breakages and squalls for the Portsmouth In-Port Race. As the boats left Gunwharf Quay Mike Sanderson (below) looked confident. The weather forecast was in Black Betty's favour, with strong winds expected.
If you check his left hand you can also a new addition - a wedding ring. Congratulations to Mike and Emma!
Meanwhile the sun shone on Captain JP as he relaxed in the netting by the bowsprit on the gaff-topsail schooner J.R.Tolkien and admired the view ....
We had time for a quick lunch before the 1pm start.
All the boats got away cleanly, with Pirates and Brunel taking the left hand side of the course towards the island, the rest the right hand shore side. It was Pirates that was first around the windward mark and first back down - maybe because of wind shifts, because it was blustery conditions.
As they round the mark to start lap 2 it was ABN1, Pirates then Brazil. Behind there was tight battle underway between ABN2 and Ericsson. Brunel was already well behind.
Conditions worsened, with strong, gusty winds and rain squals lashing the fleet and surprisingly small spectator fleet. All round the fleet sails where being tested and boats were seen yawing under pressure. Waves were capped with white horses.
Then cries were heard - "Pirates have split their spinnaker!"
It was the break ABN1 were looking for, and they steamed passed.
Other boats too were feeling the strain as rain lashed us all out at the eastern end of the Solent by the forts.
Even though the conditions and winds eased, there proved to be nothing to stop Mike Sanderson and the boys on Black Betty, that cruised to a comfortable win.
Behind it was Pirates, then Brazil, then ABN2 - successfully holding off Ericsson (below), and finally Brunel.
It was a fun day out - which clearly showed how the in-port race has proved a welcome addition to the Volvo Ocean Race. It's just a shame more weren't out on the water to see it. But as noted before, coverage of the event in the UK is just awful.
All pictures (c) Captain JP