Global Challenge crews prepare for the big one tomorrow

With the final preparations for the Global Challenge race start now complete, crews are spending their last 24 hours making the most of the land-based activities here at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth. Thankfully the early morning weather front – driving rain and strong winds – passed rapidly making way for sun and clear blue skies just in time for the arrival of 1,000s of visitors and for the start of the Portsmouth Carnival.

As part of Portsmouth’s special send-off celebrations, crews from the 12 yachts joined in the procession and enjoyed an interesting tour through the jam-packed carnival route through the town and down to the marina. Friends and relatives of the 216 crew members were also made to feel welcome by joining in the carnival spirit.

Although the carnival is still very much underway, it won’t be long before visitors start to disappear and the harsh reality of what lies ahead for the crews will begin to set in. Once the crews go back to their boats and shut down their hatches this evening, that is that and there’s no going back.

Despite the emotional process of bidding their final farewells to loved ones, and forecast of gale force winds tomorrow, the crews are more than ready to slip their lines and head out to sea for the start of their gruelling first leg. Amedeo Sorrentino – skipper of Vaio – has all his family over from Rome but chatting from the yacht this morning he said: “It’s great that they’re all here but I feel it’s definitely time to go. We’ve done everything we can on the yacht and we’re now looking forward to the start tomorrow.”

Giles Lock, crewman aboard Samsung, who’s been in training for two and a half years added: “We just want to get on with it now, crack on and get down to the good weather. I think tomorrow morning will be fairly emotional but there’s too much to think about right now. Our slot for leaving the dock is midday so there’s still time for plenty of goodbyes.”