Global Challenge crews, friends and relatives prepare themselves for this morning's big send-off

Handkerchief sales at Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays shopping centre may well have reached an all time high this weekend as Global Challenge crews, friends and relatives prepared themselves for this morning’s big send-off.

As well as the tearful departure the 216 crew volunteers who’ve each paid a total of £26,750 for the pleasure of sailing against the prevailing winds around the world, have also been preparing for a very lively start in the predicted gale force winds that are likely to hit the start area bang on cue for the 1400 gun.

As the 12-strong Global Challenge fleet leave the relative shelter of the Solent in a westerly direction towards the Needles conditions are likely to get worse as south-south-westerly gales worsen as they head into it. The crew’s first night of their 10-month voyage is definitely going to be one to remember! The west-going tide will

But it’s not just the wind that’ll be causing the problems out there, it’s the addition of the west-going tide (wind against tide) that will create an incredibly nasty sea that will more that put the crews to the test.

After this morning’s blessing of the fleet at 1030, crews will board their yachts and head out of Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays for the last time this year.

The start area will be positioned due south of Southsea Castle so if you are able to get on the water, head for Southsea Castle where you should get a decent view of the fleet heading off.

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