British sailor Matt Humphries and team sailed Brunel across the Leg 7 finish line in Portsmouth earlier today 22/5/06

AT 1016GMT today skipper Matt Humphries and team aboard the VO70 Brunel crossed the finish line at Gilkicker point to take fifth place on Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Following an extremely tough leg which was dogged by major gear failure including a destroyed headsail tack fitting, a ripped mainsail, wheel problems, team Brunel were relieved to step ashore safely here in Portsmouth before immanent gale force winds return later this afternoon.

Humphries, the British skipper who stood for Leg 7 when owner/skipper Grant Wharington suffered medical problems after Baltimore/Annapolis to New York legs was previously watch leader.

Humphries pushed the boat hard in the early stages of the leg and matched ABN AMRO One for speed in the windy conditions but gear breakages slowed her progress. Although earlier indications of a keel problems yesterday were, according to Wharington unjustified, there’s obviously a number of problems that need sorting before they set off again on the tough round Britain and Ireland leg which starts on 2 June.