Portsmouth prepares for VOR big send off tomorrow 1/6/06

The next leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-06 sets off from the start line at Southsea Castle at 1730 tomorrow (Friday 2 June) and the City of Portsmouth is preparing a fantastic send off for the six yachts as they head off around Great Britain and Ireland on the penultimate leg of their round the world race.
Having hosted the Volvo Open 70 yachts and their crews for the past two weeks the organisers at the Volvo Ocean Race Village at Gunwharf Quays and the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard are preparing a host of attractions for the big send-off including the Volvo Experience Exhibition in Gunwharf Quays Plaza. The Busking Festival continues in the Volvo Ocean Race Village at Gunwharf Quays and on The Hard and there are live bands on the Gunwharf Quays Waterfront stage, fun attractions and face painters in Central Square.

Visitors to Portsmouth will also be able to view the six Volvo Open 70s berthed at Gunwharf Quays as the crews make last minute preparations for this tough 1,500 mile sprint around the British Isles.

At 1445 the yachts and crews will be blessed by the Very Reverend David Brindley, Dean of Portsmouth, and at 1510 the Royal Navy Black Cats Lynx Helicopter Display Team will perform a flypast at Gunwharf Quays.

The yachts will start departing from Gunwharf Quays at 1530, each leaving to its own team song en route to the start line at Southsea Castle.

The Black Cats will display at Southsea Castle at 1640, followed by a display by a Sea Hawk and Sea Fury from the Royal Navy Historic Flight.

The race start is at 1730 and the yachts will head west towards Cowes where they will pass close to shore through a gate between South Bramble and Prince Consort buoys. There will be live commentary on the start at Southsea Castle and at Gunwharf Quays and the start will be broadcast live on Express FM 93.7 and also streamed live via the Volvo Ocean Race website, www.volvooceanrace.org.

The best vantage points will be Southsea Seafront, Gilkicker Point, Stokes Bay, Cowes, Gurnard and Hurst Castle.