Picture slideshow: Portsmouth Dragon Boat Festival

Clipper Round the World Race crew member Simon Speirs who has died after being swept overboard during the round-the-world yacht race

Portsmouth legend Knox-Johnston leads tributes to sailor killed during Clipper race

  • More than 20 teams take part in the fun this year
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WACKY costumes didn’t stay dry for long as people threw themselves into the high-octane action of dragon boat racing.

There was plenty of paddling, splashing and cheers of ‘come on!’ as hundreds of people delighted in the Portsmouth Dragon Boat Festival.

This year saw 23 teams battle it out in a series of heats on the lake at 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour.

Heading out on to the water were pals Rob Williamson, 29, Joe Stallard, 29, and Laurence Smith, 31, who dressed up as a ‘rock star’ pirate.

They were aiming to raise awareness for Tonic Music For Mental Health, a Portsmouth charity that helps people with mental health issues.

Laurence, from Southsea, said: ‘I have enjoyed being part of a team.’

The Eye of The Tiger team, left, battle with the Ramboll Vikings

The Eye of The Tiger team, left, battle with the Ramboll Vikings

Making a splash were two teams from Portsmouth City Council, including most of the Tory councillors – ranging in age from 18 to 70 – and a team from the children’s services department, including foster carers and their foster children.

Cllr Neill Young, 37, who leads children’s services, said: ‘It’s been good fun.

‘It’s good to do something like this to show we are not just talking and we are doing something positive for the community.’

They were raising money for the Beneficial Foundation, a Portsmouth charity that helps the disadvantaged.

The Foster Portsmouth Beneficial team at the front, against Should Have Had an Outboard team

Picture: Paul Jacobs (160252-9)

The Foster Portsmouth Beneficial team at the front, against Should Have Had an Outboard team Picture: Paul Jacobs (160252-9)

Lauren Harris, 26, from Cosham, was taking part for the fifth year and was raising money for Around and Around, which is aiming to restore the Lively Lady yacht.

‘It’s got a great atmosphere,’ she said.

‘You can get the whole family involved. I enjoy the competitiveness.’

The event is organised by the Rotary Clubs of Portsmouth & Southsea and Southsea Castle.

The Dead Sea Atlantis team of Scouts

Picture: Paul Jacobs (160252-2)

The Dead Sea Atlantis team of Scouts Picture: Paul Jacobs (160252-2)

The chosen charities for 2016 were Enable Ability, which helps care for disabled people, and Fitzroy, a national charity that helps people with learning disabilities.

Carol Jenkinson, one of the organisers, said: ‘It’s gone absolutely brilliantly.

‘We have gone from two days down to one day, so we have double the number of boats racing. You only have to look at the crowds – it’s been packed.’

The overall winners were the Whiteley Warriors with a time of 56.22 seconds.