Southsea had seen some strange flotsam arrive on its beach before – but never a floating Volkswagen.
The car was one of the craft which arrived intact on a journey from South Parade Pier to Southsea Castle in a raft race organised for Portsmouth Polytechnic’s charity rag week.
A dozen rafts, mostly made from expanded polystyrene, scaffolding, wood and ropes, set out from the pier to win a gruelling competition at high tide.
First over the finishing line was the Polytechnic Sailing Club raft, captained by Chris Robinson with a five-man crew.
In a moderate cross-wind, competetors exerted considerable energy getting to the starting line.
The winning prize for their efforts was 18 gallons of beer.
The Volkswagen Beetle was entered by Polytechnic Motor Club and, complete with wheels and sealed for leaks, it completed the course watched by an enthusiastic crowd.
The raft’s captain Ron Tofts said: ‘It worked better than we expected.
‘There were only about three small leaks and we managed to keep our feet pretty dry.’