New event will increase international links. Lerwick will add to its reputation as a port-of-call for European yacht crews, with two international events heading for the Shetland port in June.

The mid-summer highlights of the sailing season will also coincide with Johnsmas Foy – Shetland’s annual celebration of the sea.

More than 450 yachts visited Lerwick in 2006, with Norwegian crews leading the way and Dutch, Swedish and Germans also featuring, along with 14 other nationalities. There was also a near-doubling in the number of yachts arriving from elsewhere in the UK.

The increasing popularity of Lerwick in recent years has been encouraged by a series of improvements to facilities by the Port Authority - the latest a £150,000 60-metre floating landing stage which further expanded berthing when brought into operation in 2006.

The coming season includes the 20th anniversary of the annual two-leg Shetland-Bergen Races, with crews in Lerwick from 21-24 June.

Competitors in a new event, described as the most challenging race in the North Sea, will be there at the same time. Participants in the 1000-mile Doublehanded Race will head from Ijmuiden, in the Netherlands, for Norway to join in the Shetland-Bergen Races.

The welcome includes a quayside “Flavour of Shetland” Showcase from 21-24 June, as part of the Johnsmas Foy Festival (15-24 June), with its mix of culture, music, crafts and food throughout the islands.

With its spectacular scenery and wildlife, fascinating heritage and culture, and a larder of fresh produce, the islands will have a new visitor attraction in summer, 2007 – Shetland Museum and Archives, a purpose-built, waterfront facility to which Lerwick Port Authority has contributed £150,000.

Sandra Laurenson, the Port Authority’s Deputy Chief Executive, said: “The combination of the harbour’s improved facilities, Shetland’s many attractions and the international events means that we’re looking forward to another busy season which will add the islands’ reputation for welcoming yachts.”

*Lerwick Port Authority is exhibiting on the Orkney and Shetland stand (number N472.) at the Collins Stewart London Boat Show, from 5-14 January, 2007.

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