A number of temporary pontoons are being made available to assist with berthing visiting yachts during the Tall Ships Races at Lerwick.

The largest is a substantial 100 metre long pontoon system provided by Ocean Kinetics which is placed south of the port’s breakwater at the small boat harbour. Additional pontoons are also being provided by Lerwick Marina Users Association for both the Marina and Lerwick Boating Club pier.

A huge number of visiting yachts are expected to call at Lerwick for the Tall Ships event. Berthing is at a premium with a number of the 56 vessels in the Tall Ships fleet having already been allocated to the normal visitor berthing areas.

Ocean Kinetics, a marine engineering specialist based in Lerwick, has invested £130,000 in converting a massive former salmon cage structure to provide two pontoons and these are being provided for use during the event. This large pontoon system will be managed by Lerwick Port Authority for visiting yachts and available on a first-come first-served basis.

Lerwick Marina Users Association has acquired redundant fish farm pontoons and sourced funding from the Port Authority to refurbish them. The Marina pontoons are fully booked and the Club is making the pontoons there available on a first-come first-served basis.

The workboat “Skelda Lass” has contributed by laying anchors for the pontoons which will be ready for use in advance of the Tall Ships event days from 21 – 24 July.

John Henderson of Ocean Kinetics said “I am delighted to be able to assist this huge community event in such a practical way with this pontoon system. Having previously visited another Tall Ships host port with my own motor cruiser, I know the difficulties of accommodating the non-race vessels. We are looking forward to the Tall Ships returning to Lerwick and it is great to be involved in such an occasion.”

Chairing the Harbour Sub-Committee of The Tall Ships Races 2011 – Lerwick is Harbourmaster Captain Calum Grains. He said “We have had many enquiries from people wishing to bring their yacht to Lerwick at Tall Ships time and we have not had many options on how to accommodate them. These pontoons are a very welcome temporary addition to our capability.”

George Smith, Chairman of Lerwick Marina Users Association said “We are grateful for the financial assistance from Lerwick Port Authority to refurbish the pontoons and pleased to be able to assist the arrangements for sailing visitors.”

Lerwick Boating Club is already important to visiting yacht crews with popular facilities including showers and laundry. During the 1999 Tall Ships Race, the Club accommodated a number of visiting yachts on pontoons at the Clubhouse pier and is pleased to be able to offer this again.

Fiona Dally, Project Manager of the Tall Ships Races 2011 – Lerwick said “With 56 Tall Ships expected in Lerwick as part of the Races, demand for space in and around the harbour is at a premium. We’re delighted to be provided with this practical support from Ocean Kinetics and also from Lerwick Marina Users Association and Lerwick Boating Club which complements this magnificent event for Shetland.”

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