Shetland port making strong comeback from Covid

Lerwick’s reputation as a popular destination for yacht crews is evident with the high number of early season visitors so far.

Pre-Covid, the island harbour welcomed around 500 visiting yachts annually, both leisure sailors and competitors in local and international events. This year’s tally is already very close to overtaking the entire 2021 season’s total of 143 boats.

Alexander Simpson, Lerwick Port Authority’s Harbourmaster, said: “It is encouraging to see such a strong number of arrivals so far which has got the season off to a great start.

“The level of visiting yachts points to the continuing growth and popularity of Shetland on sailing voyages. We are looking forward to the lively atmosphere that the mid-summer yacht races bring to the Town Centre”.

The first of the entrants in the 15th Round Britain & Ireland Race, Morpheus, a Shuttle 39 trimaran, raced and owned by Andrew Fennell, reached Lerwick today (Tuesday 7 June). The arrivals will be staggered over the next two weeks, with competitors having a 48-hour compulsory stopover before starting the third leg to Blyth. Lerwick Boating Club is providing local liaison for the competitors while in port.

The RB&I race, which first called at Lerwick in 1966, is open to yachts and multihulls, either doubled handed or fully crewed. The 2022 race started in Plymouth on 29 May, with other planned stopovers at Galway and Blyth, before ending at Plymouth.

Also popular in the yachting calendar is the well-known Shetland-Bergen Race. The race is back with a bang this year, having attracted more entries – 46 compared to 33 in 2019 – and building in an extra day at Lerwick from 23-26 June to enjoy island hospitality.

The Shetland race, for double-handed or fully crewed classes with a minimum of four crew members, first visited Lerwick in 1988 and is supported by a local committee.

Another sailing highlight for the season will be the arrival of Norwegian Tall Ship Christian Radich, due in port on 1 July, a forerunner of bigger things to come – the spectacular Tall Ships Races from 26-29 July next year.

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