International events contributing to busy season

Dozen of yachts will be on course for Lerwick Harbour later this month, contributing to another busy sailing season in Shetland.

The 20th annual Bergen-Shetland Races will be marked with the highest number of entries in recent years – 53 so far and still increasing – and the introduction of a new class for double-handed yachts.

The majority of the other yachts will have a minimum crew of four, with most of the competitors coming from Norway where the Races begin on Wednesday 21 June.

The line-up will include three Scottish entries – Roundabout from Lerwick, Exile from Orkney and Krak Att from the Moray Firth area, with Shetlanders, Drew Sutherland, George Ratter and Peter Sinclair respectively as skippers.

The yachts will arrive in Lerwick on Thursday 22 June to berth on both sides of Victoria Pier until Sunday 25 June when they depart for the return race to Bergen.

The first competitors in The Shetland Round Britain & Ireland Race are expected to arrive in Lerwick on 21 June for a 48-hour stopover. The event, sponsored by VisitShetland has attracted more than 40 entries. They include the Jager, sponsored by Shetland Catch and with Shetlander, Leslie Irvine, crewing for owner/skipper Dick Koopmans from the Netherlands.

These yachts, including around a dozen multi-hulls, will be berthed at the port’s recently installed pontoon at Albert Wharf, which is also designed for use by cruise ship tenders.

The additional capacity for yachts reflects Lerwick’s increasing popularity as a port-of-call, with a significant rise last year to 464.

A number of other yachts are also expected at the same time as the races, and it is estimated that there could be 400 crewmembers in Lerwick during the period.

Allan Wishart, Lerwick Port Authority Chief Executive, said: “These races not only have an immediate beneficial impact on tourism in Shetland, but are also a very important promotion of the islands’ many attractions and facilities, encouraging further events and visits in the future.”

A major outdoor showcase, Flavour of Shetland, will add to the islands’ traditional warm welcome, with local food & drink, music, craft and culture on Victoria Pier between 22-25 June. It will also include a Viking parade and children’s’ activities.

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