Long-term benefits for Lerwick Harbour and Shetland
The Tall Ships have sailed, but the four-day visit will live long in the memory and in future benefits for Lerwick Harbour and Shetland.
Lerwick Port Authority Chief Executive, Captain Calum Grains, said: “We now have had a hat-trick of successful Tall Ships Races and more fond memories following previous visits in 1999 and 2011.
“It has all been worth the considerable input by all involved, with new friendships made and international reputations enhanced – Lerwick’s as a tall ships friendly port with capacity and adaptability, Shetland as a welcoming community for visitors – and with a legacy for the future.”
With a number of the vessels arriving ahead of the official event, from 26-29 July, the busy harbour’s capacity was again demonstrated, with normal operations continuing across the various sectors, and some users adopting temporary arrangements where necessary.
The 37 tall ships, with around 1,300 crew and trainees, were from the Far East, South America, Scandinavia and UK, including Shetland’s own Swan.
Traffic during the four days included five cruise ships – three in one day – with three at berth and two at anchor, bringing around 4,000 passengers to enjoy the bonus of the Tall Ships festival atmosphere.
It has been estimated that around 10,000 people – islanders, visitors and cruise passengers - attended the event on each day, with immediate gain for the local economy.
The wide media coverage, boosted by the presence of HRH The Princess Royal, promoted Lerwick as a location for tourism, adding to the legacy.
Port users and supply chain companies were among the many sponsors whose backing in kind, cash and skills made it all possible. They, along with Authority staff, volunteers, traders, Shetland Tall Ships Ltd, Sail Training Shetland, and others deserve sincere thanks.
Captain Grains said: “The Authority’s long-established support for sail training has been encouraged by the response to the Races, with 100 trainees recruited in the islands and across Scotland. This will continue as part of the legacy, giving young people very special life-building and seamanship skills, to both their and the community’s benefit.
“The huge contribution by all to guarantee the event’s success has proved worthwhile and will stand Shetland in good stead in numerous ways. We hope to see individual tall ships return in future years and, eventually, the Races back again.”
For further event coverage, please visit https://www.tallshipslerwick.com/