Expanding berthing capacity at increasingly popular port-of-call.

Lerwick Port Authority is to expand berthing capacity for yachts following a record-breaking season in 2009 when more than 500 craft visited the Shetland harbour.

With a cruise ship tender pontoon in Albert Dock used by yachts when available, it is to be relocated, from Albert Wharf to Victoria Pier, to maximise berthing in the dock for yachts. The move is scheduled for completion before the end of May.

There are also plans for additional yacht pontoons for Albert Wharf in summer, 2011.

Calum Grains, Lerwick Port Authority Harbourmaster, said: “These measures, which together will increase the port’s visiting yacht pontoon capacity by 50%, are the latest in a series of yacht-related improvements in recent years which, along with Shetland’s many attractions, have contributed to making the harbour an increasingly popular port-of-call for crews.

“Two international races, with around 90 entries between them and coinciding with major visitor events, will make mid-June peak season in Shetland’s yachting calendar.”

Last year, a total of 504 yachts called at Lerwick where the new season is underway, with the first yachts now arriving.

The 2010 season will include eight multihulls and 49 monohulls in the four-yearly Shetland Round Britain & Ireland Race, sponsored by Shetland Islands Council and due in Lerwick sometime between 16-22 June for 48-hour stopovers. Entries include the local yacht, Streamline.

Also returning to Lerwick are the annual Sjøassistanse Bergen-Shetland Races, with over 30 yachts - including a local entry, Speedy Pym - which will be in port between 17-20 June.

The races will coincide with Flavour of Shetland on Victoria Pier from 17 -20 June, when the best of the islands’ music and culture, crafts, food and drink will again be showcased, and with Shetland Hamefarin – Homecoming – which, between 14-26 June, will welcome back home islanders from around the world.

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