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Ex royal yacht leads the pack

Bergen Shetland Race yachts in Lerwick harbour on Friday. Pic. Chris Brown

HUNDREDS of sailors are relaxing and enjoying themselves in Lerwick after the former Norwegian king’s private yacht came close to beating the course record for the first leg of the Bergen Shetland Race.


Wolfpack, with 15 crew on board, arrived in Lerwick harbour at 12.30pm on Thursday, more than three hours ahead of the second boat Skyline, with 12 crew.King Olav V’s former private yacht is overall winner of the first leg after crossing the North Sea from Bergen in 20.5 hours, just failing to beat the race record. Skipper Thomas Nilsson will pick up a prize at Lerwick’s TA Hall on Friday evening.

Skyline had sailed the longer distance from Alesund in a time of almost 32 hours.

Shetland’s Leslie Irvine, on board Vandal with Ewan Stirling, is ninth in the Bergen Shetland Race after crossing the North Sea in more than 32 hours, but is fifth in the 1,000 Mile Race, which has 15 entries competing simultaneously in both competitions.

The 47 yachts competing in the race head back for Norway on Sunday morning at 11am.

John Gear, of the organising committee, said that only one boat had needed a minor repair to a sail after the first leg, implying it was a smooth crossing.

Almost 40 yachts due to arrive this weekend as part of the North Sea Triangle Challenge from Den Helder, in Holland, cancelled due to gales off the Dutch coast this week.