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Busy yacht season ahead

Yachts in Lerwick Harbour last June. Another busy season is expected this summer. Photo: Ian Leask

LERWICK Harbour is gearing up for a busy summer of sailing with a series of local and international events expected to attract several hundred crew, beginning with the arrival of entrants in the Round Britain & Ireland Yacht Race this week.

The race, held every four years, began in Plymouth on 1 June and the 13 remaining entries are en route clockwise around Britain and Ireland. The race is open to all yachts and multihulls between 30 and 50 feet in length, crewed by two people.

Lerwick is again one of the 48-hour compulsory stops and entrants are expected at various times from Wednesday onwards.

All told, more than 500 yachts are expected in the harbour during the summer season.

Later this month competitors in the annual Bergen-Shetland Race are due to arrive. Around 40 yachts, in either fully crewed or double-handed classes, are expected to participate in the race first held in 1987, with competitors expected in Lerwick on 26 June before departing on the return leg on 29 June.

Another major date on the sailing calendar is the European Fireball Sailing Championships, last held in Lerwick in 2003, with high-performance dinghy crews competing in up to 10 races in Breiwick and the port’s south harbor.

The European competition will be held in the week following the Shetland National Fireball Championships. The latter event’s six races will take place on 24-25 July.

Lerwick Port Authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson said: “The harbour will again be playing host to a number of sailing enthusiasts, many of them repeat visitors, meeting and competing in the established races and underlining the popularity of the port and Shetland with yachting crews.

“The return of competitions, whether annually or years apart, is always special – including, for example, the European Fireball Championships, back for the first time in more than a decade.”

• For more information on events in Lerwick Harbour, including local regattas, you can visit the LPA’s website at www.lerwick-harbour.co.uk/events.