LERWICK is beginning to see an increase in yacht visits following the departure of accommodation barges, which have previously blocked berths in the town’s harbour.
Access to pontoons at Victoria Pier and Albert Wharf had been restricted in recent years due to flotels accommodating oil and gas workers, such as the controversial ‘zebra’ barge.
With only one barge left at Morrison Dock, space has been freed up to allow yachts from countries such as Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK arrive in Lerwick already this season.
The annual Bergen-Shetland Race is set to take place between 23 and 25 June with more than 30 yachts already booked.
The 1000-Mile Doublehanded Race will visit from the Netherlands next year, while the four-yearly Round Britain and Ireland Race will call at Lerwick in 2018.
Lerwick Port Authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson said the harbour’s pontoons in the centre of town have been given a makeover following the exit of the barges.
“It was always our plan to restore the pontoons at the town centre Victoria Pier following the departure of the barges and we have been able to do so in time for this season,” she said.
“Lerwick is the perfect base for sailing the islands of the simmer dim – where the sun barely sets in summer on Shetland’s 1,700-miles of spectacular coastline – as well as further afield.
“The port is increasingly a staging post for voyages to-and-from Arctic waters and there is a trend to larger craft calling.”
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