THIS year’s Shetland Race got underway on Wednesday morning with 34 competing yachts going across the starting line in Bergen in a competition celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Their progress can be tracked online, with the trackers updated every 30 minutes, here. The early leader on the water is Solo 2, skippered by Rune Aasberg.
Sandra Laurenson of the Shetland Race committee said winds looked favourable for decent speeds for much of Wednesday, though lighter winds could slow progress as the yachts approach Shetland.
The yachts will be in Lerwick from Thursday until Saturday (25 June) for the annual race, which began in 1987.
Only one competitor made the trip that year, but it still ranked as a qualifying race, and since 1988 the event has attracted a good number of entries each year.
Around 200 sailors are expected in Lerwick on board the 34 yachts, with entrants primarily Norwegian but also including two British-flagged yachts, one of which, Roundabout, is skippered by Tommy Allan.
As reported earlier this week, the crew of the Roundabout are raising funds for local charity Mind Your Health in the hope of encouraging men to talk more about mental health problems.
There is also one German entry, and a previous Scottish prizewinner, Erin, is taking part skippered by John Murphy. A full list of participants is available here.
The yachts left Bergan at around 10am Norwegian time on Wednesday morning, three hours earlier than normal. Depending on the weather, the fleet is expected in Lerwick on Thursday.
The start back to Bergen has been brought forward to 4pm local time on Saturday rather than the normal Sunday morning departure – allowing competitors to be back at work in Bergen on Monday rather than having to take holidays into a second week.
Volunteer timekeepers at the finish line at Lerwick Boating Club will be on duty for arrival and a voluntary liaison crew at Victoria Pier will greet each yacht.
The main social event in Lerwick is the prizegiving, which will be hosted in the Mareel auditorium early on Friday evening. A civic welcome will be provided by Shetland Islands Council with the support of sponsors BP and Peterson UK.
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