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Inaugural boat week deemed a success

Brian Wishart and Gibbie Fraser at Hay's Dock during the inaugural Shetland Boat Week. Photo courtesy of Shetland Amenity Trust.

ORGANISERS of the first Shetland Boat Week have hailed the festival a success after hundreds of people attended the various events and activities last week.

Despite poor weather at the beginning of the week forcing the cancellation of several planned boat trips, all indoor events went ahead with good attendances at tours, lectures, demonstrations, family activities and music sessions.

Over 440 people attended ticketed events, with another 430 attending non-bookable events including Marian Armitage’s cookery demos, the Brilliant Boat Makers family session, ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) Demonstrations, lifeboat tours, ShantYYellmen and daily showings of the Making of the Vaila Mae DVD.

Shetland Museum boats were well used with Brian Wishart and Jim Tait expertly skippering the Vaila Mae, demonstrating the dipping lug sailing technique with their experienced crew.

Trevor Jamieson and Peter Fraser took the helm of the Pilot Us for trips, while Trevor, and Ailish Parham, also took the haddock boat Laura Kay out on the water. In total, 91 people enjoyed boat trips through the week.

The boat trips concluded on Saturday with a small boat parade which took passengers out. This included all the museum boats alongside the Press On motor boat under the charge of Tammy Duncan.

Also taking part in the parade was the Tommy Isbister-built Stavalu. With only three crew members on board and a combined age of 189 (Erik Isbister 37, Tommy Goodland 72 and Tommy Isbister 80), the boat had an exciting trip – dealing with two tears in the sail and eventually rowing back from the Bressay side in a fresh wind.

Event coordinator Emma Miller said: “We’re just delighted with how the first Shetland Boat Week has gone. There were lots of folk about who attended events and the feedback we’ve had has been excellent. Everyone I’ve spoken to is asking if we are going to do it again and the answer is definitely yes.

“We couldn’t have done it this year without the financial assistance and support from our sponsors, Ocean Kinetics and NorthLink Ferries, and I would like to extend a huge thanks to them and all the staff at Shetland Museum and Archives who have pulled out all the stops this past week to make everything run smoothly.

“Now we have to think about making it bigger and better for next year. We’ll get an early order in for sunshine and a good breeze for sailing!”

Other events during the week included: a lecture by Royal Museums Greenwich director Kevin Fewster: the launch of the re-printed The Shetland Boat – South Mainland and Fair Isle with a lecture by author Adrian Osler; net-making demonstrations at LHD; tours of the Hrossey with NorthLink and a chance to try docking the ship in a ship bridge simulator at NAFC Marine Centre, an opportunity taken up by the ship’s actual master, Captain Allan Scott.

  • Organisers will begin planning for the 2017 Shetland Boat Week straight away and anyone who is interested in being involved should contact Emma Miller or Davy Cooper at Shetland Amenity Trust on (01595) 694688 or info@shetlandamenity.org.