Community / Excitement as Tall Ships Races confirmed to return in 2023

Lerwick harbour is set to welcome the Tall Ships Races in summer of 2023. Photo: Ryan Leith

LERWICK has been confirmed as one of the host ports for the 2023 Tall Ships Races.

Organising charity Sail Training International announced on Tuesday Den Helder (The Netherlands), Hartlepool (UK), Fredrikstad (Norway) and Lerwick as host ports for the annual sailing event.

The tall ships are scheduled to visit Lerwick for the third time, having previously been hosted in the islands in 1999 and 2011, between 26 and 29 July 2023.

The announcement was not unexpected following leaks to the local press in April suggesting that Lerwick’s bid to host the event had been successful.

Following the council-led bid for the event, a partnership of the SIC, Lerwick Port Authority and Shetland Tall Ships Limited will now get to work to plan for the delivery of the event locally.

Council leader Steven Coutts said previous Tall Ships Races held a special place in the memories of so many in the community.


“This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate Shetland’s rich maritime heritage and promote Shetland internationally. It will provide a valuable boost to our economy and community as we move into recovery and renewal,” he said.

Interim chairwoman of Shetland Tall Ships Limited and former LPA chief executive Sandra Laurenson said hosting the event for a third time was an exciting prospect.

“With just over two years to go, there is plenty to do, and, building on our experience of the two previous visits, we’ll now be establishing organising committees, appointing a project manager, fund-raising and developing a programme of events and entertainment for islanders, ships’ crews and visitors.

“The event is a great opportunity to rebuild and we very much look forward to working with the community on the broad appeal of the Tall Ships Races event.”

Sail Training International chief operating officer Alan James added: “We have immense pride in our rich history together and are excited to return to the Shetland Islands for the first time since 2011.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“With a rich maritime history, shared values of international friendship and understanding, and a strong record staging events, we look forward to Lerwick welcoming the tall ships fleet in spectacular style once again.”

Tall Ships Races International is still seeking to contract a fifth host port to complete The Tall Ships Races 2023 series.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.