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

Lerwick harbour are set to welcome the Tall Ships Races in summer of 2023. Photo: Courtesy of 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.

“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.