WITH 1,000 days to go, preparations are underway to host a fantastic display and welcome thousands of international sailors to Shetland during the Tall Ships’ Races in July 2011.
The Tall Ships’ Races are organised by Sail Training International and Shetland successfully hosted the event in 1999. Since then the races have continued to grow in size and international popularity, regularly attracting over 70 ships from around the world. Lerwick will be the welcoming port for the ships during 21-24th July 2011.
The Races will begin in Waterford, Ireland, on the 30th of June and race to Greenock, then onwards to Shetland as the “cruise in company” leg and will be the starting port for the second race to Stavanger, Norway. The final race will take place between Stavanger and Halmstad in Sweden.
As the “cruise in company” leg, the organising committee will be working closely with ports on the route to Shetland and around Shetland, to get communities involved in scheduling an exciting sailing programme to offer ships on their journey from Greenock to Lerwick.
Sandy Cluness, chairman of the organising committee, said: “The Tall Ships’ Races are an exceptional opportunity for Shetland to host an international event, to celebrate our community, and to showcase Shetland, our facilities and heritage to a huge audience. The races also coincide with the proposed year of culture for the Scottish Islands, and the local authorities with islands around the west coast of Scotland and Orkney have agreed to co-operate in every way possible to make the cruise from Greenock to Lerwick a memorable experience for all concerned.” The Tall Ships’ Races event co-ordinator in Lerwick, Fiona Dally, added: “With 1,000 days to go, there is a lot of hard work ahead to ensure we organise an excellent event and we’ll be looking for Shetlanders to get involved to make sure we deliver to the highest standards. We also want to keep everyone informed and are pleased to launch our website, www.tallshipsraceslerwick.com which will be updated as the event takes shape.”