The organisers of the Tall Ships visit to Lerwick in 2011 are working hard on attracting ships to take part in a non-competitive leg of the race series between Greenock and Shetland.
With the event due to kick off exactly two years to the day, they are hoping that up to 70 ships will come to Shetland to one of five guest harbours involved in the so-called Cruise in Company event – in Fair Isle, Scalloway, Unst, Yell and Whalsay – before heading for Lerwick for four days of festivities ahead of the next leg to Stavanger in Norway.
Shetland Tall Ships 2011 project manager Fiona Dally said: “Shetland is taking the lead to work with Scottish ports in Argyll and Bute, the Western Isles, Highlands and Orkney to offer crew a variety of activities if they visit these ports en route.
“Developments are also underway to seek sail trainees from these areas who may be interested in joining ships for the experience of a lifetime during the races.”
The harbours aim to offer their best hospitality, music and local food and drink prior to arrival into Lerwick for the four-day official port activities between 21-24th July.
Ms Dally and fellow director Billy Stove are also making preparations to attend this years’ race series in the Baltic, travelling to Lithuania at the end of July.
They will also travel to Belfast in August at the end of the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge to meet captains and ship operators.
Marketing material has also been prepared by the joint ports and Shetland has prepared leaflets to highlight the Cruise in Company and travel options to ensure captains’ needs are met early on.