Lerwick Port Authority is to expand berthing capacity for yachts following a record-breaking season in 2009 when more than 500 craft visited the harbour.
The cruise ship tender pontoon, used by yachts when available, is to be moved from Albert Wharf to Victoria Pier to maximise berthing in the dock for yachts. The move is scheduled for completion before the end of May.
There are also plans for additional yacht pontoons for Albert Wharf in the summer of 2011.
Harbourmaster Calum Grains said: “These measures, which together will increase the port’s visiting yacht pontoon capacity by 50 per cent, are the latest in a series of yacht-related improvements in recent years which, along with Shetland’s many attractions, have contributed to making the harbour an increasingly popular port-of-call for crews.
“Two international races, with around 90 entries between them and coinciding with major visitor events, will make mid-June peak season in Shetland’s yachting calendar.”
Last year, a total of 504 yachts called at Lerwick where the new season is under way, with the first yachts now arriving.
The 2010 season will include eight multi-hulls and 49 mono-hulls in the Shetland Round Britain & Ireland Race, sponsored by Shetland Islands Council and due in Lerwick sometime between 16th and 22nd June for 48-hour stopovers. Entries include the local yacht Streamline, crewed by Leslie Irvine and Andrew Wood.
Also returning to Lerwick are the annual Sjøassistanse Bergen-Shetland Races, with over 30 yachts including a local entry in the form of Ewan Stirling’s Speedy Pym, which will be in port between 17th and 20th June.
The races will coincide with Flavour of Shetland on Victoria Pier from 17th to 20th June, when the best of the isles’ music and culture, crafts, food and drink will again be showcased, and with the Shetland Hamefarin between 14th and 26th June, which will welcome back home islanders from around the world.