North-easterly winds have delayed some of the tall ships on their passage to Shetland. The eagerly-anticipated visits of some larger vessels to five guest harbours around the isles now looks unlikely.
However several tall ships have already reached Shetland after the Cruise in Company leg of the Tall Ships Races, and are enjoying time at the five harbours from Fair Isle to Unst prior to their arrival in Lerwick on Thursday.The guest harbours are laying on imaginative attractions for crews, visitors and locals alike.
The first ship to arrive in Fair Isle, destined to be the most popular guest harbour thanks to its strategic position, was the German ship Esprit which called in on Saturday night after sailing from Ullapool.
Her crew made the decision to miss out Orkney and press on to Shetland while the wind was still southerly. The vessel has now gone to Scalloway.
The Wyvern Av, Ocean Spirit of Moray and Jens Krough are at Fair Isle today.
More ships are due tomorrow when the tradition of bartering knitted goods is due to take place – small boats will row out to the ships anchored off, northerly wind permitting.
Another early arrival was the Plymouth-registered <i>Moosk</i>, which got to the most northerly harbour, Baltasound, on Saturday night, where the celebrations of the week-long UnstFest were in full swing.
The <i>Swan</i>, which has a number of Shetland trainees on board, is now in Cullivoe and will visit Unst tomorrow.
Other ships have not made it as far north, however, and may opt to sail straight to Lerwick. The <i>Pelican</i> has had to pull out and the St Barbara, Endorfina and Alba Explorer seem unlikely to get to Unst.
The Moosk is now in Cullivoe, where the official welcoming ceremony was held at noon and where the community is staging a programme of live music from 11am to 5pm today and tomorrow.
Also in Cullivoe is the Alba Endeavour, which sailed with the Swan from Stornoway, another guest harbour.
The pair left Stornoway after a 24-hour stay and had a “cracking sail” to Shetland, according to skipper Matt Chapman.
Speaking from Cullivoe, he said the Swan had had a “really friendly” reception and he was delighted that his ship’s team had just won a tug o’ war against the crew of the Alba Endeavour.
Another tall ship with Shetlanders on board, the Wylde Swan, is now in Orkney.
In Whalsay the class A ship Alexander von Humboldt is due arrive some time today with five or six smaller ships due on Wednesday.
There is plenty happening there with a yacht race today and a barbeque tonight. Events laid on for visitors include walks around the shore, tours of the hanseatic booth, music at the boating club and golf at the isle’s course.
Scalloway had visits from the Alba Endeavour and Swan on Saturday, and even though the rain meant the craft fair, due to be held outside, had to be moved into the hall it did not dampen spirits.
The community is expecting two more ships tomorrow, the class A Endraacht and the smaller Ocean Spirit of Moray, and is hoping for the class A Gloria to call in. The smaller Urania is another possible visitor.
The weather has delayed their arrival and they are likely to miss the fire festival to be held in the village tonight. With ships arriving later than expected the programme of events is now being continued tomorrow – if any local bands or musicians are interested in playing between 5pm and midnight they are asked to contact David Sandison on 07801 792830.