They were fueled by sugary sweets, adrenaline and, of all things, Cup a Soups, but the competitors in this year’s Bergen to Lerwick Race have at last reached dry land.
A special ceremony was laid on today at Mareel for the hardy sailors who had taken part in the gruelling sea-faring challenge.
Winner overall was the vessel Hanne Marie. Its five-man crew benefited from “silk-smooth” conditions to help them reach the isles.
Skipper Rolf Hermansen is a veteran of this race, having now taken part in it on 22 occasions. He said his crew had worked well together, and had not taken the task too seriously.
“It was very nice weather, with perfect conditions,” Mr Hermansen said. “It was a little tricky because we wondered should we go north or south, but we chose to veer to the middle.
“We are sailing a lot together. This is my 22nd time. I do not come every year, as sometimes it doesn’t fit, but it’s always nice to come to Shetland.”
There was no doubt the secret of the crew’s success, either, all of which are looking forward to getting the return leg underway on Sunday.
“We had a plan, and we followed it,” Mr Hermansen added. “There was a lot of humour, and a lot of fun. It’s serious … but not that serious.”
The blue riband for being first over the line was handed to the good-natured crew onboard the Erin, however. All haling from Port Edgar in Edinburgh, the team – captained by John Murphy – was “elated” to have crossed the line.
Kilted crew-member Ken Brown said the trip had been “fuelled by passion, commitment, great fun and morale”.
He said: “We got into a good sleep pattern so we were fresh. We were telling good stories to keep people alert, so there was no nodding off in the middle of the night, and we kept focused on wanting to be first.
“We watched the boats behind and that gave us the incentive to go first. We had plenty of food. Somebody found Cup a Soups … but they went overboard. We had lots of sugary sweets, just to keep going.”
The return leg to Bergen is due to set sail on Sunday.