A jovial throng of yachtsmen recently arrived from Bergen gathered at Lerwick Town Hall on Friday night for the 2015 Shetland Race prize-giving ceremony.They were officially welcomed by Stephen Johnston, who introduced Cecil Smith of SIC. He paid tribute to the late Harry Jamieson, who had been very involved in the event.
First across the line, and winner of the prestigious Blue Ribbon, presented by BP manager Steve Cowie, was the yacht Serenity. She arrived in Lerwick after a crossing of more than 30 hours at 8.56pm on Thursday evening, an all-important four minutes ahead of nearest rival Scirocco III. Referring to the narrow margin, Serenity skipper Fridtjov Bergmann joked: “The wind changed in his [rival’s] favour.”
All Serenity’s crew, who besides Mr Bergmann, are Petter Stromme, Tore Nordahl Pedersen, Otto Haegland and Erling Iversen, are in their 50s and 60s and veterans of the race – Mr Haegland and Mr Iversen have done it 21 and 22 times respectively, and will do it again.
The class prizes, awarded according to size and handicap, followed. First in class one, with two crew, was X Factor, class two winner was Hanna Marie, class three prize went to Kilroy and Stormfighter won class four.
These prizes were of glassware, and Kilroy skipper Steinar Hansen was delighted. He said: “I was not chasing for prizes but the boat is fast.”
Stormfighter was honoured again as the “winner overall” prize in the local trophies awards, with Venus being named best newcomer.
Blue Ribbon winner Serenity also won a local prize, presented by Lerwick Port Authority, of a wooden model yacht, which Mr Bergmann said he would treasure.
A popular wooden spoon prize, awarded to the last yacht to finish under sail (some of them motored) was Amante, whose crew received a giant bottle of whisky, courtesy of Zetland Bonded.
The winner of the best Instagram prize for the best picture was Simen Fangel of Kilroy. He received a pair of sea boots, and said: “I was freezing in the trip over the ocean and I was thinking I should have a better pair of boots. This is tremendous, I didn’t think my picture would have such a pay-off.”
Lapel pins were presented to yacht crews who had taken part in the race for five, 10, 15 and 20 years.
Special tribute was paid to the crew of yacht Lise, whose 84-year-old skipper Norvald Vikne is a veteran of 28 years in the race. His son Jorgen is in the crew, as is his grandson Mats-Norvald Vikne (nephew of Jorgen). Another family member, Pal Midttun, is a nephew of the skipper, and other crew comprise Trygve Nystad and his son Hakon, at 21 the youngest member who referred to the crossing as a “baptism of fire”. Together the crew sang a Norwegian sea shanty with a “stolen melody and re-written lyrics” to honour their skipper.
The annual Bergen-Shetland race started in the 1980s, and this year had 30 participating yachts and 167 crew. They will return to Bergen on Sunday, and will have sailed a total of 388 nautical miles.