Amaryllis takes top prize at Shetland Race first-leg reception

The prizes for the Bergen to Lerwick leg of the Pantaenius Shetland Race were handed out at a civic reception at Mareel on Friday evening.

Skipper Inge Utåker (centre, red shirt) with the crew of the Amaryllis. Clockwise from front left: Jan Malmin Hansen, Lars Lassen, Stein Havard Bergstad, Petter Sorhaug, Eskil Holme, Rolf Smedal. Photo: Garry Sandison

First in her class and also taking the award for the best overall yacht was the Amaryllis, which just held off the challenge of the 2017 winner Winocean.

Also handed out during the reception were pins for five or more years service during the event, both for sailors and shoreside volunteers, and receiving one for 30 years was former Lerwick Port Authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson.

Amaryllis skipper Inge Utåker said he was delighted his boat, with somewhat of a veteran crew, was the overall winner. Mr Utåker is 55 and other six members range in ages from 50 up to Jan Hansen, who celebrated his 65th birthday on the way over.

“It was a very nice trip over,” Mr Utåker said. “We had good speed all the way. It was very exciting in the last hour, when we were more or less match racing with the Winocean.

“We sailed very close to each other. They took us by about half a minute but we had a little bit of cover rating so we were first.

“It was mostly southwest. We had to tack once near the coastline but after the tack northwards we were able to head to the south point of Bressay.”

The winning yacht Amaryllis. Photo: Jim Tait

SIC depute convener Beatrice Wishart welcomed the yachtsmen and women to Lerwick, both the first-time visitors and the returning sailors. Roughly two-thirds were in the latter category.

“The race is very much part of the close links between Shetland and Norway,” Ms Wishart said.

She referred to the recent Lonely Planet rating which named Shetland among the top 10 places to visit in Europe. “I had to get that one in,” she said.

Ms Wishart thanked all the volunteers for what they did in bringing “such a special event” to the isles.

“I hope you leave with special memories and may your journey back be a safe one,” she added.


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