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Article published 15/07/2022

The one year to go countdown has begun as Lerwick prepares to host the Tall Ships Races from 26 – 29 July 2023. The countdown activity begins with a drop-in launch event planned exactly 12 months before the fleet sails into Lerwick Harbour, which will be held in Shetland Museum and Archives auditorium, on Tuesday 26 July from 1-8pm.

The launch event is an opportunity to network with others anticipating next years race, reminisce on previous events through the public sharing photos and film of past Tall Ships Lerwick events, and for local businesses to find out more about potential sponsorship and volunteering. It's also an opportunity to celebrate the excitement that will come with the return of the event to Shetland next year.

Anyone interested in becoming a Tall Ships volunteer, or sailing aboard one of the tall ships as a trainee, will be able to find out more information at the drop in launch event. 

What is Tall Ships Lerwick 2023?

Tall Ships is an annual race series, which has been arranged by Sail Training International since 1956, which provides life-changing adventures for thousands of young sail trainees every year. For 2023, Lerwick is one of the host ports and will welcome the fleet and international crews with Shetland's well renowned hospitality for four days of celebrations in port. This will build on the success of the previous events hosted by Lerwick in 1999 and 2011. From the 26 – 29 July next year, Lerwick will host a fun-filled four days of sailing, parades, music, and entertainment, and more.

The Tall Ships visit to Lerwick will provide free access to view the ships, with many welcoming the public aboard. Hundreds of young people aged 15-25 will have the opportunity to sail aboard and enjoy life-changing experiences as the fleet sails between Den Helder (Netherlands), Hartlepool (England), Fredrickstad (Norway), Lerwick and Arendal (Norway).

Shetland Islands Council led the isles’ successful bid, in partnership with Lerwick Port Authority and Shetland Tall Ships Limited, which will undertake delivery of the event locally. EventScotland and Sail Training Shetland will also be supporting the event, as well as other organisations.

We have already had good conversations with many potential sponsors, including the consortium of salmon businesses announced last week. There are still lots of opportunities to support the event and various sponsorship packages are available. With 12 months to go this is a perfect opportunity for Shetland businesses to discover more about the benefits.

Many islanders have fantastic memories of previous events, and we’d love to hear from as many of them as possible. We’d like to see people’s photos or video footage from 1999 or 2011 or hear their stories of what those occasions meant to them. That feels particularly important as 2022 is Scotland’s Year of Stories.

Emma Miller, Project Manager for Shetland Tall Ships Limited,

It’s so good to see the building enthusiasm and anticipation for what’s set to be a tremendous visit from the Tall Ships. Both the previous events brought great enjoyment to the community, as well as visiting crews, and there’s an exciting opportunity now for individuals – and businesses - to sign up and get involved in what is set to be a fantastic event.

Maggie Sandison, Chief Executive for Shetland Islands Council

EventScotland is working to make Scotland the perfect stage for events by securing and supporting an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events. They do this through a range of funding programmes aimed at supporting both major, national, local and community events.

Next year’s visit is being core funded by Shetland Islands Council and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

EventScotland is delighted to be supporting Tall Ships Lerwick as part of an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events taking place across Scotland in 2023.

Events play an important role in our communities by allowing us all to connect, enjoy and share memorable experiences. Having them in our calendar further strengthens our position as the world-leading events destination and reinforces Scotland as the perfect stage for events.

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland

Get involved

If you have any photos of videos to share with the Tall Ships Lerwick 2023 team, this can be done by sharing these by emailing or through social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok.

For more information about Tall Ships Races Lerwick 2023, take a look at their website. 


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