Shetland delegates visit the Netherlands to meet teams taking part in Tall Ships Races 2023.
The countdown to Tall Ships Races 2023 continues to gather pace as delegates from Shetland Tall Ships Ltd travelled to Harlingen (Netherlands) at the weekend to experience this year’s event in action.
The trip provided anr opportunity to get together with organisers of Tall Ships Races Harlingen as well as connect with delegates from Den Helder (Netherlands), Hartlepool (England), Fredrikstad (Norway) and Arendal (Norway), which will each be hosting a leg of the race next year.
Shetland Tall Ships Ltd project manager Emma Miller said the trip was an invaluable experience, particularly in gaining an understanding of how large events are organised post-pandemic.
Emma said: “It was a real learning journey to see the types of activities on offer and how Harlingen managed contractual elements of the race. Meeting with delegates from next year’s host ports was also really constructive.
“As a few of our team are new to the project it was also a fantastic opportunity to see the Tall Ships in port and consider the elements we can take forward when we host next year’s event.”
Of note was Harlingen’s recycling policy, including the use of branded reusable cups for drinks, and its successful crowd management, with the safe and considered movement of people throughout the town, particularly during peak times.
“Harlingen is a completely different port to Lerwick, and we have a different site set-up, but there were things we noticed that worked well,” continued Emma. “Now we’ve returned home, we can think about how we can implement these examples of best practice into Lerwick next summer.”
The trip also gave the team the chance to meet captains and crews from the visiting Tall Ships to gain a broader understanding of their requirements and to gauge their interest in participating in next year’s leg of the race to Lerwick.
Emma said: “We were fortunate enough to be invited on board Shabab Oman II, the Royal Navy of Oman’s sail training ship. It was such a privilege to see such a magnificent vessel and speak to the Commander. We hope that she’ll be able to visit Shetland next year.”
Other trip highlights included seeing historic Shetland fishing sailboat Swan take part in the Parade of Sail as the Tall Ships left the port of Harlingen, and to see so many people out and about enjoying the Tall Ships spectacular.
Emma said: “It was a delight to see Swan, particularly with her 10 new trainees on board building their sailing confidence and abilities. Hopefully it will be the first of many more voyages for them.
“Overall, the whole event was wonderfully put together and managed. It was brilliant to see everyone getting into the spirit of the event, listening to live music and eating good food – really embracing the whole festivities. We look forward to replicating Harlingen’s success at the Tall Ships Race Lerwick 2023.”