The Bergen – Shetland Races are ocean going races between Bergen in Western Norway and Lerwick, capital of the Shetland Islands. The Races grew out of an initial proposal to organise an Arctic Race from Bergen to a Norwegian port north of the Arctic Circle. A race to Lerwick was to be a “tester” for this longer event. The first Race in 1986 attracted only three entries, two of whom failed to finish, leaving Bjarne Moster, the original organiser, to complete it on his own!
Following this modest start, the Races grew rapidly and became a success. With over 60 yachts taking part, the Arctic Race was forgotten. As with any such Races, the number of participants has fluctuated over the years; recently, there have been around 40 competitors. The size of yachts has steadily grown with most entries now in the 35-45 ft. range. Until 2000 the Races coincided with the Whitsun holiday, usually in May. Since then, the decision to fix the date as the last weekend in June has brought the Races into more hospitable weather and competitors enjoy almost 24 hours of daylight around midsummer.
A further change was made in 2004 when the event was renamed The Bergen-Shetland Races, no longer being a single race in two legs but two distinct Races. There has been growing interest from outwith Scandinavia, with demand to take part in only one Race, combining it with a holiday and cruise in either direction across the North Sea. This has been so successful that the organisers wish to bring this opportunity to a wider audience, so an invitation is cordially extended to all interested sailors to take part in future Bergen – Shetland Races.