West Highland Yachting Week
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West Highland Yachting Week is a sailing regatta that moves from centre to centre, providing an ever-changing scene for competitors, both afloat and ashore. It is based in Oban, Tobermory (Isle of Mull) and Croabh on the west coast of Scotland. It is usually held in the first week of August each year.
The event began in 1882 when the committee of Royal Highland Yacht Club held a regatta in Oban in two classes - yachts under forty tons and yachts over forty tons. In 1947 all three local sailing clubs - Royal Highland Yacht Club, Oban Sailing Club and Western Isles Yacht Club - agreed to combine their separate regattas to provide one significant event, with each club contributing two days towards a six-day regatta. In due course the management of the event was handed over to a Joint Regatta Committee comprising five representatives from each club, with additional co-opted members, and this is how it is managed today. West Highland Yachting Week has since become one of the leading international yachting events, with a combination of round the buoys and passage racing, supported by an extensive social programme.
There are two feeder races which help to gather the whole fleet together at Croabh. Entertainment is provided on the shore at Croabh and feeder race trophies are awarded.
On Sunday morning all yachts race from Croabh up to Oban, which is the base until Wednesday morning. While in Oban, some yachts berth at the North Pier, while some take up moorings or anchor off the Esplanade, off Oban Sailing Club, or at one of the local marinas.
For the next two days the fleet races out of Oban, round the island of Lismore or in the Firth of Lorne. These give the challenge of narrow channels, many natural hazards, and close views of beautiful shorelines
On Wednesday the fleet races to Tobermory. The fleet spends two nights in Tobermory (one of which involves the mid-week prize-giving), then races back down the Sound of Mull and into Oban Bay for the final night's celebrations.
The event sees yachts passing some 80 miles of coastline, but no doubt actually covering many times that distance whilst racing.
West Highland Yachting Week will be held from 29July to 4 August 2017 when it celebrates its 70th anniversary.