Second St Kilda yacht chal­lenge is con­firmed

The Oban Times - - News -

A SECOND St Kilda Chal­lenge yacht race is be­ing planned fol­low­ing ex­cel­lent feed­back from com­peti­tors and vis­i­tors who en­joyed the first event.

The in­au­gu­ral event was launched in 2015 by or­gan­is­ers Co­mann Na Mara and race man­agers Clyde Cruis­ing Club, with the first re­gatta tak­ing place the fol­low­ing year.

The re­gatta and its as­so­ci­ated shore­side fes­ti­val has the sup­port of Holyrood’s cross-party marine tourism com­mit­tee and chair­man Stu­art McMil­lan MSP was present at the launch to un­der­line the group’s back­ing.

Last year’s event was a wel­come eco­nomic boost for North Uist, with 30 yachts bring­ing dozens of crews ashore, while the fes­tiv­i­ties on land at­tracted vis­i­tors to Lochmaddy.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion, lo­cal ser­vices and at­trac­tions, as well as food, drink and craft pro­duc­ers, all re­ported a sig­nif­i­cant rise in trade.

The 2018 St Kilda Chal­lenge will build on the strong foun­da­tions of 2016’s event, with the ad­di­tion of a third fleet.

In­di­ca­tions are there will be a sub­stan­tial in­crease in par­tic­i­pants for the event from June 14 to 16 next year.

In ad­di­tion to the rac­ing fleet, which uses the is­lands of St Kilda as turn­ing marks on a 100-nau­ti­cal-mile course, there is also a cruise-in- com­pany fleet which leaves the start line at the same time but has the abil­ity to an­chor in Vil­lage Bay at Hirta on St Kilda to go ashore.

‘We have had ex­cep­tional en­cour­age­ment and sup­port from the com­mu­nity, par­tic­i­pants and those who were sorry to have missed the first event,’ said Co­mann Na Mara chair­man Gus Ma­cAulay. ‘I was over­whelmed at the end of the first event to hear so much pos­i­tive feed­back, so for me and the other or­gan­is­ers there was only ever go­ing to be one out­come – an­other St Kilda Chal­lenge. We are ex­cited about mak­ing the event big­ger and bet­ter for 2018 and look for­ward to wel­com­ing many more peo­ple to North Uist be­fore send­ing them on their way to the great ad­ven­ture of the St Kilda ar­chi­pel­ago.’

Gus Ma­cAulay an­nounced the St Kilda Chal­lenge aboard the tall ship Glen­lee in Glas­gow.

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