Huge regatta sets sail

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Around 900 sailboats with 6,000 sailors on board were positioned in the inner Oslo Fjord on Friday to start sailing south to the lighthouse at Færder. They’re all taking part in the annual regatta known as Færderseilasen, and King Harald would be among them.

Around 900 boats were taking part in this year's annual regatta known as "Færdersailåsen." PHOTO: Views and News

Norway’s 75-year-old monarch, an avid sailor who took part in the 1968 Summer Olympics, planned to go straight from the weekly Council of State at the Royal Palace to Oslo’s waterfront, where he’d board his classic old eight-meter sailboat Sira and take the helm Friday afternoon. King Harald sailed some of the largest boats for years in the annual regatta, but lately has “retired” to the smaller classic wooden boat class.

As many as 1,100 boats once took part in the regatta but the introduction of licensing requirements and fees has reduced the number this year, reported newspaper Aftenposten. It’s still a spectacle to see all the boats on the fjord off Aker Brygge in Oslo, while some start from Son farther down the coast.

The sun was shining Friday morning but rougher weather was forecast for Friday night and rain on Saturday. The Færder regatta also involves night sailing, even though the skies remain relatively light at this time of year. The regatta runs around the lighthouse at Færder, south of Tønsberg, and then back up again to end at Horten, with the last boats arriving on Saturday.

Views and News staff