Huge Færder regatta may change tack

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Norway’s annual Færderseilasen has long ranked as one of the largest regattas in the world, and around 700 boats gathered in the inner Oslo Fjord on Friday as the first class of racers readied to set sail around noon. The number of boats taking part in what’s known as “Færder’n,” though, has declined in the past few years and now regatta organizers are considering a major change of tack.

The Oslo Fjord is still full of sailboats when the annual "Færder'n" regatta sets off from Aker Brygge, but there aren't nearly as boats registered this year as in 2010, for example. PHOTO: Færderseilasen/Instagram

The Oslo Fjord is still full of sailboats when the annual “Færder’n” regatta sets off from Aker Brygge, but there aren’t nearly as boats registered this year as in 2010, for example. PHOTO: Færderseilasen/Instagram

The Royal Norwegian Yacht Club, which has organized the race since 1947, could boast as many as 1,100 boats registered for the regatta just a few years ago. The main course runs from Aker Brygge in Oslo south to the Færder Lighthouse and north again to end at Horten. The various classes of boats sail around the lighthouses and beacons at either Færder, Mefjord or Hollænder, and it’s an overnight regatta for the vast majority, with the longest distance set at 83 nautical miles.

This year, the number of registered boats is down by around 30 percent, and newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that organizers are evaluating whether to “turn the race around” and try another course.

“The number of participants has fallen, and we don’t have much to lose by changing the concept,” Per Bøymo of the yacht club (Kongelig Norsk Seilforening, KNS) told DN. “We’re thinking about starting the regatta in Drøbak or Filtvet (farther south, on the east and west sides of the fjord, respectively).”

Plans call for the boats to sail out the fjord and around the lighthouses like today, with the finish in the inner Oslo Fjord, around the island known as Hovedøya.

Meanwhile, Bøymo was looking forward to this year’s race nonetheless, even though King Harald V won’t be taking part this year. The Norwegian monarch is an active sailor and lately, reported DN, has been sailing in a regatta every Tuesday afternoon in his new Albin Express boat, made in Sweden. His boat will take part in Færder’n, along with his crew.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund