The North Sea Yacht Race is one of the longest and perhaps most challenging ocean races in Northern Europe – across the North Sea between Stavanger in Norway and Macduff in Scotland.
For 2008 the race starts in Macduff on Saturday 28th June.
The race distance is approximately 280 nautical miles, and normally takes 2 to 3 days. The main objective is to organise a true offshore race and at the same time give experienced Fijord and coastal sailors the opportunity to cross the North Sea between Norway and Scotland under organised conditions.
Yachts and equipment have to comply with strict safety regulations in order to participate in the race. The organisers are in contact with the Main Rescue Centre at Sola in Norway and the Coast Guard in Aberdeen during the race, and it is required that all yachts make VHF contact with the Sleipner Oil Platform which is located about midway across.
Besides the race there is also an active social programme before the start and after the finish both in Norway and Scotland as well as many opportunities for sightseeing. Those who have been in the race before emphasise that these events have their own very special value. New and lasting relationships are made and old friends are able to keep contact across the sea and national borders. Some boats and crew members have participated in almost all the races.
The race was conceived in early 1984 as a way for a group of Scottish sailors to safely cross the North Sea. The idea quickly grew and on 2 July 1984 twenty-two yachts from Scotland, England and Norway headed out across the North Sea for Stavanger. Since then, the race has grown from strength to strength with as many as 50 yachts taking part in some years. The start alternates between Scotland and Norway giving the event a unique attraction for entrants from both sides of the North Sea. Most competitors take time after the race to cruise the Norwegian fjords or go through the Caledonian Canal before returning home via the Orkneys or Shetland.
The race record between Macduff and Stavanger is held by Skaarungen, a Wasa 50 ft monohull . Their elapsed time of 30 hours 44 minutes was set in 1998 in an east-bound direction. The fastest west-bound crossing was made by Undarousa, a 45 ft trimaran from Oslo in 31 hours and 9 minutes in 2001. In 2007, the race started in Skudneshavn, approximately 12 miles closer to Macduff than Stavanger, and Hei Matau, a 36ft trimaran from Port Edgar, Edinburgh, made the crossing in just under 29 hours.
Yachts and equipment have to comply with strict safety regulations in order to participate in the race. The organisers are in contact with the Main Rescue Centre at Sola in Norway and the Coast Guard in Aberdeen during the race and it is required that all yachts make VHF contact with the Sleipner oil platform which is located about midway across.