Scotland's largest yachting event - West Highland Yachting Week provides a spectacle of sail on the west coast of Scotland based around Craobh Marina, Oban and Tobermory from the end of July to the beginning of August each year.
This historic and unique sailing regatta is now in its 69th year.
It has evolved into the West Coast's biggest sailing event taking in 3 venues, Craobh, Oban and Tobermory with competitors from around the world drawn to the event's distinctive blend of competitive racing combined with a varied and full programme of family social events.
The regatta is a mix of passage racing with Olympic courses over six days. Run by three local yacht clubs under a Joint Regatta Committee, West Highland Yachting Week (WHYW) is one of the biggest sailing events in the UK.
Feeder races from the Clyde, Oban and Gigha bring boats to Craobh Marina in Argyll for the start of the event that can attract up to 200 yachts.
The ethos of WHYW is on participation and enjoyment for all with ten handicap classes giving racing for both a spinnaker and white sail fleet.
This gives the opportunity for all the family to take part and many of those who have sailed as children at WHYW return in their own right as skippers in future years. The camaraderie and the 'craic' are what make the event really special - some competitors have been returning annually for over 40 years!
Racing takes place in arguably the most scenic waters in the world and the regatta is unique since it moves around three centres.
Starting at Craobh the first passage race is to Oban capturing the tide through the Sound of Fladda and racing amidst the spectacular backdrop of the islands of the Firth of Lorne. After an overnight in Oban, the fleet splits into two - The Tunnocks Spinnaker fleet sailing Olympic style courses on one day with a round the islands race the next and the Argyll Fleet for restricted sail completing inshore courses in the Firth of Lorne - easily viewed from Ganavan Sands
On Wednesday, the event moves north passing the cliffs and castles of Morvern and the ever changing landscape of Mull to iconic Tobermory. The colourful fishing port welcomes yachts to a veritable west coast haven and Thursday's racing takes place in the Sound of Mull before the return passage to Oban on Friday for the prize-giving ceilidh in Oban's Corran Halls.
Tunnock's, the famous biscuit manufacturers, came aboard to support the event in 2009 with the spinnaker classes known as the 'Tunnock's Fleet'. Tunnock's products have acquired the proud status of genuine Scottish icons and this is a fitting partnership with such a unique Scottish regatta. Argyll and Bute Council recognises the huge community benefit to Oban town during the regatta with the restricted sail classes known as the 'Argyll Fleet'. Caledonian MacBrayne supports the event and hosts the Skippers' Reception in Oban in their glass departure lounge. West Coast Motors lay on transport between Dunstaffnage Marina and Oban for the après sail events that WHYW is famous for and Flit Self Drive Autos add help in kind.
Tobermory Harbour Association and businesses in the town are also supporting WHYW and The Crown Estate back the event as part of its wide ranging programme to promote the sustainable development of leisure sailing across Scotland.
This festival of sail sees many families and friends of those on the water stay ashore and explore the area, indulging in the wide variety of attractions in Oban and Lorne as well as keeping an eye on events on the water - there are great vantage points in each area to view the racing. Visitors to the town pinpoint the yachting event as a major attraction and enjoy the carnival atmosphere when the yachts are in port.
Après sail entertainment is as important as the racing afloat with a fantastic programme of music and events throughout the week. Designed for everyone who loves boats and the sea, West Highland Yachting Week has something for everyone and is exactly what it says 'A fun-filled week on land and sea!'
For more information check out the website on www.whyw.co.uk