by Henry Robson
The capital city of Visby in Gotland, Sweden has been named as the second stop-over of the inaugural Nord Stream Race. Boasting a long maritime history including fishing and trading in the Baltic Sea, the city which is situated on the west coast of the island is home to just over 22,000 inhabitants. Visby is also fondly known as ‘The City of Roses,’ due to the amount of Roses growing naturally in the city.
Long term maritime history is abundant in Visby, Gotland
Visby was the most important Hanseatic League city; the league established in the 12th century to protect those merchants on the trade route of the Baltic is now recognised on the United Nations world heritage list.
The second leg of the Nord Stream Race will see the Gazprom Swan 60 Class arrive into Visby, Gotland on Wednesday 24th October having completed approximately 250 nautical miles from their leg one stop-over in Helsinki in Finland of the 750 nautical mile race. On Wednesday afternoon there will be the opportunity for the public to view the boats in Visby Guest Harbour and soak up some of Gotland’s finest heritage.
Being an island state, the sea is ingrained into the Gotland way of life and the culture has always comprised of sea travel and trade. It is this natural affinity with sailing and the prominent location of the island that has led to its natural involvement in the Nord Stream Race.
To keep these traditions at the forefront of its heritage, the Round Gotland Race was established in 1937 by The Royal Swedish Yacht Club, and has continued every year since. Hosting the second stop over for the Gazprom Swan 60 Class during the Nord Stream Race will certainly add to their maritime history, offering locals and spectators alike a unique opportunity to view these exquisite yachts in a beautiful location.
Aside from the Gazprom Swan 60 Class, of which a spectacular view can be enjoyed from the district of Klinten overlooking Visby bay, the city also offers visitors to immerse themselves in their history, through their old walls dating back to 1288, or their architectural history boasting many medieval churches of Romanesque and Gothic Origin. For the more modern visitor, Visby is well equipped with cafés and restaurants and even a nightclub for revellers.
Ola Dahlberg, Chairman of Visby Sailing Association, commented, 'We are delighted to be a part of the Nord Stream Race, it will encourage visitors to Gotland outside of peak holiday season and we are excited to meet and host the Gazprom Swan 60 Class Teams.' The fleet will depart for their third and final leg to Greifswald in Germany on Thursday 25th October at 1100 (CET).
Yacht Club of St Petersburg website
Nord Stream Race website