The Kékszalag (Blue Ribbon) sailing boat regatta has been taking place on Lake Balaton since 1934. On the morning of July 22nd, 2021 around 556 sailboats started from Balatonfüred and the 53rd Kékszalag Raiffeisen Grand Prix began. The distance of the race is an impressive 160 km as the crow flies and after the start from the port in Balatonfüred, the participants have to sail along the planned route: The first lane marking is in front of Balatonkenese, from there it goes to the largest city on the south bank of Balaton, Siófok, then in the southwest region of Lake Balaton, after Keszthely. From there the participants sail back to Balatonfüred.
But where does the name ‘Blue Ribbon’ come from? Once the fastest sailing ships in the seas wore a blue ribbon on the mast, so you knew who the ‘King of the Seas’ was. This tradition was later also adopted by the steamers. With the spread of sailing, races on European lakes have also emerged, in which the winner could tie the ribbon to the top of the mast. In 1934, the Hungária Yacht Club, which was the first to advertise the race, transferred this custom to Lake Balaton. To this day, the fastest sailing boat has been awarded a blue ribbon.