Hundreds of people are taking part in a five-day regatta around Galway Bay and the Aran Islands to showcase the flourishing sailing scene in the west of Ireland.

The event is also seeking to highlight the need for better facilities to encourage more visiting boats to the area.

When it comes to sailing regattas, Cowes Week in the Isle of Wight is a big name. There's also Calves Week in west Cork and not to be outdone, the baby of the flock is Lambs Week in Galway.

From early this morning at Ros a Mhíl harbour, boats from home ports across the west and beyond were preparing to set sail for the Aran Islands. The first port of call is Inis Mór, taking a circuitous route along the Blue Atlantic Way via Inis Meáin.

The regatta is organised by the Galway Bay Sailing Club, based at Rinville in Oranmore.

Declan Dooley is a keen sailor and member of the club's committee.

"This is a cruising event for yachts of different sizes and classes," he said. "It's designed to mix competitive racing with outdoor social gatherings and craic. We pride ourselves on welcoming all ages, skill levels and abilities to join us and experience the wonderful world of sailing."

However he said that the proper infrastructure wasn't in place yet across Galway Bay to maximise the growing popularity of sailing and bring in more visiting yachts.

"We have mooring blocks and berthing arrangements in place for Lambs Week but really we need proper ports piers, pontoons for people to tie up their boats safely."

Lambs Week is not a structured race event but boats are invited to submit their start and finish times and a standard National Handicap for Cruisers (NHC) is applied based on their boat.

There are over 50 boats entered and seven destinations to be visited including the harbours of Cil Ronain and Cloch na Ron.

The sailors will compete in similarly rated boats and a highlight will be the 'King of the Bay Pursuit Challenge' around the islands for both competitive and non-competitive boats. This is an event of the Galway Maritime King of the Bay series.