The Opening Ceremony of the 2013 420 World and Ladies World Championships in Valencia, Spain conclude with a bang last night as a traditional fireworks display wrapped up the parade of nations and arrival of the official 420 Championship and Spanish flags by water in two 420s.
Held in the impressive surroundings of the Marina Real Juan Carlos I, the former home of the America's Cup, teams arriving at the Opening Ceremony were greeted with traditional local dancing and music. The parade of nations was led by Angola, followed by Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italia, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey and the USA.
The flags of Spain and the International 420 Class Association made an impressive arrival by water, as two 420s sailed down the inner harbour with the flags onboard. Sailed by current 420 Spanish Champions, Luis Bugallo/Pedro Martinez and Silvia Más/Nuria Miró, the flags were brought ashore and paraded into the Opening Ceremony.
Manuel Pons, President of the Real Club Nautico de Valencia welcomed teams, "On behalf of the Real Club Nautico de Valencia and all its members I want to wish all the participants' good winds. May you enjoy the excellent sailing conditions of Valencia, and I hope you take home pleasant memories of these championships, our club and the city. We are sure that all the competing teams will enjoy everything that Valencia has to offer, proving that the city is prepared enough to become the sailing venue for the possible Madrid 2020 Olympics."
On behalf of the sailors, Nadja Horwitz from Chile and Alicia Avila from Spain, made the Sailor's Promise, saying "I promise that I will sail in this championship to the best of my ability, in the true spirit of sailing and within the rules and regulations. I will do my best to promote fellowship between the sailors of all the competing nations, to further spread the enduring network of 420 friends throughout the world."
Speeches were also given by José Ángel Rodríguez Santos, President of the Real Federación Española de Vela; Cristóbal Grau, Sports Counsellor of Valencias Town Hall and Mateo Castellá, Sports Representative of Regional Government.
President of the International 420 Class Associaiton, Nino Shmueli formally opened the Championships by thanking the organizing club, Real Club Nautico de Valencia, the Spanish Federation, the National 420 Class Associations and the town of Valencia for hosting the 2013 International 420 World Championships. Addressing the teams, coaches, team leaders and supporters, Shmueli said, "Thank you all for being in Valencia. We have teams from 27 nations and every continent of the world. This championship is one of the largest we have ever held with 187 entries. You are the future of our sport and we hope to see some of you participating in the 2020 Olympics. We are all privileged to be united in our passion for sport, sharing our cultures and global friendships. I wish each of you very success, fair winds and outstanding sailing."
As the flags of the International 420 Class Association and Spanish national flag were raised, Shmueli declared the 2013 International 420 Class World Championships open.
A reception introduced everyone to the delights of local Valencian refreshments and food, to the accompaniment of a traditional flamenco show. The evening ended with a bang and the Correfocs firework display; a group dressed as devils danced to traditional drums setting off fireworks right in front of the spectators.
Registration and Measurement continue on Wednesday 24 July 2013 and the practice race will take place at 1500 hours.