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Traditional welcome for Hempel World Cup Series Enoshima sailors

by World Sailing 26 Aug 14:57 BST 25 August - 1 September 2019
Welcome party at sunset - Hempel World Cup Series Enoshima © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

Before the dust can even settle on Ready Steady Tokyo, the Olympic test event, sailors have been officially welcomed to Hempel World Cup Series Enoshima, the first event of the 2020 series.

Hempel World Cup Series Enoshima is expected to be harder to win than the Olympic test event, based on larger fleets and nations having more than one entry who are capable of winning.

Across the ten Olympic fleets, 534 sailors from 55 nations will race. At last week's Ready Steady Tokyo, 363 sailors from 47 nations took to the start line.

As the sun set over the iconic Enoshima sea candle that keeps a watchful eye over Sagami Bay, sailors received a traditional Japanese welcome.

Local parishioners of Ejima Jinja, Enoshima Island guardian deity, marched into the venue holding a traditional mikoshi, a portable miniature shrine. Sailors and officials had a unique opportunity to carry the mikoshi, wear national dress and they all embraced the opportunity. The local parishioners prayed for good luck and safe sailing for all the sailors.

Guests were then treated to a traditional Bonodori dance to music that was composed for the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games. To conclude the evening, Taiko Group Fuji, a wadaiko drum band from the Fujisawa area, played to guests.

Alongside the welcome, traditional matcha green tea and local food was served. Sailors also received souvenirs from local businesses.

Speeches were delivered by the Mayor of Fujisawa, the Vice Governor of the Kanagawa Prefecture, Hirofumi Kawano, President of the Japanese Sailing Federation and Alastair Fox, Director of Events at World Sailing.

Monday 26 August will be a day of training for the competitors and will allow them one final chance to prepare and fine tune their equipment.

For further information on Enoshima and the Hempel World Cup Series visit wcs-enoshima.org.

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