A coulorful parade of 353 young sailors in the streets of Gdynia, the hoisting of the ISAF flag, and the moving ceremony of the `mixing of the waters' - these were the landmarks of the Opening Ceremony of the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship.
Minutes before 1800 hours a colourful, merry train of young people - the youth sailors from 52 countries of the world - participating in the Championship, gathered in front of the main entrance to the Hotel Gdynia. The joyful parade, lead by the ship-shape Military Orchestra of the Polish Navy, stilt-walkers dressed up as pirates and dancers in traditional Cracovian costumes, consisted of neatly labelled, yet playfully spontaneous national teams, headed by representatives of the Municipal Authorities of the City of Gdynia and ISAF Officials. The laughing throng marched through the Kosciuszko Square and towards the legendary Polish sail training full-rigger, the "Dar Pomorza". It was on board of this beautiful vessel that the ceremony of the official opening of the event took place.
The climactic point of the opening was the moving ceremony of "mixing the waters." Represenatives of all 52 national teams came on board of the Dar Pomorza, and proceeded to its foredeck, carrying tiny bottles of water from the seas and lakes of their own countries. One by one, accompanied by countless cheers of the public, each of them poured the contents of the bottle into a large golden chalice, located above the foredeck railings. When the waters from all over the world were mixed, the Mayor of the City of Gdynia, Wojciech SZCZUREK, ISAF President Paul HENDERSON, the President of the Organizing Committee Jerzy JAŁOSZEWSKI, and Wojciech LITWIN the Official Representative of Volvo, the title sponsor of the event, together poured the waters from the golden cup overboard, and thus united them with the waters of the Baltic Sea. The ceremony, a traditional element of the Opening Ceremony of the Championship, symbolizes the unity, solidarity and friendship of sailors all over the world.
The ISAF ensign was hoisted by Zofia KLEPACKA, already a triple gold medalist of the Championship. VOLVO YOUTH SAILING ISAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Gdynia 2004 counts among the most prestigeous sailing events in the world.
The Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship is an event which has been held for the past 33 years. The first Regatta took place in the year 1971.
So far, the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship has proven to be the stepping stone for professional careers in the case of such top-ranking sailors of the world as Russell COUTTS, who will be making a guest appearance in Poland on Monday, Grant DALTON, Natasha STRURGES, Ben AINSLIE, Amelie LUX, Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ, all of whom have won their first major international championship title at the ISAF Youth Worlds. For years, Polish sailors have also been highly successful in the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship; their group includes Przemysław MIARCZYŃSKI, Katarzyna SZOTYŃSKA, Mirosława RYMKO, Agata BRYGOŁA, Zofia KLEPACKA, and others.
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