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2 January 2007, 11:05 am
420 Worlds Begin
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420 World Championship 2007
Auckland, New Zealand

116 boats hit the water for the practice race of the 420 World Championships off Takapuna Beach in Auckland, New Zealand today. This will be the first time that all competitors will line up on the start line for what will be a hotly contested competition. The moderate southerly of 15-20 knots is forecasted for today and tomorrow.
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Fortunately guests were treated to a beautiful evening as the celebrations began on the beach in front of Takapuna club. After a welcome from Bryan DAVIES, New Zealand 420 Association Chair, who introduced ISAF Vice-President Teo Ping LOW and George Wood, the Mayor North Shore City, sailors were treated to a traditional Maori welcome. Following was a symbolic mixing of International waters into the Waitemata Harbour. Teams then filed past spectators waving flags amidst cheering (the Italian's singing provoking a further challenge from the Maori group) to a nearby venue where the flags were displayed. Pacific Tongan drumming set things off at a pace, after a few more speeches the formal part of the evening was over and all guests enjoyed a great meal then danced their way into the New Year.

Races 1, 2 and 3 of the qualification series starts tomorrow at 12:00. The 29 teams form New Zealand all hoping to start the series off well. In particular the current World Champions from New Zealand, Carl EVANS and Peter BURLING. Reigning Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champions in the 420, Sebastian PERI BRUSA and Santiago MASSERONI (ARG) also start as one of the favourites.

Sara Winther (As Amended By ISAF), Image, ISAF Vice-President Teo Ping LOW addressing the assembled sailors at the Opening Ceremony:© Richard Gladwell
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