ISAF President Carlo Croce officially welcomed 351 sailors from 61 nations to the 2013 Sail First ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship at the opening ceremony in Limassol, Cyprus.
Sixty one flag bearers and their teams paraded from Limassol's old castle towards Limassol promenade where local people, tourists, families and friends attended to view the spectacle.
During the parade the teams were accompanied by percussion group Patoukinio before representatives of the national teams carried water from their country to the central amphora (ceramic container) before it was poured into the sea.
Speeches were delivered by ISAF President Carlo Croce, Cyprus Sailing Federation President Giannos Fotiou, Cyprus Sports Organization President Pambos Stylianou and Mayor of Limassol Andreas Christou.
Addressing the sailors ISAF President Carlo Croce said, "For more than 40 years this event has been going on and many sailors who have started off at this event have gone on to become World Champion, Olympians, America's Cup sailors and Ocean heroes. I think and trust the athletes whose own dream will take shape here.
"A special congratulation to the 20 athletes on the ISAF Athlete Participation Programme and a special welcome to the Mozambique team who are sailing at the event for the first time and I wish them luck.
"This is a moment to make friendships and our sport is very special because yes the result is special but fun is more important and we are here to have fun and enjoy our lovely sport and do not forget this.
"You are here to give us a hint of what the future of sailing will be like, I have a very good impression of this generation of sailors from all of the teams I have seen here and it is very good for the future of our sport."
The ISAF flag was delivered by the youngest participant of the host country Orestis Germanos who raised it to the top of the flag pole to mark the official opening of the Sail First ISAF Youth Worlds.
Cultural performances followed with traditional Cypriot dances and music.
CYSAF President Giannis Fotiou welcomed all the visitors, praised the organizing committee and the 250 volunteers for their assistance. He then thanked Limassol Mayor Mr Andreas Christou for taking this event under his auspices as well as all sponsors, supporters and manufacturers.
Racing at the 2013 Sail First ISAF Youth Worlds commences on 15 July through to 19 July in eight events.
ISAF Youth Worlds Website