On Saturday afternoon at 1600 hours local time the 2002 ISAF World Sailing Games was officially opened.
The formal Opening Ceremony at the venue was followed by a parade of athletes through the Vieux Port, with the host country France bringing up the rear to much applause from the multitude of spectators.
Sailors of the world then welcomed the arrival of the record-breaking multihull "Orange" who delicately manouveured her way through the old port to much applause.
The celebrations then proceeded to a festival and street carnival, "Massalia 2002 Odyssee de la Canebiere", before culminating in a spectacular fireworks display at midnight.
With equipment allocated yesterday, today brings another practise day for competitors, followed by the official practise race tomorrow, with formal racing commencing on 2 July 2002.
Racing will be full on with 18 races scheduled for each of the sailboard male and female, single-handed female, double-handed male and female, multihull open and multihull female events. Whilst the single-handed male, and keelboat male and female will each race 12 qualifying races and 6 final races.
Full news and reports will be available on the event website.
Message from Paul Henderson - ISAF President
"The winds are great, the water beautiful, temperature superb.
On behalf of all the 800 sailors from 70 countries thanks to Marseilles and the Federation Francaise de Voile for organising on such short notice an excellent venue and regatta management. If you are not here in Marseille than you missing a great event.
This event is very important in the Sailing calendar being held every four years as it brings together sailors from countries that are not usually seen at major events to mix with the more developed nations. This is possibly due to the fact that the equipment is supplied and I would like to thank Nautivela 470, Hobie, Laser, J-22, J-80. Bic Formula for their support. Also for the first time in 2002 ISAF has undertaken an "Athlete Participation Programme" to assist in funding sailors' costs and provide coaching.
This is the third ISAF World Sailing Games, first in La Rochelle -France, then Dubai and now Marseilles. All great successes.
Who will be the next Host?
If we start immediately to publicize the next Games for 2006 and bring the sailors of the World together following on this tradition I am sure that we can get over 100 nations and 1000 competitors.
The next week in Marseille will be a Sailing spectacular!"