Minister for the Central Coast, John DELLA BOSCA, launched the 2008 Laser World Championship at the Terrigal Trojan Rugby Club at The Haven yesterday evening.
A packed house attending the launch including some of the world's most talented sailors, race management, family and friends.
While Gosford Sailing Club is the host for the Championship, the rugby club is the base for the Championship. The 160-strong Laser fleet has taken over the oval normally used for rugby matches - an unusual sight!
Kevin DUNCAN, from the indigenous Darkinjung Community, opened the Ceremony playing his didgeridoo.
"Our people rarely get to participate in something like this. We are very pleased to be invited and wish all the sailors the best of luck,"
said DUNCAN who went on to explain how Terrigal was originally named Tarrigal by the indigenous people. He went on to acknowledge, "Our people, past and present, on this land."
Next, Helen MONKS from the Championship Organizing Committee introduced three students from the dance college for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who performed for the crowd.
Minister DELLA BOSCA declared the Championship open. The Minister acknowledged and paid respects to the Elders and welcomed members of the indigenous community, those involved in running the Championship and the sailors. "It's great to be here,"
"This [the World Championship] has been a long time coming. This is a fascinating sight; seeing all the Lasers. I'm looking forward to seeing some world class sailing.
"There were a lot of prospective venues considered for the Worlds, but the Central Coast was chosen. I hope lots of people come to watch the racing and all enjoy the experience.
"It will be the greatest and most authentic competition - they [the sailors] are world class athletes and we feel privileged to hold their competition here. There is such a wide diversity of nations - and Australians always welcome all cultures and nations,"
"The NSW Government and Gosford Council consider it a great privilege to hold a first World Championship here,"
Minister DELLA BOSCA said in closing.
Gosford Sailing Club president, Vardon BROWN, welcomed all on behalf of the host sailing club. "We understand the importance of this regatta and we wish all competitors success,"
"We recognize the dedication to the task of the Organising Committee and the volunteers. To our sponsors,"
BROWN commented. "Without your support our club could not have held this regatta - thank you,"
"The sailors have been here for a while training; showing their dedication. This is one of the most important regattas outside of the Olympics,"
commented Jeff MARTIN,
Following the practice race today, the Championship starts off Terrigal tomorrow with two races set to start from 13:00.
Laser World Championship - http://aus08laserinternational.org