Thursday night saw the city of Istanbul officially welcome the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2010, the world's premier sailing event for youth sailors.
A press conference marked the occasion with the Minister of Sport for Turkey meeting Göran Petersson, ISAF President and HM King Constantine, ISAF President of Honour.
This unique city where east meets west will host the 40th edition of the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship from the 8-17 July, at the Atakoy Marina in Istanbul, on the Marmara Sea. The event is being organized by the Turkish Sailing Federation and looks to be the biggest event to date.
Istanbul will also be celebrating the fact it is Europe's joint Cultural Capital for 2010, with the Championships being centre piece of its summer's sporting events.
For the first time in championship there will be eight fleets, with the Open High Performance Dinghy event, in the 29er being added and the competitors will also have an extra training day to get accustomed to the conditions on the southern end of the Bosphorus Strait.
Petersson opened the press conference by saying he was very confident that the Turkish Sailing Federation and the Istanbul organizers will host an amazing event. "The many major events that Turkey has hosted is evidence to this," said Petersson. "Many championships, two Olympic qualifiers, windsurfing events and Turkey will also host the 470 Men's And Women's World Championships. The Atakoy Marina is a fitting venue for the event. Not only does this marina offer excellent facilities and good weather conditions, it also marks geographically the place where Asia and Europe converse."
The Marina will not only host the dinghy park and windsurf park as usual but also a Regatta Village, with an entertainment stage and a whole host of interesting stands. The event organisers hope that the regatta will pull spectators down onto the already busy spot in the summer months and promote world youth sailing and Istanbul as a centre of culture.
The Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship is open to competitors aged under 19 on 31 December in the year of the championship. It is youth sailing's most prestigious event and has been the proving ground for many of the sport's biggest stars. In Istanbul this July, over 250 of the world's top young sailing talent will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of sailing legends such as Russell Coutts
(NZL) and Ben Ainslie
(GBR) by winning Youth Worlds gold.
Click here for more on the 2010 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship.