An estimated 30,000 people enjoyed the Opening Ceremony at the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships as ISAF President Carlo Croce officially declared the event open.
The Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds features more than 1,250 sailors from 83 countries and they proudly carried their national flags through Parque de la Llama, venue of the opening ceremony. Local people, tourists, family, friends and supporting staff welcomed the sailors with a rapturous applause left for the Spanish team who, as host nation, arrived last.
The crowds were treated to a spectacular show with gymnastic performances, an aerobatic air display from the famous Patrulla Águila - the Spanish Air Force as well as musical performances from Big Band Aurora & The Betrayers and local choirs.
Speeches were delivered by ISAF President Carlo Croce, Mayor of Santander Íñigo de la Serna, President of the Government of Cantabria José Antonio Rodríguez Martínez, Minister of Education, Culture and Sports Jose Ignacio Wert and President of the RFEV José Ángel Rodríguez Santos.
Spain's Berta Betanzos, 470 World Champion at the Perth 2011 ISAF Worlds, swore in the sailors whilst London 2012 Laser Radial gold medallist and member of the International Jury, Lijia Xu (CHN), swore in the officials.
During the opening ceremony ISAF President Carlo Croce said, "I am highly honoured and happy to be here tonight representing the International Sailing Federation. This is the pinnacle event after the Olympic Games and it is important for Olympic qualification. We are not surprised to see more than 1,250 sailors here from 83 nations.
"More than this, personally, I am moved in seeing more than 20,000 people here. I have never seen an attendance like this at a sailing event and it is fantastic for the sailing world. Sailing is a sport that can have people attending and all the effort put in here shows us the way forward.”
As the ISAF flag was hoisted the event was declared open and the sailors' attention now turns toward world championship glory and Olympic qualification.
The Laser and Laser Radial fleets will be the first to commence racing at the Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds. Racing is scheduled to commence at 13:00 local time on Friday 12 September 2014.
A live blog will follow the ISAF Worlds from Thursday 11 September through to Sunday 21 September. The live blog is available here http://www.sailing.org/events/isafworlds/live-blog.php
Schedule of Racing:
12-18 September, Laser and Laser Radial
13-19 September, RS:X Men and RS:X Women
14-20 September, 470 Men and 470 Women
15-21 September, 49er, 49erFX, Finn and Nacra 17