The 2015 Techno 293 World Championships are officially under way, after the opening ceremony held here in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. It has been a simple and fun ceremony, with a short parade from Windsurfing Club Cagliari - host to the event - to a small amphitheatre facing the sea, by the Marina piccola harbour.
Each country had a chance to enter the scene carrying a sign and their flag, while their national anthem was being played. Some large teams literally arrived running into the square. Some others were smaller but definitely not shy. The host country, with the largest fleet in the race, entered last. It was quite a site to see, at the end!
Techno 293 Class president Ezio Ferin was master of cerimonies for the evening and introduced some brief speeches. Windsurfing Club Cagliari president Giuseppe Marghinotti welcomed competitors, coaches, family members and friends, hoping for everybody to spend a great week in Cagliari. “Not everybody can win, obviously, but I'm sure that all together we will share many moments of sport, friendship and fun”.
One of the guests for the ceremony was Max Sirena, former skipper and team director of Luna Rossa. Max lived in Cagliari for almost two years, until his team dropped out of America's Cup over a much criticized boat size change. But he will have to move soon, because just recently he joined as manager Emirates Team New Zealand. It is always great for kids who are just starting their career in this sport to have a chance to meet such sailing role models. Another guest was local sailor Andrea Mura, also with some strong America's Cup experience (he was mainsail trimmer with the Il Moro di Venezia 1991-1992 campaign in San Diego, California).
Before the opening ceremony, the 300 plus competitors had a full day. From mid morning they went through registration - luckily the organizing team here managed the whole process smoothly. Many were really busy working on boards and sails. A few groups had just arrived and still had to unpack or collect their chartered equipment. Many competitors took advantage of a warm, sunny day with a light breeze in the afternoon for a little more practice, followed by team meetings.
With two more hours on Sunday morning to complete registration and a practice race scheduled for the afternoon, the atmosphere is definitely cheerful: everybody wants to start racing. We still need to wait for the total count of competitors but we are expecting to see between 320 and 350 of them in action from Monday, split between two race courses.