by Elena Giolai
Everything is set for the World Optimist Championships on Lake Garda: the opening ceremony is on Tuesday, 16th July at 6.00 pm. in Riva del Garda's town centre in the presence of Carlo Croce, President of The World Sailing Association ISAF, Olympic Champion Alessandra Sensini, President of the World Optimist Class, Peter Barclay and local dignitaries. The individual and team regattas will take place until July 25th.
51st Optimist World Championship, Italy - Riva del Garda
And not only sailing: Garda Trentino on social media from all over the world with reports on the Teams' first days, from their training sessions to their trips around the area.
So here we are: one of the most important sailing events in Italy, (and in the world for that matter considering the age group of under 14), is about to begin.
Welcome concert - 51st Optimist World Championship, Italy - Riva del Garda
While the world's media is focusing on the America's Cup, the future skippers of the Cup will be involved here in Italy in one of the most important events of the season. The World Championships of the Optimist class, which is considered the perfect boat for children and is the choice for both sailing schools and those first important regattas technically opening the door to a possible career in sailing, is about to get under way on Lake Garda.
In the days leading up to the Championships, the weather has been glorious with plenty of sunshine and winds of 14/20 knots giving us the chance to see the ability of some of these very young helmsmen as they demonstrate their first navigational skills. On the organizational side everything is running to perfection on water and on land. This is due to the operational staff at Fraglia Vela Riva who have been implementing all their experience gained from achieving a Guinness World Record for the largest single class regatta in the world to the most international regattas organized in a year; experience that places Fraglia Vela Riva on top of the world. Naturally we are keeping our fingers crossed that the weather conditions continue to remain settled, guaranteeing the classic conditions that make Upper Lake Garda, Trentino a unique training ground for sailing sports.
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In just a few days the Village at Fraglia Vela Riva, assigned for the event, has taken shape, organising in the best way the areas necessary for the teams, boats, regatta officials' operations management and International Jury. The area has been set up between the clubhouse of the historic club on the lake front and the adjacent Fiera Congressi of Riva del Garda, event headquarters with Race office, Media Centre and Palameeting, areas for tonnage procedures, equipment checks and measures as well as social evenings. North of the sailing club is the Spiaggia degli Ulivi, (Olive Tree Beach), which has also been assigned to the World Optimist Championship Village, with exposition and sales stands to liven up the event on land. Before the start of the World Championships, the 'Pre- Worlds' will take place. This is a separate event which will allow the athletes to try out the regatta course and smooth out any problems on the water before they race for the coveted title. As expected the athletes from Singapore, New Zealand and The Ukraine have been showing what they capable of but also Italy had to go through a rigorous test making them one of the most competitive Teams.
A World Championship of sailing, culture and tourism: Garda Trentino on social media all over the world.
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Boys and girls aged 12-14 from 58 nations and five continents will be on the water with each Team having a maximum of five athletes. For some the objective is to reach the podium, while for others it's being part of the most important event in under 14 juvenile sailing and a wonderful opportunity not just for racing. It's interesting to see how, in the days leading up to event, the various Teams from Australia, Japan, Brazil, New Zealand, South Africa and the U.S. recount their own Championships through social media with photos that not only refer to their training sessions but also in their discovery of the area. As was the case for New Zealand who took a trip along the beautiful trail that overlooks Riva del Garda. Tunisia with a day not to be missed at Gardaland or Japan discovering Riva del Garda's old town centre and savouring Italian ice-cream on the lake front! Sport, tourism and the exchange of cultures in close contact among the different populations who have come here from all over the world!
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