The seaside village of Schull was en fete yesterday as, in bright sunshine, locals and visitors alike turned out in huge numbers to welcome sailors from around the globe to a world event based in a village setting.
Already, the Australian team , early midweek arrivals, have expressed their wonder and appreciation at the West Cork welcome afforded them, the beauty of the Mizen Peninsula and its proximity to that iconic sailing landmark–the Fastnet Rock.
They have now been joined by teams from the USA, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Japan, Thailand and Ireland to contest the ISAF World Team Racing Championships throughout this week.
Schull village welcomes the ISAF Team Racing event yesterday. Photo: Brian Carlin. Scroll down for more photos.
The village was a riot of colour as the parade of nations made its way up the main street, with premises flying the flags of their adopted nations and their window displays imaginatively paying tribute to the visiting teams. The parade was led by ten vintage cars, with ten more bringing up the rear, and the ever popular Skibbereen Silver Band Providing the music.
The entourage reflected elements of the sporting, cultural and artistic life of the local area with groups representing Irish traditional music and dance, local youth and sports clubs and Schull Drama Club providing a particularly interactive and quirky element to the proceedings. The international teams, interspersed throughout the parade were treated to a rapturous welcoming reception from the kerbside audience which, judging by their responses, they thoroughly enjoyed.
At the reviewing stand an official welcome from the Schull community was extended by Schull And District Community Council Chairman, Sean Lannin. A charming touch was added to the occasion in the form of each participating country being welcomed in their own language by a native of that country now resident in West Cork, emphasising once again the cosmopilitan nature of the region's population.
The parade continued on its way to The Fastnet Marine and Outdoor Education Centre at Schull Community College where the teams were officially welcomed to the sailing venue by Tim O' Connor, college principal and chairman of the local organising team for the event and by Declan Hurley, Chairman of Cork Council's Western Committee, Cork County Council being one of the major sponsors of the Championship.
There followed a short Irish music and dance performance and a recital by the Skibbereen Silver Band in the spacious marquee erected at the scenic shoreline site.
An informal reception was enjoyed by visitors and community setting the tone for an exciting and enjoyable week both on the water and in the village.
Action on the water kicks off on Monday with a training and familiarisation day in the new and locally built TR3.6 metre dinghies. Practice Race Day takes place on Tuesday with Championship Racing on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. World Youth Finals take place on Saturday and World Open Finals and Prizegiving Ceremony on Sunday, September 4.