Magnificent show for Opening Ceremony – including natural light(en)ing
Club JK USKOK laid on an awesome (on water) opening ceremony, at the Old City of Zadar last night. Even without the weather, this would have been a most impressively planned and organised occasion, but we had a spectacular and lengthy electric storm as well! The sailors, coaches and supporters, as well as all the race officials, embarked on two ships, to a beautiful sunset, and were conveyed across the sound to the Riva, the sea promenade of the old City. Here, looking out over the Zadar Channel, to the north side of the Ugljan Island, at the place of the famous Sea Organ and the “Greeting of the Sun”, created by the same architect, Nikola Bašiæ, an on-the-water spectacular took place. On arrival at the landing stage, many of the sailors were very keen to have their pictures taken with the drum majorettes who were waiting to welcome them.
With the 19th Century sailing boat, “Branimir” that traded between Dalmatia and Italy, as the centre piece, the Croatian singer, Ivank Radovnikoviæ and the Zadar Dancing Troupe (conveyed gracefully by a oarsman, like mermaids, to and fro) entertained the audience, and local Optimist and 420 sailors provided suitable authentication for a sailing championships! Meanwhile, there was weather brewing! The cracks of thunder grew steadily louder and, in the dark, across the outline of the Ugljan Island, a terrific electric storm unfolded. Usually strong, but brief affairs, this storm was over a wide front and continued to develop around us – over the hills, well after the sailors were home (and dry!).
With this dramatic backcloth, the flags of the twenty-eight countries were driven in RIBs at high speed into the arena, and the standard bearers disembarked, proudly to place their flags on the stand, followed by short welcoming speeches. In fact, as rain and wind briefly came in, the proceedings had to be shortened somewhat, but the absence of man-made fireworks did not dampen the excitement. This was an evening that will be long remembered.