ÅFOR inaguration - A ROYAL AFFAIR
Under fairly informal circumstanses HRH Prince Carl Philip inaugurated what could be called Round Gotland Race 2.0, ie this year's ÅF Offshore Race. And what atmosphere it was!
More than 400 people had gathered in front of the stage on Skeppsholmen, accompanied by a calm summer twilight, popping champagne corks, steam boat whistlers and screaming sea gulls.
The inauguration began with a brief flag parade of the eleven participating countries' flags. KSSS President Staffan Salén welcomed everyone and stated that he found that "no longer have sailing as a sport to stay in the medial shade."
He also thanked the sponsor company ÅF's President Jonas Wiström for the company's vision and the will to dare to go for something new. He called all the participants for KSSS "customers" and concluded by thanking KSSS's Office for doing a fantastic job.
Jonas Wiström at ÅF noted happily that "a dream now was coming true" and that in a future he could see maybe up to 500 boats competing in the race "but for that to happen ferries and other commercial traffic will probably have to move temporarilly so that we get a green weekend in Stockholm." Mayor Sten Nordin looked slightly horrified but could counter with that Stockholm now could return to look like the good old maritime paintings from 1700 - and 1800's with full sails and heavy traffic. Future and history will meet.
HRH Prince Carl Philip finally inaugurated one of the world's largest ocean racing sailing – ÅF Offshore Race. He has also spent five years at KSSS: s Lökholmen in different contexts and was himself racing with the "Röde Orm" in the race a few years ago. He pointed out the advantage of more now may have access to a great experience, not only sailors but also locals and visiting guests.