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Ram Kumar and Shiva pair tops elimination series

A. Joseph Antony

VISAKHAPATNAM: Ram Kumar and T. Shiva of the Army Yachting Node (AYN) topped the 12-race elimination series of the National Hobie Class championships, organised jointly by the Artillery Centre, Hyderabad, and the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh at Rushikonda Bay on Thursday.

Later, in the first of the four-race final series, Naresh Yadav and B.B. Barik of the Indian Naval Sailing Association (INSA) got the gun. In addition to the two above mentioned pairs, others who made it into the final series were Aashim Mongia / A. Patankar of the Indian Naval Watermanship Training Centre (INWTC), T.S. Chaturvedi / P.V. Santosh (AYN), U.S. More / P.V.S. Raju (AYN), Surender Saini / Neeraj Sharma (INWTC), Samal Pradhan / Brijesh Varma (INSA) and Kamlesh Patel / T. Bhuvaneswaran (AYN).

The first race of the final series started at 4.00 p.m., accompanied by a Coast Guard bulletin that the current wind speed was 17 knots and likely to range between 22 to 25 knots for the next two hours. Sailing under a dense overcast sky, the duo of Ram Kumar and Shiva rounded the windward mark first. With a storm seemingly imminent, the leeward-windward course was shortened to a loop and a beat.

In the morning races, the competition area was moved further south-east into the sea to avoid proximity to the bay and shoreline.

That gave those on a port tack on the upwind legs, an advantage.

Change in wind

On the second upwind leg, the wind turned in a diametrically opposite direction, swinging from 200 to 210 degrees at the start, to 340 degrees. T.S. Chaturvedi and P.V. Santosh, who were at the tail end of the fleet when rounding the leeward, had the good fortune of being borne forward by a northerly wind. U.S. More and P.V.S. Raju were not as lucky and later sought redress for the drastic change in wind direction, over which the jury was expected to deliberate.

With the swells building up and the sky wearing a gloomy look, the second race of the final series was put off for Friday.

A backlog of races owing to protests or abandonment had upset the schedule.

But the organisers hit upon an innovative way out. Instead of the fleet returning to the yard and the rigging redone, the crews were carted to the finish line by Navy / Coast Guard Gemini boats, where the Hobies changed hands and the sailors who had just completed, motored back to shore. Consequently precious time was saved and the carried over races were completed, including the fourth of the elimination series that had been marked by a protest.

The results:

Elimination series: Race 4: 1. T.S. Chaturvedi / P.V. Santosh (AYN), 2. Aashim Mongia / A. Patankar (INWTC), 3. Surender Saini / Neeraj Sharma (INWTC), 4. Kamlesh Patel / T. Bhuvaneswaran (AYN), 5. S. Joshi / Sourav Mukherjee (INSA).

Race 11: 1. Patel / Bhuvaneswaran (AYN), 2. Naresh Yadav / B.B. Barik (INSA), 3. Chaturvedi / Santosh (AYN), 4. H.S. Tyagi / Arjun Singh (INSA), 5. Saini / Sharma (INWTC).

Race 12: 1. Ram Kumar / T. Shiva (AYN), 2. Aashim Mongia / A. Patankar (INWTC), 3. Samal Pradhan / Brijesh Varma (INSA), 4. U.S. More / P.V.S. Raju (AYN), 5. Joshi / Mukherjee (INSA).

Final series :Race 1: Yadav / Barik (INSA), 2. Chaturvedi / Santosh (AYN), 3. Mongia / Patankar (INWTC), 4. Ram Kumar / Shiva (AYN), 5. Saini / Sharma (INWTC).

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