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Kochi second home to Dutch yachter



Seafaring: Dutch yachter Lodewijk Brust on board his yacht Mistral,at the Kochi marina.

Lodewijk Brust from Holland is very much at home in Kochi marina, the only one of its kind in India.

One of the organisers of the fourth Vasco da Gama boat rally in Kochi, he sailed into Kochi in Mistral — his 27-year-old yacht built in the U.K. Maintaining vigil on the vessel are his pet dogs – Yugo and Banjer, a fox terrier and a welsh terrier. Yugo has been named after a wind in the Mediterranean, while Banjer means ‘tough'. “And he is tough,” says the seafarer. They welcome their master aboard the vessel by briskly wagging their tail and licking his face.

With just a few days left for the Kerala Travel Mart to open at the KTDC-owned Bolghatty Palace Hotel, the adjacent marina would be a prominent attraction for the hundreds of foreign and Indian delegates who will turn up for the event. Over a dozen yachts could be seen at the marina that was commissioned early this year.

Mr. Brust travels to India often and has a many friends in the city. “This time, many yachters sailed as a convoy for fear of being attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Eden. Last year, they captured a British yacht and the seafarers are still hostage.” He is all praise for the staff of the Bolghatty heritage hotel and the Marina House, and termed their support for the yachters as ‘amazing'. Doesn't he get fed up staying in the yacht? The monotony is broken by tourist boats passing by through the backwaters, the passengers waving at the seafarers and often taking their photos. The yachts are self-sufficient and have a bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, apart from modern communication equipment. The yachts depend on kiosks provided at the marina for water and power. “Friends from nearby houses too help,” says Mr Brust, before signing off for lunch.

Yugo and Banjer would, meanwhile, be on the guard in the yacht that cost $7 lakh (nearly Rs. 3 crore) when it was purchased.

John L. Paul

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