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Smooth sailing on murky waters

The Hyderabad Monsoon Regatta was a triumph in spite of many uncertainties



Sailing along Upamanya Dutta, who won gold;

There were many misgivings about the Hyderabad Monsoon Regatta, held last week. One was whether the Hussain Sagar was good or large enough for big boats like the J-24 and Hobie 16, which were to race here. Both type of boats are considered ideal for coastal conditions, with the big breakers and heavy winds.

Treat to behold

For instance, the J-24’s length is 24 feet and needs a crew of not less than four in number. The second cause for worry was whether winds would be strong enough to move these boats forward. On both counts, the event went off without a hitch. Not many were around to witness the big birds in action, but for the fortunate few, it was a treat to behold.

The Optimist class, from which have emerged more than three-fourths of the leading sailors worldwide, had a stunning 47 entries. The little crafts with their small sails dotted the lake for just three days, but saw many keen battles among children aged below 15 years.



Niting Mongia and team

Upamanyu Dutta, son of leading yachtsman Gautam Dutta, emerged the champion in the Optimist class. The Royal Bombay Yacht Club (RBYC) sailor got the better of Zephra Currimbhoy of the Royal Madras Yacht Club and Aman Vyas of the National Sailing School (NSS), Bhopal.

Nitin Mongia, seasoned helmsman and many times champ on these very waters in the Laser class, led his team of the latest Arjuna Awardee Girdhari Lal Yadav, Samal Pradhan and Y. Singh to victory, warding off the challenge from old rival R. Mahesh’s team in the J24 category. Farokh Tarapore’s quartet finished third. Mongia was especially hard to beat right from the starting line and invariably maintained his stranglehold on the leading position.



Another participant

In the Hobiecat, Yuvraj Singh and Samal Pradhan moved to the fore, right at the outset, clinching three of the opening day’s four races. None could actually face up to the duo from the Indian Naval Watermanship Training Centre (INWTC), Mumbai. There was some cheer for sailors from home turf with Yadraj Lad and Azhar Sheikh of the Artillery Water Sports Association (AWSA) taking the third position.

The most heartening factor for the event was the back-up of a string of sponsors. Sailing, especially in the Twin Cities, is yet to see the kind of support that this five-day meet received. Also in the fray were some of the veterans of sailing such as the Mongia brothers Nitin and Aashim, R. Mahesh and Farokh Tarapore, besides Homi Motivala, perhaps the first sportsperson to win the Arjuna, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Dronacharya awards.

A. JOSEPH ANTONY

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