The arrival of monsoons creates a great stir as it offers a welcome break from the scorching sun. The clouds cast their shadows on the earth relieving us from the relentless heat. It marks the beginning of a season full of cheer, joy and romance. In Hyderabad the advent of monsoons signals something else too. The Hussain Sagar Lake is transformed into a paradise for sailing. The Monsoon Regatta celebrates the season with a purpose. The theme of the championship is to protect the environment and steadily improve the quality of the lake. The Monsoon Regatta endeavors to create awareness and helps bring the sailors, the people and the Government on a common platform to solve this problem in perpetuity.
Since its inception in 2009 the Monsoon Regatta has grown to become the premier inland sailing event in the country. The event is held in the month of July every year. This year, the event was supported by the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh, Deloitte and West Coast Marine and saw 40 participants from Mumbai, Delhi, Bhopal, Mangalore and Pune. The event also saw an all women’s team participate for the first time in the history of the event. The team was skippered by Ayesha Lobo the erstwhile National Hobie class National Champion.
Match Racing at the Hussain Sagar took a whole new dimension where the languid rules of obsessive sailing were replaced with crackling speed, agility and a test of the crew’s boat handling and control under severe monsoon conditions. The all new Omega Class of boats were specially imported for the event. Replacing the J24, the Omega proved to be a challenge for the skippers. It’s the fastest boat to be used on Indian waters for match racing. Sponsored by Deloitte the Match Racing in the brand new Omegas was the closest and keenest and most certainly the fastest racing ever seen at a Monsoon Regatta.
The Yacht Club of Hyderabad fielded the largest contingent of 12 sailors with children from Gvt. Market School, DPS Secunderabad and Army School Bolarum participating. The Transworld Sailing championship saw an increase in the number of participants. Introduced last year, this family event was designed to broad base the sport of sailing. Participants poured in from Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore. This event required to have, apart from an experienced skipper, at least one lady on board and one sailor below the age of 15years and a maximum of 5 on board. The purpose is to change the scope of sailing from a medal oriented challenging and competitive sport to one that allows for relaxation and enjoyment for the entire family with just a touch of competition.
Ace commentator and Quiz Master Harsha Bhogle conducted a quiz on environmental issues. Cricketer VVS Laxman visited the fleet for an inspection. India’s ace cricketer Rahul Dravid along with Telegu movie superstar Rana Daggubatti participated in a celebrity race.
The West Coast Marine Sailing School introduced first time sailors with only 10 days of training and resulted in successful completion of races by all its students who participated. Out of the five students who had participated in IndOpti, two were able to finish the races and two mores were able to race the course. The credit goes to the training provided by the team of West Coast Marine Sailing School which comprises of well experienced sailors namely Mr.Homi Manekshaw, Mr.Neeraj Sharma, Mr. Dipesh Nerpagare, Mr. Laukik Chavhan and Mr.Trunal Helegaonkar.
The Government rises to the occasion and the Monsoon Regatta provides them with a platform for the senior most functionaries to broadcast progress on all aspects of cleaning the Hussain Sagar and all surrounding lakes in the twin cities. The sailors being closest to the waters are a litmus test of progress on this count. Also the event raises its voice to the development of sailing in inland water bodies in India. In a country where sailing is largely restricted to the coastal areas the Hyderabad, the Monsoon Regatta is encouraging sailing in the interiors. Many lakes all across India have great potential for inland sailing events and are still untapped.
Compiled by Vignesh Iyer