India Welcomes Vasco da Gama Rally
by Preeti Raghunath/Sail-World Cruising on 16 Apr 2006
Vasco da Gama . .
Preeti Raghunath reported from Mumbai on Friday that the Vasco da Gama is just about to arrive in Mumbai. In celebration, they will stage the first international yacht rally in India – the Vasco Da Gama Cup 2006. The yachts have now been travelling for three months from three different continents. When they arrive on Indian shores, they're looking forward to unadulterated partying - on the high seas.
Mumbaites, so used to international meetings, are gettinng set to welcome an international delegation of a very different kind. The 35 yachts of the Vasco da Gama Rally set off from Turkey in October last year and will arrive in Mumbai on April 21 covering a total of 4,266 nautical miles.
'We have close to 700 km of absolutely pristine beaches and this kind of a rally will help yacht tourism. The yachts will race from Mumbai to Goa and this will be an open class race,' says Rajiv Somani, the founder and director of H2O, which will handle the logistics and infrastructure support for the rally.
From April 21-23, Mumbaites will be able to see the colourful yachts from Nariman Point and Marine Drive. Since there is no marina, the yachts will be moored at a distance. 'It will be a beautiful spectacle and Mumbaites will be briefed about the unique yachts that are arriving,' says Anju Dutta, director, Dhrishti Marine Solutions. She adds, 'The real adventure takes place on the high seas. One yacht got snared in a large fishing net all night, two yachts sank and there's one manned by an all-girl team.'
After passing through the pirate zone, with some assistance from a Coalition Warship of ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ in terms of being close, the fleet arrived in Salalah, where, owing to problems with the agent (what ever happened to Mohammed??) their visit was less than comfortable.
Time was by that stage running short to make it to India before the Monsoon season change.
The Rally is doing better than the original Vasco da Gama, however, who arrived in 1498. By the time he returned to Europe, he had only 54 of the original 170 sailors left, and two of his four ships had foundered.
The organising committee is hoping to double the number of yachts next year. The foreign yachts will be joined by Indian boats and will begin racing on April 23 ending in Goa with an awards ceremony on April 29.
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