Please select your home edition
Edition
Fever-Tree 728x90

Rise and rise of sailing in India - the magic of Lake Vembanad

by Jimmy Shallet/Sail-World Cruising on 14 Apr 2012
Sailing in Kerala - a training session SW

Sailing is exploding in India, and there's no surer sign than the number of children that are discovering the sport. The state of Kerala is ideal for such activies, with its vast 'backwaters' full of waving palms and gently flat waters. Adjoining Vembanad Lake is the longest freshwater lake in India and was home this week to some young trainee sailors, as Jimmy Shallet describes:

Thronging the shores of the placid Vembanad backwaters this week were a bunch of exhilarated children. And, what excites them is sailing- its art of controlling the wind and wafting their boat through deep waters. Seems like the unfathomable waters of the lake have not scared them one bit.

'It is exactly this we had in mind when we started to train them to control the yacht, besides promoting the watersport. Presence of mind,

courage and decision-making are the three key features a child learns from the moment? he/she step into the water,' says Jolly Thomas, the coach.

He adds that once the children are in the water, they are by themselves. 'As the boat is purely controlled by the wind, the chances of it capsizing cannot be ruled out.

'They are devoid of any external help and a decision has to be made very quickly for it will be a ‘do-or-die’ situation,' he said.

Jolly Thomas said the children dutifully obey the instructions given to them. 'Once you are in the deep waters, you get commands and you have to act accordingly,' he said.

The coach’s words proved

right when Suzann Thomas, a seven-year-old girl jumped right into the deep waters with a life jacket. Suzann does not know how to swim and had only joined the training session just a day before.

Rahul Thomas, a 13-year-old from secondary school in Thevara, said it was the sheer thrill of this adventure sport that prompted him to take up sailing.

'I love the thrill this gives. From Vembanad backwaters, we have sailed to Marine Drive and Vaikom,' he said. Rahul has participated in the national and international yachting championships held in Chennai.

The Kerala Watersports and Sailing Organisation, which conducts the training, said the training was being offered free of cost for children between the age group 7-15. Other age-groups have to pay a registration fee.

Girija Govind, Secretary, Kerala Watersports and Sailing Organisation, said yachting has always been put on the back burner, with many people considering it to be a ‘sport of the rich’. 'Kerala is blessed with an ambience to promote a sport like sailing,' she said, 'It has both backwaters and the sea.'

NaiadRS Sailing 660x82Mackay Boats

Related Articles

Pulling G’s with Beneteau – Pt I
In a car, just the one G will have you straining at your seatbelt. In a car, just the one G will have you straining at your seatbelt. Over nine (+ve) in an aircraft, and without a G-suit, you will be unconscious. So at three G’s, and pulling no punches with them either, we not only enjoyed our opportunity to sit with Gianguido Girotti (G3), we got to learn a lot as well!
Posted on 23 Aug
2017 J/111 World Championship - Preview
Every team’s journey to a starting line is a tale of organization, crew alignment, vessel preparation and practice Every team’s journey to a starting line is a tale of organization, crew alignment, vessel preparation and practice. Add in international travel, and the complexity snowballs. Then, weave in the pressures and prestige of a World Championship— in this case the 2017 J/111 World Championships (August 23-27, 2017), hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California — and situation compounds.
Posted on 21 Aug
41st Annual Wooden Boat Festival - Overall report
Tall ships and everything in between—North America’s largest wooden boat festival celebrates its 41st year Tall ships, paddleboards, kayaks, tugboats, and everything in between—North America’s largest wooden boat festival celebrates its 41st year on September 8–10, 2017. Demonstrations, presentations, plays, music, dancing, and great food—this is a weekend of fun for all ages
Posted on 17 Aug
Coast Guard, locals launch search after empty, homemade raft found
Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England also activated the Rhode Island Taskforce for assistance. The Coast Guard launched a search for a possible person in the water Saturday after an unmanned, homemade raft was found drifting in Mt. Hope Bay, near the mouth of the Taunton River on the Massachusetts and Rhode Island border. A good Samaritan alerted Coast Guard watchstanders to the empty raft at about 7 a.m.
Posted on 13 Aug
Early-storms one indicator of active Atlantic hurricane season ahead
Today NOAA issued the scheduled update for its 2017 hurricane season outlook. Today NOAA issued the scheduled update for its 2017 hurricane season outlook. Forecasters are now predicting a higher likelihood of an above-normal season, and they increased the predicted number of named storms and major hurricanes. The season has the potential to be extremely active, and could be the most active since 2010.
Posted on 12 Aug
Keep the water out with Zhik’s new Superthermal Hydrobase
The lower arm and leg of the new Superthermal Hydrobase is made from a water-repellent, stretch woven fabric We’ve all done it - and fished a rope out of the water, pushed the rudder down or stepped down the slipway one foot too far and gained that unwanted wet sleeve or leg.
Posted on 9 Aug
Coast Guard searching mid-Atlantic region for 73-year-old sailor
The Coast Guard is searching for an overdue French sailor between North Carolina and New York City Wednesday. The Coast Guard is searching for an overdue French sailor between North Carolina and New York City Wednesday. Watchstanders in the fifth Coast Guard District Command Center in Portsmouth received a report at 7 a.m. that a 73-year-old sailor named Joseph Calland aboard the 39-foot sailboat Nennette is overdue.
Posted on 3 Aug
Int Moth Worlds - Zhik returns to its spiritual home at 2017 Worlds
Zhik is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships Zhik, the innovative sailing apparel specialist, is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships. And, ten years on, the Moths are returning to their spiritual home on Lake Garda. Zhik and the International Moth class are virtually synonymous with each other.
Posted on 20 Jul
Cheeki Rafiki - Douglas Innes to face retrial over manslaughter
Douglas Innes to face retrial over manslaughter The Director of Stormforce Coaching, the company that ran Cheeki Rafiki, is set to face retrial for manslaughter over the deaths of the four crew. They were 700nm from Nova Scotia, returning to Southampton after racing in Antigua when the keel feel off. It is said that previous groundings had weakened the keel bolts....
Posted on 17 Jul
Rytov continues to defend lead at 2017 Melges 20 European Championship
On the eve of final day at Melges 20 European Championship Russia's Igor Rytov & his Russian Bogatyrs remains in command On the eve of the final day at the 2017 Melges 20 European Championship, Russia's Igor Rytov and his Russian Bogatyrs remains in command. Thanks to a very consistent performance thus far, they are inching ever closer to capturing the top European title and trophy.
Posted on 15 Jul