Gajender Singh proved old was indeed gold on the penultimate day of the Laser National championships at the Hussain Sagar on Saturday.
The seasoned sailor swept all the three races in the Standard category, leading two of them from start to finish. Vir Menon had a brace in the 4.7 section, while Sharif Khan, Ramesh Kumar and Abhimanyu Panwar won a race each in the Radial set.
In a sport so heavily reliant on nature to turbo charge it, the fuel in the form of wind was in short supply, dropping from 12 to as low as four knots.
If gusting conditions had the fleets in disarray on the opening day, the lull in the lake really put the brakes on high octane action.
Young Vir Menon’s all-round abilities were much in evidence in the light winds that patted the reservoir now and then, like a matronly mother, neither harsh nor lax.
“The winds were really unpredictable,” said the class 10 student of Inventure Academy, Bangalore of the concluding race’s last leg, truncated after the course was shifted to the lake’s left after a 40 degree wind shift to the east.
In race seven, the curly haired lad turned second at the windward mark behind arch rival Prince Noble.
On the first reach, Menon outpaced Noble and remained ahead till he got the gun. Spurred by a sound start, the Royal Madras Yacht Club (RMYC) sailor set the tone in the first beat itself of the next race and brooked no competition till he closed out the rest of the fleet at the finish.
An hour was lost before the day’s last race. With the wind either turning whimsical or playing hard to get, the race committee racked it’s brain to lay a suitable course in swiftly changing scenarios.
Lying fourth after the first beat, Vir gained ground steadily, even venturing to sail by the lee to get that extra edge to a finish, advanced to the leeward mark. Only that he missed out on the hooter to TNSA’s Ahad Rahim.
In the Radial’s eighth race, Abhimanyu Panwar emerged a surprise winner. The leading trio of Gaurav Randhawa, S.S. Yadav and Sharif Khan, sailed long off a crowded cluster at the second gybe mark.
Before they could recover lost ground, the threesome of Panwar, Amandeep Singh and Sachin Singha captured the inner lane and finished in the same order.
The results: Laser Radial: Race 6: 1. Sharif Khan (AYN) 2. Veerender Singh 3. S.S. Yadav (both INWTC, Mumbai). Race 7: 1. Ramesh Kumar 2. Amandeep Singh 3. Sharif Khan (all AYN). Race 8: 1. Abhimanyu Panwar (RMYC) 2. Amandeep Singh (AYN) 3. Sachin Singha (EMESA).
Laser 4.7: Race 7: 1. Vir Menon (RMYC) 2. Prince Noble (KYA) 3. Ravinder M (TNSA). Race 8: 1. Vir Menon 2. Dheer Singhi (both RMYC) 3. Prince Noble (KYA).
Race 9: 1. Ahad Rahim (TNSA) 2. Vir Menon (RMYC) 3. Tarun Bhatia (SSC).
Laser Standard: Race 7: 1. Gajender Singh 2. Dharmender Singh 3. Jasvir Singh (all AYN). Race 8: 1. Gajender Singh 2. Dharmender Singh 3. M. Naveen Kumar (all AYN). Race 9: 1. Gajender Singh 2. Jasvir Singh (both AYN) 3. B.K. Rout (EMESA).