“A dedicated and passionate sailor, he was an example for others to emulate,” said Major General (Retd.) M.S. Pillai of yachting doyen C.S. Pradipak, who passed away on Saturday night. “We were arch rivals on the water, but good friends off it,” the three-time former Laser Standard champion told The Hindu from MHOW (Military Headquarters of War).
The duo’s domination of the OK Dinghy championships at Hyderabad’s Hussain Sagar lasted nearly a decade and the two often represented India in several international events. “Even when he finished first in a race, Dipak would analyse various aspects of the contest minutely on returning to shore, in his perseverance to be the best” said Gen. Pillai.
“A highly skilled and intuitive sailor, Pradipak was virtually unbeatable on the opening upwind leg, often leaving the rest of the fleet way behind. His knowledge of rigging, especially on the OK Dinghy was outstanding, prompting many of us to gather around him,” recalled Brigadier S. Rajaram.
“Pradipak was the Bheeshma Pitamaha of sailing,” said Lt. Col. (Retd.) Mohinder Pal Jaggi, former Secretary, LCAI. “He contributed to the sport in many ways — as sailor, organiser, National Judge (NJ), International Judge (IJ), Chairman, Technical Committee, Yachting Association of India (YAI) and entrepreneur,” the renowned Principal Race Officer added.
Slowed down considerably later in life by Parkinson’s syndrome, which he attributed to hits on the head from the swinging boom, Pradipak also explored options for the differently abled. Pradipak also served as President of the Arjuna Awardees Association, never sparing an opportunity to pose proudly with the statuette, although that was all he got.
The tribute Pradipak would perhaps have liked best was the nine-race Omega class regatta held impromptu in his honour on Sunday. Never one to give up, Pradipak kept showing the thumbs up sign to his wife and pillar of support Keerthi, right until life ebbed out of the legend.