He watches sailors’ conversations with water, listens to the sound of the wind. In his mind, he still dances to the rhythm of the sea.
Turkey’s Ilker Bayindir, now 63, has been involved with sailing since 1967, first competing himself and then being connected with the sport as an international judge and a jury officer.
Sailing is a fascinating sport, he told The Hindu here on Saturday. “Sailing is my life, my world!” he exclaims.
He looks on in awe as the sea’s tango with the sun throws up exotic colours; the water changes from green to blue to one of silvery or golden hue. And the sailors slice through endless stretches of water that reflect light as they manoeuvre through the wind.
Bayindir, now in the city to oversee the Raymond-India International Regatta, believes sailing helps build character. “The budding sailors, barely seven or eight, are alone in the sea, amidst the swells and the wind. And then they have to conquer fear. They evolve as sportsmen and human beings.” he says.
The key is to have the heart for the sport, enjoy its challenge. “It’s a lot about self policing. Nobody is assisting them as they battle the nature. They have to do it on their own.” he points out.
Bayindir also explores the countries he travels to, studies its culture. He and his wife Inci, a marble artist, possess a passion for photography.
He admires the spirit of India. “The people are always smiling. They have so much warmth. So many of my friends are rich but many of them are not happy. They are always solving problems. Happiness is a state of mind.”
Bayindir, a part of the London Olympics as an official, feels the sailing event in Chennai is evolving. “The organisers are responding to the suggestions here, which is good.”
He adds again: “The people here are so friendly.” Sport does travel beyond boundaries.