Artillery Water Sports Association’s Kalaga Yakobu (helm) and Rajeev Kumar Dabur (crew), clinched their maiden title in the National Hobie 16 championships, which concluded at the Hussain Sagar on Saturday.
In the eight-race competition, brought down from a dozen owing to next-to-no-wind conditions on Friday, the pair won half a dozen, finishing second in one and sixth in the last, which they dumped in the one discard that each team is entitled to. The course was shortened to two loops from three owing to the lake’s placidity, with wind speeds ranging between six and eight knots, by Principal Race Officer D.P. Selvam, himself a seasoned Laser sailor and coach.
Sensing pressure building on the left in the day’s opening race, the twosome headed that way but later veered to centre, a move that paid off richly as they homed in on the windward mark well ahead of the rest. They only consolidated thereon, getting the gun with a handsome lead.
Gamble pays off
Buoyed by a lift from the left in race six, they tailed N. Behera and B.K. Sharma, first to circle the first orange inflatable. On the downwind leg, Yakobu-Rajeev lay low of the pressure, a gamble that paid off as they overtook the first pair to round the leeward mark. When they heard the hooter, they had left the fleet a good 30 boat lengths behind.
They were not as lucky in the post-lunch session, when the left of centre path they struck backfired in the seventh, as they nonetheless finished second to the Indian Naval Watermanship Training Centre (INWTC), Mumbai pair of Imolemnok and S.S. Yadav. In the concluding race of the series, a string of headers turned hurdles for the champion duo of Yakobu and Rajeev, who had however secured their grip on the crown by the sixth race itself.
In conformity with the scrapping of rule 42.2 in the Hobie class, the jury comprising Col. (Retd.) M.P. Jaggi, Brigadier (Retd.) G.S. Jhulka and Nilma V. Shah did not take to the water for judging. Perhaps in testimony to the smooth conduct of the series by the new National Hobie Class Association Secretary, Major V.C. Khanthwal, assisted by Beach Master Antony Joseph and his team, not a single protest was lodged during the entire eight-race competition.
Overall standings (helm’s names first): 1. K. Yakobu & Rajeev Kumar, Artillery Water Sports Association, (8 points) 2. Imolemnok & S.S. Yadav, Indian Naval Watermanship Training Centre, Mumbai (17) 3. Kaushal Kumar & Gireesh M, AWSA, (24).
The results: Race five: 1. Yakobu/Rajeev 2. Imolemnok/Yadav 3. Kaushal/Gireesh. Race 6: 1. Yakobu/Rajeev 2. N. Behera/B.K. Sharma, (EMESA) 3. Imolemnok/Yadav. Race 7: 1. Imolemnok/Yadav 2. Yakobu/Rajeev 3. Kaushal/Gireesh. Race 8: 1. Kaushal/Gireesh 2. Imolemnok/Yadav 3. Samal Pradhan/Rahul Rai (INWTC, Mumbai).