Life & Style

This startup is making niche sports accessible in Chennai

What if you could escape the city without travelling? Jumping into the sea, six kilometres away from the shore, would do the trick.

This is one of the main thrills that Chennai-based Sportifying India is offering through its sailing trips. The startup looking to make niche sports accessible, was founded by Dheer Singhi, Abhimanyu Panwar and Avinash Shanbhag, who have been involved in the sport for years and won medals at national and international events.

The company invites guests to sail from Royal Madras Yacht Club located in Chennai harbour. Dheer and his team are members of the RMYC, and so, have access to the harbour. People who want to go on a trip can book three days in advance to get the team to make their passes from Chennai Port.

“You can hang around the harbour and the club, and take in the sights, before moving to the boat and out at sea,” he says. You can select from a fleet of boats: J80s for sailing, luxury yachts, speedboats, sport fishing boats and more. “We don’t allow people to take the fish back, however. You can take a picture with the fish you caught, and drop it back into the water,” adds Dheer.

The skipper of the boat will walk you through the basics of sailing. After two hours at sea, you can change at the club and enjoy light snacks and drinks.

Take your pick
  • The trip would last four hours, two of which would be spent out at sea
  • J80 boat: ₹12,500 for a group of six
  • Speedboats: ₹12,000 for a group of four
  • Luxury yacht: ₹25,000, for up to nine people
  • Sport fishing: ₹15,000 for five people
  • Sailing training camp for six days costs ₹15,000 for people under the age of 15, and ₹26,000 for those over 15.

History with the ocean

Dheer, 22 has been sailing for the past 10 years. “Abhinmanyu and I have travelled together and represented India as a team in many international competitions,” he says. Dheer started sailing when he was 12. As part of Little Theatre, he found encouragement from Rohini Rau, one of India’s pioneer sailorwomen. “I entered the national squad and underwent Indian training, where we would spend the whole day in water from 10 am to 5 pm.”

However, apart from sailing occasionally for his college, he dropped out of the competitive sport by the time he turned 19. “The boat can cost up to ₹12 lakhs and to change the sails for a competition, it costs ₹60,000. We kept spending for sailing without getting anything in return,” he says, adding that not getting paid for winning national and international events would hurt them financially.

Raising awareness about the sport, keeping sailing clubs afloat and bringing the sport to a position wherein young sailors can earn sponsorship, are Sportifying India’s ultimate goals. “We hope to see a day when civilians are not forced to give up on the sport because of lack of funds,” says Dheer.

Reach out to @sportifying.india on Instagram or text 7010088970. Masks will have to be worn at all times.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 5:23:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/sportifying-india-sailing-trips-in-chennai/article32926551.ece

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