YOUNG WORLD

Sailing smooth

PRASSANA SRINIVASAN

The sailor boy...

The sailor boy...  

"I love water and I like any sport that has to do with water," says Sandeep Singh, a sailing champ and a Std. IX student of Sishya. "As a kid, I used to look out of my window and see people walking with colourful life jackets and beautiful sails; it was amazing," he says with a sparkle in his eyes.

Sandeep started sailing when he was just ten years old. His house being near the banks of Hussaini Sagar Lake in Hyderabad, gave him the inspiration to sail, he says. Born and brought up in Hyderabad, moving to Chennai only meant shifting from the Secunderabad Sailing Club to Tamil Nadu Sailing Club, as Sandeep was determined to continue sailing wherever he went.

Sandeep first sailed in the optimist class boat meant for those under 15 years, and later helmed the cadet class boat. "I saw that Sandeep was really interested in sailing and decided to support him in his sailing endeavours. His coach in Hyderabad informed us about the international sailing championships — World's Sailing Splash 2003 — to be held in the Netherlands," says his mother, Rani Chittaranjan Das. Sandeep was the only Indian to participate in this sailing championship. "By the time we got our travel documents ready and reached there, we missed the first day of the race, nevertheless Sandeep was determined not to give up. It was a moment of pride for us to be the only Indian there," says Rani. Although he finished only in the middle order at the end of the ten-day race, Sandeep says that it had been a great opportunity for him to sail on international waters. "Everything about the race was new to me — the boat, the water and of course, the place itself. The water was freezing cold and I did not even have a warm suit," he says. "Moreover, it was the first time that I used the Splash class boat, which is an international class. Hence, it took a couple of races for me to get used to it and by the time I got used to it, the races had almost ended," he smiles.

The size of the boat one can use depends on the age of the sailor and after a certain level, it depends more on the weight of the sailor. "Now Sandeep will have to compete in the adult category in his future races although he is only 15 years. There are more challenges awaiting him," says his mother. But Sandeep shows promise; he is confident about it and feels that with little more hard work and determination, he can achieve it. "I am now looking forward to my laser class annual sailing championships."

"Wind direction is an important factor to keep the sail moving. Sometimes the wind direction can cause a lot of problems. In such cases, even to reach a small distance you might have to make a zigzag formation, it might be time consuming, but if you attempt to sail straight ahead, you might not even move a feet," he says. The sailors are allowed to use the weathercock to know the wind direction but Sandeep says that he is so used to seeing the ripples in the water that he guesses the wind direction from the ripples. "I owe this to my coach Munna Jamal, for the kind of training he has been giving us," says Sandeep. Sandeep sails every weekend in the Tamil Nadu Sailing Club near the harbour. "It is great to sail there as our sailing arena culminates in the sea and it is quite picturesque," he says. As of now, Sandeep is focussed only on sailing. "I haven't given a serious thought to my career yet, I will take things one by one," he smiles.

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