Sailing is a fun, safe yet adventurous sport which can be recreational as well as competitive. It has been there from the time of British Raj and the country has been participating in Olympic sailing from 1972 Munich Olympics. At present, sailing is slowly getting accepted among the public as a recreational sport, although it is more popular among navy circles. Of course, it is relatively expensive as all the equipment including boats need to be imported. Here are some tips for wannabe sailors!
How to get started
The best way to start sailing is to enroll with the local sailing club of your locality. Many metros in India have sailing clubs, which offer lessons for beginners and also provide boats for sailing. Some of the leading clubs include Kerala Water Sports Association in Kochi, Tamil Nadu Sailing Association and West Coast Marine Yatch Club, Mumbai.
Understanding the sport
You can sail for a couple of hours and then there is ocean sailing which takes days and months. Sailing is a test of endurance—you need to have good physical strength and cooking skills as you have to eat well during the long journeys under different climatic conditions. Knowledge about the machinery inside the boat including how to repair it is needed because in the middle of the sea, you might not find a service centre!
The basic requirement is a sailing boat. The most common ones are the Laser radial one man sailing boat and its associated gears which include tackles, shackles, booms, mast, sail and the heaving lines.
Equipments to carry
Clothing and tools, First aid kit, navigation kit (including logbook, hand-bearing compass, etc), cooking kit and standard snacks.
Know all the rules and regulations of sea prior to embark on sailing. Like all adventure sports, there is a certain element of risk at sea and one needs to know how to operate emergency communication equipment. Ultimately, it’s the sense of freedom that motivates people to take up this sport.
(Information Courtesy: World Sailing International Umpire Cdr A.S Patankar and Commander Dilip Donde , the first Indian to circumnavigate the world solo)