The 36th Seabird National Sailing Championship 2018 was held on 21st and 22nd April 2018 in the Mumbai Harbour, off Gateway of India. The event was organised by the National Seabird Class Association of India in collaboration with the Royal Bombay Yacht Club and Bombay Sailing Association.
Sailors from Colaba Sailing Club swept away the top three spots with the team of Prasad Shelar, Suraj Singh and Prathamesh Bagwe of Colaba Sailing Club winning gold with an unmatched winning total of 6 points.
“The plan was to start clean and do the basics like execution of the strategies, boat manoeuvring, taking the wind shifts and staying focused on sail trims. It was a great team effort and definitely time spent together in the boat worked as an added advantage," said Prathamesh Bagwe.
“I am happy that we were able to execute our plans in almost all the races. Me, Suraj and Prathamesh, have been sailing together since a long time and the coordination between the team is amazing,” said the skipper of the team, Prasad Shelar, who is now an 11-time National Sailing Champion.
The team of Murugan Nadar, Saif Shaikh and Rakesh Varadkar finished second overall with 14 points, while Murugan’s elder brother, Muthulingam Nadar with Jatin Gohil and Devendra Kasarkod finished third overall with 17 points.
The opening race of the series was won by Murugan Nadar due to a mistake in spotting the gybe mark on the second leg of the race. Prasad Shelar, who was leading the race went for a wrong mark and Murugan made a perfect tactical move to shift up from 7th place to 1st place and won the race with a huge lead.
Second race onwards, there was no looking back for Prasad Shelar and team as they left no loopholes and went on to win the remaining 6 races in a row.
Shelar clearly dominated throughout the event, by rounding the windward mark at the top spot in all 7 races of the championship. With excellent boat speed, tactical moves and amazing teamwork, they remained unbeatable throughout the championship to take home the gold.
Conducted once every year, the Seabird National Championship attracts top-level sailors from elite yacht clubs across the country. This year’s event saw participation from yacht clubs like Royal Bombay Yacht Club, Bombay Customs Yacht Club and Colaba Sailing Club to name a few. A total of 27 sailors from across the country fought it out on the sea this year, to get their hands on the prestigious Godrej Trophy, which is awarded to the winners.
A total of 7 races were conducted over 2 days in the most challenging sailing conditions with winds gusting from 15 to 20 knots and a strong tide. Shifty winds made the racing even more tactically challenging. Competitors were pushed to their limits of physical and mental exhaustion while trying to get the better of the natural elements and their fellow competitors.
Gold: Prasad Shelar, Suraj Singh and Prathamesh Bagwe (Colaba Sailing Club) – 6 points
Silver: Murugan Nadar, Rakesh Varadkar and Saif Shaikh (Colaba Sailing Club) – 14 points
Bronze: Muthulingam Nadar, Jatin Gohil and Devendra Kasarkod (Colaba Sailing Club) – 17 points.Published 24 Apr 2018, 16:52 IST