The passion for sailing was all around! Even with the slightly cloudy sky threatening a downpour, nothing could dampen the moods of the young sailors of Hyderabad on Sunday morning. The event was the Secunderabad Sailing Club’s annual charity function, Bart’s Bash 2018. Dubbed as the World’s Largest Sailing event, it is named after Andrew Simpson Bart, the Olympic sailor who died in a sailing accident. Andrew Simpson Foundation is a worldwide organisation headquartered in the UK to create awareness about the sport, especially in the Third World.
Hyderabad’s chapter of Bart’s Bash saw young, vibrant and excited sailors stepping onto their boats with full fervour. The charity, which accepts voluntary donations, will be contributing 100 pounds worth of proceeds to the organisation.
Coach and Honorary Secretary of the Secunderabad Sailing Club, Arjun Pradipak, wipes off the sweat from his satisfied face after the race — the main event of the day — and says, “We are trying to break a Guinness World Record that we had previously achieved in 2014. The organisation managed to bring together 9,484 boats for the world’s largest sailing race. This time we are aiming for 10,000 sailing enthusiasts for this event worldwide. From Hyderabad, today, we have over 50. We had the representative from the Guinness organisation in attendance, to take a look. We hope we can break the record.”
The Sailing Club trains children as young as nine. One of the youngest sailors, 11-year-old Shloka Mahesh, says, “I absolutely love sailing. We train vigorously on weekends. Saturday for two to three hours and the whole of Sunday. The training includes sailing, yoga and intense physical exercises.” But as the stale whiff of Hussainsagar’s water pollution reaches one’s nostrils, Alekhya Coondu, a 13-year-old sailor laments, “As much as we love sailing, the pollution is a huge problem. Today, three huge bags of trash got stuck to my rudder and eventually, my speed decreased. I was aiming for the first position.”
As the parents of the competitors bit their nails and complained about the wind not picking up the pace, Advait, the 13-year-old winner for the day’s race said, “The wind is perfect for me. I am going to have a perfect start. But what I love specifically about the sport is this thing called hiking, where the side of the boat is tipping almost completely in water along with your entire body and just your feet are on the boat. It needs a lot of physical strength and gives quite the adrenaline rush too.”
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