Thursday, March 8, 2018

Indian J/80s Love Afton Cup

J/80 sailing off Chennai, India (Chennai, India)- The Royal Madras Yacht Club (established 1911) is located inside the Chennai harbour and has been producing international and national Medallists for years.  It is a great source of pride for Royal Madras YC to produce many of India’s best sailors.

The Club is the first one in South India to be recognized as an Accredited Training Centre for India’s sailing governing body- Yachting Association of India. The Club has many classes of sailing boats and regularly hosts sailing regattas. The RMYC is the only Club in India having a fleet of four J/80s and they hosted the first AFTON CUP J/80 Regatta on 10th and 11th February 2018.

AFTON is a well-known brand in the health and fitness equipment industry in India. Today’s generation is very health conscious and sailing is an eco-friendly and exciting sport promoting fitness. AFTON was excited to sponsor the first J/80 sailing regatta, sending a strong message that fitness and sailing have a common goal in promoting good health and endurance.

Sailors practiced the whole of the preceding week under Chinna Reddy (International gold Medallist and YAI Instructor).  Ayesha Lobo (International gold Medallist and RYA Senior Instructor and YAI Senior Instructor) arrived a few days before the event and supervised the tuning of boats. Both of them decided on the course and the race formats.

Four teams signed up for the regatta and each team was comprised of eight sailors. Any given race each team had 4 to 5 sailors on the waters. Boats were allotted by draw. The plan was to sail 4 races from noon onwards. The course was a triangle followed by a loop. The finish line was after the leeward mark so that the boats finished on a beat (e.g. the classic Olympic course).

J/80s sailing off Chennai, IndiaDay 1- Gorgeous Blue Day
The weather was blue skies with blue waters and winds just under 10 knots. LOBO SAILING Team won the first 2 races pretty easily with some superb helming by Aahan and Maulin with Ayesha on the gennaker. There was some fierce competition between AVIATORS Team and the AFTON Team for the second place. The competition heated up for the next 2 races and at different points in time a different boat was in the lead. The 3rd race was a gun for LOBO SAILING and the 4th race was won by AFTON. At the end of 4 races, LOBO SAILING was firmly in the lead followed by AFTON and AVIATORS.

Day 2- More Gorgeous Sailing
The course remained same and four races were held with one discard out of a total of eight races.

Again, the weather was gorgeous- sunny skies with medium waves and winds around 10 knots with gusts of 15 knots.

The teams had developed enough experience that all boats were bunched at the start line and also at the windward mark and the leeward mark roundings.

There was lot of action at the windward mark with teams screaming for water, starboard etc. The kites were hoisted quickly and there was no snagging of the kites. It was a majestic sight with the gennakers hoisted on all four J/80s. With 4 boats gybing it was a wonderful scene as they jostled for water at the leeward mark, dropped the kites, rounded the mark and immediately hardened up on to a beat. Each team had a gun.

A protest was made by LOBOS SAILING against AFTON for double fouls at the start line.  The jury heard the protest and AFTON paid a heavy price. This outcome changed the standings quite dramatically in such a close contest.  The final results saw LOBO SAILING win, followed by the AVIATORS in second place and AFTON holding on to the bronze.

The J/80 Regatta Night and awards presentation was held at the Navy Beach. With a live band playing, the gentle waves flowing ashore in harmony, the stars lighting the skies, it was a truly a sailors night with unlimited dark rum on the house and a sumptuous dinner spread. The music and dancing continued past midnight until the now tired and happy crews polished off the last drops of rum. Add to Flipboard Magazine.