Chennai to Pondicherry on a sailboat in 13 hours | Chennai News

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CHENNAI: A 75-year-old man was part of the nine-member team that set off on two sailboats from Chennai to Puducherry two weeks ago. For a journey of just over two hours, it took the team around 13 hours to reach the coast of Pondicherry as it depended solely on the winds.
“Thirteen hours may seem like a long time, but it’s the fastest in the history of the 110-year-old Royal Madras Yacht Club,” said Captain Vivek Shanbag, leader of the expedition. The boats were tracked by the Indian Coast Guard and supported by the Indian Navy.
The oldest participant in the expedition, K Chidambaram, said the winds were in their favor this time around as they were able to cover the distance in 13 hours. This time, the two teams sailed on J-80 sailboats. Chidambaram had already made the same Chennai-Puducherry trip four years ago with another team and it had taken the team over 20 hours.
The last expedition was a training race for the national level offshore regatta to be held on the same stretch in March.
Chidambaram, a former marine engineer, started sailing as a hobby at age 45. Shanbag, an airline pilot, started sailing in his early forties and has been competitive sailing ever since. His team came third at the 2019 J80 World Championship held in Spain in the mixed category and placed fourth at the 2019 Asian Championship held in China in the open category.
“Sailing is an environmentally friendly sport and we intend to popularize it in Tamil Nadu. Already, our sailors consistently win at various international and national events, including the Asian Games, ”Shanbag said.
Chidambaram said the Europeans conditioned Indians to have a natural fear of the sea during their rule despite the state and the country’s rich maritime history. “There is no age to learn to sail. More children should show up to sail, ”he said.


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