The COAST GUARD Aqua Node Regatta 2015 at Mandappam – Rameshwaram. This regatta was organized by The Royal Madras Yacht Club, Indian Coast Guard & Quest Expeditions for the second year in succession in fabulous waters of the Palk Straits where the sun always shines and the wind never sleeps. Last year, the regatta saw the Optimist, Laser and Omega race in about 15-20 Knots of wind with a 15 boat fleet. This year:
THE FLEET: Consisted of Sea Birds, 420, NT, Toppers, Go Cats & Kitesurfers (for the first time in the country)
PURSUIT RACE: All boats raced on the same course (the Optimist started first, the Toppers started a few minutes later followed by the…) and the boat that was leading the fleet at the end of one hour was the winner. Pursuit numbers are a time tested and fair method of racing multiple classes on the same course.
The Aqua Node Regatta at Mandappam was run during the 21-24 May 2015 for the second consecutive year.
This year four Clubs participated and the Over All winner in the sail boat category was Master Mahesh Balachander in the Optimist. In the Kayaks, more than 60 people raced (including the "biggies" from the Quest Team and the Coast Guard) and Rajesh from the Eranakulam Sailing Club took the lead impressively to the finish pole. Congratulations !
This year, between the "shining sun" and the "honking wind" - it was a memorable event to say the least. The conditions s t r e t c h e d the organizers capabilities, nerves and equipment ! The first three days saw 25 to 32 K of wind (apparently, some flights were not allowed to land at a near by airport and the rail bridge across the Palk Straits was closed for train crossing on account of the wind ...). On the last day the Kerala and Madras folk agreed that the wind was light @20 K. . Yes, the wind gods kept the fleet really busy !
Despite the gale, the Pursuit Format of Race saw some really close finishes with the Topper once passing the Optimist to the finish line. On the next day, the boys from Kerala with Ramesh on the helm and Abara as crew almost piped the Topper at the finish line (the Go Cat mast unfortunately broke with about 5 boat lengths to the finish line).
The Sea Birds held out in the blow, the Go Cats were like wild fire (a nice picture of Rajesh at the helm with Abara on the crew just before they almost over took the Topper is attached to this mail). The crazy Kite Surfer was doing jumps like a leap frog. The main sail on the NT simply "exploded" on the gust while paining - little Nithya and larger Ayaan (crews) said they had never been so fast on a boat before. The 420 came out every day and once it crossed the reef (on a dead run), you could see the guys in the rescue say "One, two, three and before you could count 4 - the crew of the 420 were swimming. Every class of boat in the fleet capsized - the Sea Bird was NOT an exception, neither was Topper nor the Go Cat . Sailors drank copious quantities of salt water during the races and needed much coke and colored liquids (or just cold liquids in colored bottles) to re-hydrate after the sun had set.
The Commander Coast Guard Eastern Region - IG Sharma along with his graceful wife gave away the prizes. It felt safe to be in the strong and capable hands of the "Guardians of our Shores".
For those of you who came either to sail, kayak, snorkel or just ride long distance on your Harley's , it was fun to hand in with you - for those who missed this event - "You Should have Come".
More Pictures from behind Rau and Driver lens below - you can see the Go Cats make the water froth and the Sea Bird sitting on solid rock.