The four day Mumbai International Boat Show, held from 21-25 February, was a huge success with reported confirmed orders taken for over 300 boats. The dramatic growth in leisure spending fuelled by an economic boom has raised interest in leisure boating and sailing in particular. The challenge now is to rapidly create the infrastructure to support that interest. Although India has a strong marine heritage and is a leading ship building nation there are currently limited facilities for the recreational boater. Most of the facilities that exist for entry to sailing are managed by the Navy and historically have only been available to navy personnel. The meeting Chairman, Vice Admiral Sangram Singh Byce, has committed to change this and has announced plans to assist the development of the sport with a subsidy scheme for boat purchase. His vision is that sailing will become a sport for all and that India will have a participation programme to provide a strong base from which to develop.
COVENTRY met with the YAI Council during their meeting to discuss Connect to Sailing. Connect to Sailing is officially recognized by the YAI and ISAF will work with Joint Secretary General, Ajay NARANG to develop a three year plan that will be presented to the YAI Council at their next meeting in May 2007.
|Press stories on the boat show -
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The task for Connect to Sailing is to help provide know-how for the development of the sport at grass roots level and in particular to help plan and implement a training programme. Working with local sailing providers, the development of commercial sailing schools will be a key part of this plan. There are a number of strong sailing countries in Asia and Connect to Sailing will help the YAI to establish strategic partnerships.
COVENTRY also made the key note address to the Marine Industry Conference held during the boat show. Commenting on his visit he said that he was excited by the opportunity for the development of sailing in India and impressed with the enthusiasm of all those that he had met, 'The YAI has recognized the dramatic changes taking place in India and will work with ISAF Connect to Sailing to realize their ambition of a growing sport with access to all.'
Connect to Sailing also visited the training ship Jawahar, the Mumbai headquarters of the Sea Cadet Corps, a youth organization headed by ISAF International Judge Rabi AHUJA. The organization, founded by AHUJA's father in 1938, is a non-government charitable youth organization that has provided thousands of young people with the opportunity to go sailing. There are currently over 6,000 cadets between the ages of 10 and 18 under training in 15 centres. The organization is totally inclusive being non-political, non-sectarian and with no distinction of caste, creed or social background. This visit and an interview with Rabi AHUJA will be featured in a separate Connect to Sailing article
Connect to Sailing is a global initiative led by ISAF to increase participation in sailing. It is based upon grass roots activities with a focus on youth. Connect to Sailing is supported by six Sailing Industry partners: the European Confederation of Nautical Industries, Performance Sailcraft Europe, Hyde Sails Ltd, Neilson Active Holidays Ltd, Tack Tick and Ron Holland Design.