RAMCHANDRAN will lead the same crew which lost in the final of the inaugural ISAF Grade 3 Dubai Match Race at the same venue in January. Since then the combination of RAMCHANDRAN, Nitin MONGIA, Sanjeev CHAUHAN, G.L.YADAV and Rajesh DHULAJI have won the ISAF Grade 3 Indian Match Racing Championship in Mumbai in February and carried off the match racing gold medal at the Asian Sailing Championships which concluded in Doha last weekend.
Boosted by those two title triumphs, the Indians have high hopes that they can outperform teams from the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, and Turkey in Dubai at the ISAF Nations Cup Asia Regional Final to win a place at the Grand Final taking place at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Ireland from 5-9 September.
'We have the same team that won the Dubai Match Race earlier this year,' said RAMCHANDRAN, who overcame some difficult moments on his previous visit to Dubai. 'The other guys have been kind not to drop me as their helm in spite of all the mistakes I made in Dubai in January. We have now been match racing pretty continuously for the past two months and are aiming to do well in the Nations Cup Regional Final.
'The teams we're up against are pretty good and we're expecting some close racing for sure, but we are confident about doing well as we have gelled together as a crew now.'
Next week's qualifying round at Dubai International Marine Club will be followed by other qualifiers in Finland, Portugal, Slovenia, Great Britain, Brazil, the US Virgin Islands and New Zealand as teams from around the world battle for a place in the Grand Final.
Following an opening ceremony at Dubai International Marne Club next Monday, teams will compete in a daily round robin series of match races leading to the final on Sunday week, and enthusiasts can follow the event by visiting - www.dimc-uae.com/sailing/isaf.
The Indians will also be using the first of eight ISAF Nations Cup Regional Finals taking place worldwide over the next four months as part of their build up to the Asian Games in Doha in December.
They are building a reputation as an extremely competent force in match racing by moulding an efficient team from a collection of highly experienced individual sailors.
The Indians' performance in reaching the final of the Dubai Match Race in January catapulted skipper RAMCHANDRAN from 203 to 110 in the ISAF World Match Racing Rankings, and in the latest release of the Rankings on 28 March he became his country's first ever top 100 ranked match racer.
MONGIA was OK Dingy World Champion in 2003, won bronze and silver medals at the Asian Match Racing Championships in 1993 and 1995 and finished runner up in the Essen Euro Cup in 1996.
RAMCHANDRAN was runner up in the 1999 Enterprise World Championship while YADAV won an Enterprise bronze medal in the in 2001 World Championship and CHAUHAN and DHULAJI are among the top 420 sailors in India.