Lack of consistency prevented India from making giant strides in Races 5 and 6 of the Sandpiper Enterprise World Sailing Championship underway in Goa, India sponsored by Sandpiper Beer, Tulip Star’s Bogmalo Beach Resort and Goa Shipyard.
Aashim Mongia & R Mahesh virtually snatched defeat from the jaws of victory when reigning world champions Richard Estaugh & Peter Rowley of Great Britain got past them at the finish line in Race V, overcoming a commanding lead of five boat lengths. The top Indian pair got a disappointing 11th position in Race VI. Gautam Dutta & Utpal More stood first in Race VI, but a dismal 16th in Race V.
Overall, India had a good day with one first and two seconds, but, as Indian team coach Cdr Homi Motivala said: "India obviously has great depth in her sailing team. So many different pairs have performed so well." But, he lamented, "what we lack is consistency." And it is consistency that world champion Richard Estaugh says -- even at the risk of sounding immodest -- is his main strength. It shows in his results; his worst finish is a seventh place, in Race VI today. Little surprise that he is ahead by 10 points, and Motivala is wondering whether his sailors are letting the overall first position slip away from them. Estaugh said: "Two more top-four positions in the next four races should see me through." Maybe that is something the Indians should try for too.
Mongia & Mahesh were second round the windward mark at the end of the first beat in Race V with Estaugh & Rowley hot on their tail. The two got away on the reach, leaving the rest of the fleet behind as the race progressed. Aashim & Mahesh never allowed Estaugh & Rowley to get ahead, however, establishing a commanding lead of five boat lengths in the last beat to the finish. With a couple of hundred metres left to go for the finish, they failed to cover Estaugh on a tack, resulting in his getting a lift from the wind to go past them for the finish. "Our jib sheets were getting stuck while tacking," Mahesh said, "and we failed to tack once and let him get away." Nick Craig & Claire Upton-Brown (GBR) came third, while Naresh Yadav & G L Yadav (Ind) came fourth. Shane McCarthy & Simon Cook of Ireland were fifth while Nitin Mongia & Sandeep Jain came sixth. India had another two places in the Top Ten with Dharmendar Singh & Joji Joseph coming eighth and Farokh Tarapore & P K Garg coming ninth.
In Race VI, Gautam Dutta & Utpal More (Ind) were behind Nick Craig & Claire Upton-Brown at the windward mark, but soon moved ahead and coasted to the finish with blistering speed. Another amazing performance in this race came from Dharmendar Singh & Joji Joseph, who moved from fifth place at the end of the first beat to second place, finishing second in a tight tactical finish against two strong challengers, Craig & Upton-Brown (GBR, third) and Shane McCarthy & Simon Cook (IRL, fourth). Among the outsiders who made strong showings today were Lalin Jirasinha & K D S Kumara of Sri Lanka (fifth in Race VI) and Aung Myin Thu & Sain Pyae Sone Heing of Myanmar (eighth in Race VI).
Overall Results after six races:
1 Estaugh & Rowley (GBR) - 13 points;
2 A Mongia & Mahesh (IND) - 23 points;
2 McCarthy & Cook (IRL) - 23 points;
4 Gilbert & Fry (GBR) - 24 points;
5 Dutta & More (IND) - 25 points
6 N Yadav & G Yadav (IND) - 29 points;
6 Tarapore & Garg (IND) - 29 points;
6 Craig & Upto-Brown (GBR) - 29 points;
9 N Mongia & Jain (IND) - 38 points;
10 Singh & Joseph (IND) - 42 points.
All results are provisional.