• Padmja Sopori

Wind in My Sails

An interview with a sailing World Champion

Ever wanted to let the wind guide you out to sea, but in a controlled and supervised environment where you'd be alone with your thoughts, but not so alone that the inevitable existential void of your own mind consumed you? Me too, so we at Hobbyist World caught up with Master Hobbyist Amish Ved at Aquamarine Sailing Foundation on Versova Beach, Mumbai so we could ask him a few questions about sailing and he could show us the ropes.

Hobbyist World: Hi, can you please introduce yourself?

Amish Ved: Hi, my name is Amish Ved, I'm an airline pilot by profession and a sailor by passion. We've set up this sailing centre, Aquamarine Sailing Foundation at Versova Beach to promote sailing in Mumbai.

HW: When and how were you introduced to sailing?

AV: I've been sailing since 1988 since I was 9 years old, I’m 41 now, so it’s been a while. I was part of a voluntary youth organisation, down in [South] Mumbai, and that's where I got introduced to sailing.

HW: How did you start sailing? Were you picked for a team?

AV: I was picked because of my size, I had a sailing partner who needed someone who could fit the weight category. I was very, very little when I was 9, and he knew my brother, and that's how I started sailing.

HW: Have you won any titles or championships?

AV: I've won a few, I’ve won a few national titles, I’ve won a world championship, I’ve coached two Asian Games medallists, and one of the top 10s in the world.

Amish with Asian Games medallists Shweta Shervegar and Varsha Gautham

Image Courtesy Amish Ved

HW: What’s your favourite thing about sailing?

AV: No traffic!

HW: What’s your favourite location you've sailed at?

AV: Versova Beach!

HW: Can you tell us something about sailing that people may not know?

AV: If you know how to sail, you don't have to worry about knowing how to swim.

HW: How would one get into sailing in India? Do you need any qualifications?

AV: There are no educational qualifications required. All you need is to come to Versova, come with a thousand bucks, and you'll get introduced to sailing.

HW: Can you tell us a little bit about the clubs one can sail at?

AV: Well, the best one is at Versova, down in Mumbai. We are a not for profit organisation, the only one in the country were you can just walk in and say “Hey, I wanna learn how to sail”, and pick up the sport.

HW: How difficult is sailing as a sport?

AV: It's actually very easy. If you wanna go out [to sea], you can take a boat out by yourself and bring it back in. It will take you about 5 sessions of 2 hours each [to learn how to sail].

HW: What’s one piece of advice you'd give to budding sailors?

AV: Don’t forget to wear sunscreen!

More About Sailing

Sailing has been around for centuries, but only was used primarily for travel and fishing, until the early 17th century, when the Dutch were said to have started racing yachts for fun. The Dutch gifted a ship to Charles II and the sport quickly became popular in England before spreading to the rest of Europe, then America, then eventually the whole world.

Up until the late 20th century, yachting was still considered a luxury sport for the rich. However, during the 1950s and 60s, availability of new materials like plywood made boat construction easier and cheaper, making the sport more accessible to everyone.

Today, sailing is enjoyed worldwide as a hobby, by millions of people, both competitively and non-competitively, on lakes and rivers to the wide open sea.

To find out more about Aquamarine Sailing Foundation, their founders, and the classes they offer, log on to their WEBSITE or call +91 89285 95267