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Keysrock35

Sailing in India? (Mumbai/Chennai/Goa etc.)

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Forgive me if this has come up before - I have searched the forums and did not find anything relevant.

I'm posted in Bangalore for another 5 months - I've seen the sea but not where the boats are. Would like to get on the water while I am here, and am not afraid to travel. Can anyone advise where/how I'd have the best luck (racing, chartering a boat for an afternoon, chartering for a weekend) of getting out on the water? 

Better to try Royal Madras or Royal Bombay and talk my way into dinghy racing? Is there such a thing as joining a crew for a race here? I've seen SOME charter companies that advertise online, but wondering if one is better than another and it is unclear if they are bareboat or not? 

I already know about houseboats and pangas - I'm looking for what I'd be more used to in the USA. 

Any local intel. on how it works around here before I start calling random numbers trying to explain what I'm trying to do would be greatly appreciated. 

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After many months in India, I have answered this question to my satisfaction and am giving up on further research

For anyone else who needs this information, I will document what I've learned. My travels have included the coastal cities of Goa, Mumbai, Pondicherry, Kolkata, & Chennai as well as some inland lake sailing facilities.

Sailing in India is virtually non existent. Not a seafaring culture and a lack of infrastructure make it challenging to own or access a boat. To buy a boat, one would have to import it. Import taxes run about 48%. In the last 3 years, no new-to-India boats have been registered in India.

To own a boat, one must be able to register it. There is no government bureau responsible for pleasure craft. It can be done in Mumbai, but that registration is not valid in other states.

One must also be able to keep it somewhere; there is only one public marina in the country - in Kochi. Otherwise you are on a mooring. There are no launches or ferry service and you cannot really store dinghies along shoreline. There are also limited haul out facilities or fuel docks. Fuel must be ferried to your boat in Jerry cans. If you need to haul, you are in a commercial (fishing/freighter) facility. 

There are 5 active sailing clubs, but seemingly not that active in practice.

The Royal Bombay Yacht Club is worth a visit for any sailor. Extremely welcoming (Although call ahead to ensure you have reciprocity - reciprocal clubs are hand written in a non-alphabetical tome). A night of drinking and eating for 2 came out to $770 INR.  You can also rent a harbor facing room for 5,000 INR. Quite a deal for that part of town. The clubhouse is an impressive building and like any club, it's all about the bartenders who make you feel welcome. Keelboat racing is from October through may. There is also a junior program (I counted about 8 optis, 3 lasers, a 420, a 29er, as well as some bizarre crafts that looked similar to a flying Scot.) Dress code is slacks and collared shirt. 

The Royal Madras Yacht Club may be the more active sailing club in India, but there is no bar or restaurant facility. It is all about the sailing (dinghies and J-80s on Sundays year round). But the club lies on military land adjacent the port and non-indian nationals are not permitted without special immigration papers. So don't waste your time. There is no publicly accessible vista of the harbor in the city, so I can't even tell you what kind of floating stock is out there (And trust me, I tried). There is also the Tamil Nadu sailing association where you can charter boats (J24 up to a Junneau 40 something) but this is also only accessible through the port and not open to foreigners. 

Goa has limited boats available for charter, however in speaking to the company this is only during non monsoon. Quite frankly the harbor/river entrance appeared pretty sporting and there are no aids to navigation. Good luck. There is no racing or club to speak of. 

The inland lakes I visited had boats but they did not look like they had been rigged in many years. Most were affiliated with military establishments and entry was not possible. 

In conclusion, this ain't a place for sailors and it explains why there have not been any participants in the Olympics since 2008.

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I feel bad for you being stuck there, but thanks for the report. I’m going sailing today and I’ll keep you in mind!

FCC4448A-6EA9-41D1-8A3B-E4E5CA21AD5A.jpeg

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That's some good info Keys. So, not much happening in India. Pity, it's a great destination.

I grew up in Karachi, my dad was a member of the Karachi Yacht Club. The biggest boats around were a couple of Pakistani Navy owned Solings. My dad, a keen bigger boat sailor, somehow he managed to finagle borrowing/chartering one of these boats from the Pak Navy.

Fixed it up and took her out of Karachi Harbour on a day sail.

We got straffed with machine gun fire, warning shots, no hits... but fuck!!

The boat got laid up and given back to the Navy after that.

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24 minutes ago, charisma94 said:

That's some good info Keys. So, not much happening in India. Pity, it's a great destination.

I grew up in Karachi, my dad was a member of the Karachi Yacht Club. The biggest boats around were a couple of Pakistani Navy owned Solings. My dad, a keen bigger boat sailor, somehow he managed to finagle borrowing/chartering one of these boats from the Pak Navy.

Fixed it up and took her out of Karachi Harbour on a day sail.

We got straffed with machine gun fire, warning shots, no hits... but fuck!!

The boat got laid up and given back to the Navy after that.

Scary shit. I forgot to mention one other detail I learned, sailing (or motoring) at night is not permitted under threat of what you describe above. Big deterrant for even the super rich who might wish to entertain by sunset.

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It makes me wonder why in that part of the world, so not seemingly interested in the sea, they have deck officers on just about every ship afloat? Big merchant fleet I guess?

There 's plenty of Indian Engineer's, Masters & Officers of very big ships and do a fine job. And, yes, there are others.

 

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, charisma94 said:

It makes me wonder why in that part of the world, so not seemingly interested in the sea, they have deck officers on just about every ship afloat? Big merchant fleet I guess?

There 's plenty of Indian Engineer's, Masters & Officers of very big ships and do a fine job. And, yes, there are others.

 

 

 

 

I could do some wild speculation based on my own cultural observations, but suffice it to say I find it very odd. I really think India and Yachting could go together very well.

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13 minutes ago, Keysrock35 said:

I could do some wild speculation based on my own cultural observations, but suffice it to say I find it very odd. I really think India and Yachting could go together very well.

I found they were almost sketchy ship handlers... Most never had a feel for the elements.... But the routines, procedures, documentation & paperwork, i's & t's crossed, boy was that up to scratch!

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That crossing and dotting seem to be vestiges of the British Colonial Times.

The rest sounds pure Indian

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On 8/17/2019 at 5:46 AM, Keysrock35 said:

After many months in India, I have answered this question to my satisfaction and am giving up on further research

……...

In conclusion, this ain't a place for sailors and it explains why there have not been any participants in the Olympics since 2008.

Thanks for the time and insight.  I get to India about 1x/year for 2-3 weeks at a time on business.  Most of time is taken up visiting customers, and last time over I think I was on about 10 flights, 5 or 6 trains, several auto trips, and the periodic rickshaw ride.  And occasional hop across the border to Bangladesh. (Once on an ancient DC-10 for the 30 minute flight to Dhaka.  The airframe, engines and systems hopefully were better taken care of than the cabin interior.  But we made it).  More miles traveled in-country than getting there, or so it seemed. 

Only been to a couple of the coastal cities, Kolkata (which is actually kind of inland from the sea), Chennai, Kakinada, Rajamundry (again, up a river from the coast).  The only place I ever saw a sailboat was on a ride out of Hyderabad (south central India, on a river, but halfway between Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea).  There was someone ghosting along on the mirror surface of a lake there.  You can sort of make out the boat in this picture.

IMG_0142.JPG

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Not India I know, but is there perhaps sailing to be had at Cox's Bazar? 

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On 8/17/2019 at 6:09 AM, charisma94 said:

That's some good info Keys. So, not much happening in India. Pity, it's a great destination.

I grew up in Karachi, my dad was a member of the Karachi Yacht Club. The biggest boats around were a couple of Pakistani Navy owned Solings. My dad, a keen bigger boat sailor, somehow he managed to finagle borrowing/chartering one of these boats from the Pak Navy.

Fixed it up and took her out of Karachi Harbour on a day sail.

We got straffed with machine gun fire, warning shots, no hits... but fuck!!

The boat got laid up and given back to the Navy after that.

I am reading along, a great sounding story of sailing with Dad, boat prep and all, brings back fond memories,  then I get to STRAFED WITH MACHINE GUN FIRE! ....ya that'll put a damper on the ol' sailing enthusiasm right there!

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On 8/17/2019 at 10:37 AM, VWAP said:

Good find. I would start with the clubs listed. Its been about 5 years since I was last there but in both Mumbai and Goa I was always able to find some Laser sailing and borrow a boat to join. 

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Keysrock34,

Spent 7 weeks in Hyderabad - found some dingy sailing here:

theyachtclub.in  Yacht Club of Hyderabad

Optis, Lazers and Omegas with Spinnaker. 

Took some effort but you can book an "Excursion" sail and then request to take the tiller - the captian, a 16 year old national Lazer champ,  had no issues handing over the tiller...

 They won't rent outright unless you sign up for the sailing school...

Warning - the lake is filthy,  had to stop several times to clear plastic bags from the centerboard and rudder.  but there is a Statue of Buddha in the center of the lake, so there's that...

 Steve

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