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Vir’s Sailing Saga

I started my sailing career at the age of 8 when I competed in my very first Regatta, which was held at Mumbai. I was sailing in the B Fleet along with a bunch of other kids who are at present my biggest competition. It was at the end of those Nationals that people recognized me as someone with enough talent to move forwards in the sport of sailing.

Soon after I was going from event to event, improving as I went along. My hard work had paid of in Goa (2008) where I received my first medal and trophy for 3rd place overall. I then started coaching under Marek, based in Hong Kong. It was then that I went for my first international Regatta in Malaysia. It was also my first time, I was sailing with a fleet of boats that exceeded 150 entries. Soon after I was selected to be on the National Squad of India where I sailed and trained with a group of other people who had also shown talent at the selection trials.

A few months later (in 2010) I participated in the Nationals Pune, where I received the Bronze medal. The next year, I was sailing at Qatar (Doha) where I finished 10 overall, and with a group of three other Indians, we won the silver medal in the team-racing event. We were beaten by team Norway in the finals. July 2011, I took part in the inland Nationals in Hyderabad, where we battled very strong winds. By this time my ability to handle high wind conditions had improved. I was doing very well in the Nationals up until the last day where a fatal mistake made me drop and finish with the silver medal.

The year 2012 brought about a change with it, having outgrown the Optimist boat, it was decided that I should shift up a notch to a boat called the Laser. This boat is bigger, faster and therefore more challenging it was more to my liking. I sailed the National Squad Selections in January in Chennai and with a lot of hard work I won the gold! It was a great experience and I wanted to pursue my future sailing in this boat. I then went to various training camps with my coach to boost my skill levels in that particular boat.

My next event was in Malaysia where I tried my best but finished 11th overall. I improved my physical fitness and training, and was prepared for the World Championships which were to be held in Argentina. After the first two days of sailing, I was positioned 10th overall!! But there were more races to come. I kept on sailing my hardest but with wind speeds picking up to nearly 60 kilometers an hour, I was struggling. After 2 more days I was told that I had qualified for the Gold Fleet, after which I went on to finish the championship 33rd overall and 7th in the under 16 category. I was the youngest competitor in the Gold fleet. During the summer holidays I once again went to Malaysia for the Malaysian Nationals and after an intense week of sailing finished 2nd overall. It was a great thrill to do well at an international regatta.

I plan to attend the Laser Nationals which will be held in Hyderabad in July and the European Championships which will be held in Austria in August. My aim is to train very hard and do well at the next World Championships!

Vir Menon