On 10th April 1999, Ayaz Shaikh finished 10th in the Cadet Class World Sailing Championship at Hungary in a strong fleet of 103 boats. Names like Javier Conte, Pipa Wilson, and many other top ranked sailors in the world 470 fleet today were nowhere close to him in the cadet years. Conte went on to become the 470 European Champion and Pipa Wilson is now an Olympic Gold medalist and World Champion.

But the graph of Ayaz’s sailing performance after his youth years seems to have gone vertically downwards. “There is no structure for competitive sailing in India after the youth years. The system at present is a terrible failure. Performing at international level is not easy. 470 class features the most competitive fleet in the world. One has to continuously train and compete in European events to bring consistency in results” says Ayaz, currently ranked No.1 in the Enterprise class rankings.


sailed by Indian 470 sailors

number of events by a sailor campaigning for Olympics


No events



No events



1 (Rolex Miami Olympic classes regatta)



2 (Sail the gulf Regatta, Qatar

470 World Championships, Netherlands)


Total events



From the above figures, What do you think Indians are preparing for? , questions Ayaz.

At the National Games in 2002, immediately after he graduated from youth to the open fleet, he dethroned the reigning 420 World Champion and India’s best 470 Olympian, Farokh Tarapore in the 420 class. No doubt he is talented and has the potential to perform at international level.

Currently a part of Indian Army’s Mission for Olympic gold, Ayaz says, ‘there is no doubt Army Yachting Node is the best sailing club in the country. But AYN must keep their top ranked sailors in each class on the European circuits to achieve Olympic success”.

We have a set of very talented 470 sailors in India, but we lack exposure and support, he signs off.

One Response

  1. Having worked with elite olympic and paralympic sailing for over 12 years with Team GBR as their physio- I know that you need a strong leadership and team structure to provide coaching, financial, technical and sports medicine support for a team to be successful. This is in addition to inexhaustive dedication on the part of the sailors and their supporters. It is not an easy road, but backing to compete in international regattas and have world class coaching is essential in order to be able to progess to the podium. I wish you good luck in reaching your goals.

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