Mumbai: Have you ever felt like you’re dreaming and then wake up and realize it wasn’t actually a dream? That is how it felt when Ayaz Shaikh beat Ramachandran Mahesh 3 – 1 in the finals.
Ayaz made history by beating World No.40 R Mahesh in the YAI National Squad Match Racing selection trials 2011 which concluded on Tuesday. With this victory Ayaz has booked himself a place in the ISAF Nations Cup Regional Qualifiers (Asia).
After 3 matches Ayaz was leading Mahesh 2 – 1 in the best of five finals.
Ayaz sealed the win right at the start of the fourth match when he dipped the start line much faster than Mahesh and took the lead. Both of them separated by sailing opposite tacks after the start with Ayaz sailing towards left and Mahesh towards right side of the course. Ayaz took the first major wind shift on the left and tacked onto port and crossed Mahesh by a huge lead. With the tide strongly flooding, Mahesh’s decision to sail towards the right side of the course failed terribly and allowed Ayaz to open out the lead.
Both the boats had jumped the start line by few seconds. Confusion was created for Mahesh when Race officer R Singh raised the yellow flag (representing Mahesh) a few seconds late. Mahesh filed a request for redress for this error but was rejected by the Umpires since the delay was only of about 3 -4 seconds.
“It’s not the moment to get carried away, but it is definitely good for my confidence, especially beating Mahesh in the finals so it definitely proves that we are doing the right things and we are working extremely hard and it is paying off,” Ayaz said.
Mahesh had beaten Ayaz in their two previous finals encounters in the Nationals in 2005 and 2006. Both the finals had gone down till the fifth match. Since Ayaz mainly concentrated on Olympic and Asian games dinghy events the past few years he could not find time to compete in Match racing events.
In the petit finals Nitin Mongia beat Trunal Helegaonkar 2 – 0 to finish third overall. After losing the first match, Trunal came back strong in the second match, rounding the first loop well ahead of Nitin. On the second beat he decided not to cover Nitin and sailed towards the right side of the course. Nitin took this opportunity to sail straight towards the left and came out of nowhere to cross Trunal by a huge lead.
“You can’t afford to make such mistakes when you‘re racing someone like Nitin. We should have kept him in our covers throughout the race, like we did during the first loop,” Said Suraj Singh, Spinnaker pole crew on Trunal’s team.
The top four teams in the trials have been selected in the YAI Match Racing squad for the year 2011.
The event was umpired by Chief Umpire Jos Spijkerman (NED), Cdr. Abhimanyu Patankar, Naresh Yadav and Ram Kumar Singh. Also present at the event was Lt.Cdr Farokh Tarapore (retd) (President of Match Racing Association of India), Capt. Atul Anand (Hon Sect Gen of YAI) and Lt.Gen KS Rao (retd), Chairman of YAI events committee.
INWTC (MB) proved to be fantastic hosts with activities on and off the water running like clockwork and organised with a notably friendly attitude.