How does one go about overshadowing sailors of the caliber of Ayaz Shaikh, Mahesh Ramachandran and Nitin Mongia?
Simple. You do a Atool Sinha.
You push yourself and your opponent to both your limits, and then say, “You know what, forget this.” You then go on to show what appears to be unlimited power, grit and determination.
Is that possible? It certainly shouldn’t be.
Firstly, that Atool Sinha seemed to have enough in reserve to take on any of his three main rivals even if he needed a week’s rest and they were as fresh as daisies.
Secondly, that the definition of ‘down and out’ with regards to Sinha was obsolete.
Thirdly, and perhaps most poignantly, his sailing form was at a level that none of Ayaz, Mahesh or Nitin could depend upon themselves to reach with regularity against Sinha.
The INWTC Match Cup III was simply a stark reminder of those “facts.”
While none of his top three rivals took part in the event, Sinha faced some stiff competition from Asian Games Silver medalist Sanjeev Chauhan.
Chauhan began the championship in much his usual way—all guns blazing, all systems running, full steam ahead. He broke Sinha early to take the top spot in the round robin.
Chauhan chose to race Ayesha Lobo in the semi finals, while Sinha raced Shahid Bashir. The semi finals were a clean sweep for Sinha and Chauhan who defeated their opponents 2-0.
In the first match of the finals, Atool managed to have an even start with Chauhan. A tacking match ensued between both the boats up to the windward mark, with Chauhan in lead by about 2 boat lengths. On the downwind leg Atool established a windward overlap but Chauhan luffed him up, gybed and rounded the mark just ahead of Atool. With Atool just at the stern of Chauhan, an interesting Match was on! The final rounding of the windward mark once again saw Chauhan in lead with Atool trailing behind a boat length with a penalty he got during pre start. With both the boats sailing their downwind leg on a port gybe, Atool went past Chauhan’s windward. He then gybed onto starboard, forced Chauhan to gybe and luffed Chauhan and neutralize his penalty and gave Chauhan an immediate penalty, just a few boat lengths away from the finish and went onto win a very exciting first race. Interestingly, the Race committed reported that both boats had rounded the pin mark and not the leeward mark in their rush of trying to get ahead of each another. The umpire then disqualified both boats and the scores stood at 0-0 all.
The second match was very interesting. Atool took control of the entire pre start and finally threw Chauhan into the ‘Coffins Corner” with about 30 seconds to the start. With the ebb tide, both boats jumped the start. Sinha’s outsmarted Chauhan while dipping the line and left Chauhan behind by about 5 boat lengths. From there, he left no scope for Chauhan to get back into the match.
With superior straight line boat speed, tacking and some mind blowing moves and tacticts, Sinha left no stone unturned. He won the third and the final-deciding fourth match of the event comfortably, to take home the INWTC Match Cup III title.