Army helps to popularize yacht sailing among students in Uttarakhand

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Nainital, Oct13 : Ace yachtsmen of the Army in collaboration with Uttarakhand's Nainital Yacht Club have imparted basics of sailing in a yacht to school children in a bid to promote this adventure sport.

The yacht training is taking place in Naini Lake, situated at an altitude of 2000 feet above sea level.

The lake is a major tourist attraction and the Nainital Boat House located at the edge of the lake manages yachting and actively promotes the sport including other water sports such as canoeing and parasailing.

Officials believe that it is important to keep the adventure sport alive among the youngsters.

Organisers feel that such events will boost tourism in Nainital as well as capture the youths' interest in the sport.

"The aim is to preserve the culture of sailing in Nainital that is losing touch since the past few years. We thought in order to take this tradition ahead, students should be trained and the Army has extended support to keep the tradition alive," said Ravish Nanda, Commander, Yacht Club, Nainital.

The sparkling lake bound by hills is abuzz with activities and joyful shrieks of the students who have gathered to undergo the training.

Ravindu, one such student who is a part of the training camp and a resident of Nainital said that he has heard from his elders that the sport was common in earlier times and wants to be a part of the mission to take the tradition ahead.

"This training would prove to be very beneficial to us. It is one such sport that we want to be associated with. It is really good that they are teaching us these things," said Ravindu, a student.

Army personnel feel that the youngsters are no longer enthusiastic about yachting and to promote the sport the youth need to be involved.

Sukhbir Singh who is the in-charge of the Army Yacht Training Group said that one yachting boat costs Rs 2, 50, 000 and not everyone can afford it, therefore, the training is being provided free of cost.

"We are encouraging them because when they grow up and take part in these games at the national level at the Olympics and the Asiad games, they will make the country proud. Not everybody gets a chance to take part in such a game," said Singh.

At the end of the training, the organisers plan to have an inter-school competition and give away prizes to encourage the students.

Yacht sailing on the Naini lake dates back to 1880 and the Nainital Yacht Club was formed in 1910.

Though till 1970 yachting was the exclusive privilege of the club members only, today, in an attempt to popularize the sport, even non-members and tourists can go yachting and sailing. By Ashish Goel

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