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Yachting: The new sunrise sport in India

Last updated on: November 7, 2011 15:22 IST

Yachting: The new sunrise sport in India

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Kavitha Srinivasa

Yachting, once a blue-blooded pastime, is the new sunrise sport among corporates.

Aashim Mongia, managing director, West Coast Marine Yacht Services, which promotes fractional ownership options through trade and boat shows, says, "The number of leisure boats registered with the Mumbai authorities has risen from 100 vessels in 2004 to 287 in 2010, representing a 14 per cent compounded annual growth rate."

The size of the yachting business in India remains a drop in the ocean. "World over the cruising industry has grown consistently. Its compounded annual growth rate is 6.5-7 per cent. In India, cruising is growing 8-10 per cent year-on-year (albeit on a much smaller base) for the three-four years. It can improve with better infrastructure," said Royal Caribbean Cruise India representative Gautam Chadha.

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Photographs: Jacqueline Wong/Reuters
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Around 75,000 Indians cruise abroad annually because of insufficient berthing facilities, proper port base and tax policies.

"Sailing isn't necessarily an expensive sport," explains Neelesh Hundekari, principal and head, luxury and lifestyle practice, AT Kearney.

"Sailing stops during monsoon because of bad weather. Though small boats are confined to the Mumbai-Alibaug or the Mumbai-Goa routes, big boats can do a Mumbai-Dubai route."

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Image: A Viking Sports fish yacht.

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Power-yachts and speedboats attract the largest chunk of clients. Yacht Charters India encourages yacht owners to charter these marine toys.

"These could be motor yachts, sailing yachts and speed boats. They include Princess and Ferretti, motor yachts from Italy, Jeanneau, sailing yacht from France and Sea Ray, speed boats from America," said Khojesteh Kathawala, general manager, Yacht Charters India.

Corporate guests can sail to Goa and Cochin. International yacht charters to Greece and Caribbean are increasing.

"Water sports are becoming popular. Mandwa (Alibaug), approximately nine nautical miles from the Gateway of India, is an emerging water sports destination," adds Kathawala.

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Image: Zenith 120
Photographs: Courtesy, Yacht Charters India
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In the new season, Yacht Charters India will bring in two sailing yachts of around 40 feet.

"When clients purchase a yacht, they visit our shipyard in Europe to experience the yachts first-hand, before customising their yacht," says Malav Shroff, managing director & CEO, Ocean Blue.

The company has risen above the crest after partnering with travel agencies and event managers. Last year it clocked Rs 50 crore (Rs 500 million) in sales, which is expected to double this year.

"You can buy a small speedboat for Rs 20 lakh, but there is no limit on the upper end, which can go all the way up to Rs 400 crore (Rs 4 billion)," says Hundekari. Hourly rentals of marine boats range from Rs 5,000 to Rs 4.5 lakh.

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Photographs: Carlos Barria/Reuters
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Model Dipannita Sharma and husband Dilsher Singh Atwal sensed the potential of the high seas and turned yacht entrepreneurs.

Shazma, their 70-foot Arabian sailing dhow, navigates the Indian coastline. 

"We have various party packages including corporate parties. We plan to extend the luxury yacht experience for fashion and charity events," adds Atwal.


Image: Shazma, the 70-foot Arabian sailing dhow

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