Commander Mahesh and crew win five out of five

Commander Mahesh and crew win five out of five Mumbai: India's Asian Games silver medalist Commander R Mahesh and crew made a rousing start to their campaign in the Mumbai International Match Race 2009 by winning all the five races they competed here today.

Commander Mahesh, ranked 40th in the world, said the winds were not favourable for sailing today.

"The winds were not too good today, the jury constantly had to re-schedule races and adjust the starts and course according to the shifts and moods of the winds," he said.

Mahesh and his crew was followed in second place by another Indian team led by Nitin Mongia whose boat was rammed by Korean competitor Byeong Ki Park and crew creating a hole big enough for a man to slip through.

Noting the incident, the jury gave the Korean a penalty allowing Mongia team a head start.

The Koreans managed to sail past Arjuna Awardee Mongia and his team before the Indian squad took charge of the race and won it.

"I think it was a well deserved win by us because we knew when to catch the tiny patch of breeze that ultimately saved us," said Mongia after his victory.

Five Indian teams and seven foreign outfits are taking part in the four-day event off the Chowpatty waters.

The French team, led by Francois Morvan, felt the day's competition was particularly difficult as compared to the matches they have played till today due to the scorching sun and low winds.

"We lost two races in the beginning half but then we went on to win the next three. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day, that we win all six," Morvan said.

Setting the stage for tomorrow's races, Nils Bjerkas from Sweeden sailed with an Indian crew to win his first race of the day.

The Swede, who trained with his Indian crew yesterday for the first time, opened his campaign on a winning note against India's all-girls' team led by Ayesha Lobo.

Tomorrow, 30 races are scheduled and the competitors were hoping for favourable winds to sail.

Bureau Report