It had all the makings of a perfect day. A spectacular Goan sunrise bobbing gently rising above the horizon, the mighty Arabian Sea and her majestic waters a slate of calm ash grey blues, fresh waves of breeze ebbing and falling at will…  For one with jelly knees like me, the ocean has always been a source of awe, respect, fear, and retribution. It is unforgiving, even as it is life giving. And yet, so many tales of adventure and poetry by the lovesick have been dedicated to her heaving waters enveloped around the Planet like a warm blanket. To the adventure seeker, the perfect mate to challenge, rest, and play along.

As the Sun rose on January 20th to greet the day, and the tide rushed in to meet the shore, 40 dashing CEOs from across India in their sailor shorts, racer shades, and croc slip-ons stepped out onto the lawns of the Grand Hyatt Goa, ready to meet each other on an arena beyond boardrooms. Coming into Goa from across the country to participate at the Aquasail and AXIS BANK  2ND CEO CUP REGATTA SERIES in Goa, the Goan weather was all sunny smiles and best behaviour. The game was on!

Cutting across formal pleasantries and an ice-breaker CEO Conclave `Winds of Change,’ earlier in the day to meet and acquaint with each other’s brand visions, Bambolim Bay was a set straight out of an action movie scene. Fluorescent masts flapping high on boats against fringed palm trees, sea kayaks, laser picos, windsurfers and shiny surf boards waiting out in anticipation for beginners and pros, the conventional and the new world, adults and kids to hit the waters. Some with tepidity, others with vengeance, racing to compete for a beautiful trophy. As the Sun hit high mast, the bay was a picturesque postcard of colour, competition and happy laughing faces.

The highlight of the day undoubtedly were the ten teams competing for the trophy, with Crazee Carnival winning under the Silver Fleet, and Panjm Pirates under the Gold Fleet category. For the uninitiated, the Club Vistara Sailing Clinic also created a special edition for kids, spouses and invited guests who wanted to learn sailing or surfing with fun activities curated to create an exposure to the outdoors. Takers were many, giving participants a Certificate of Participation as they picked up a hobby sure to evolve for a lifetime.

Managing Director-Founder Aquasail, Mr Shakeel Kudrolli

Managing Director-Founder, Aquasail, Mr Shakeel Kudrolli, a corporate lawyer by profession and India’s champion yachtsman who won India’s first gold on international waters, elaborated his vision at a media interaction sharing his personal ambition to popularise the adventure leisure sport in India. To bring world class sailing to India has always been my dream and hence we are delighted to pioneer and introduce world class Corporate Sailing In India.” Shakeel, whose passion and vision is to create a vibrant sailing community in the country further added, “We hope to evangelise the adventure of sailing as a leisure sport and hope to inspire more enthusiasts to come onboard and support position India as a top notch sailing destination in the world. We hope as sailing gains popularity, we will have more people learning to sail.” Prior to the event, Aquasail also conducted certified courses to support teach competing participants how to race in a sports format.

  Ushering a unique discerning concept called `Extraordinary Weekends ‘ towards creating an upscale, experiential, exclusive relationship for their clients, EVP Mr Sangram Singh, Axis Bank shared  his own brand’s association with the concept of sailing, the CEO Cup being one of the favoured sporting activity.Since we believe in offering unique and differentiated experiences as part of the extraordinary weekends platform, the Aquasail Axis Bank CEO Cup is part of an exciting series of C Suite sailing experiences curated for our valued customer. Today all brands are about experiences,” Mr Singh shared.

Director Co-Founder Aquasail, Zia Hajeebhoy

Meanwhile, woman at the helm, Director-Co-Founder of Aquasail, Zia Hajeebhoy, former corporate strategist and now full time ardent sailor passionate about growing the leisure boating industry in the country, is a force of nature by her own steam. Nurturing the Aquasail Yachting Academy (AYA) and Aquasail Youth Sailing Foundation (AYSF) in Goa and Mumbai, Zia has used much of her corporate experience and knowledge of consumer behaviour to curate tailor made products for  leisure and corporate sectors using sailing as a sporting activity. “Goa has the best coastline and weather conditions suited for sailing as a leisure-adventure sport. It makes Goa the ideal global destination to encourage quality tourism. Sailing is also an experiential and a life-skill that grows on you with time, it is therefore our collective endeavour to promote and grow a strong sailing community among locals as well,” Zia shared. Spearheading a vision to integrate sailing into school and youth programs as a medium of creativity and expression, Zia and Shakeel also host children coaching camps  (Age 7 and above) acquainting kids with the basics of sailing or windsurfing with hands on instructors who introduce kids to concepts such as wind, tide, how to boat moves, land and sea breeze, rigging, safety, capsizing drills and seamanship skills. Turns out, it is quite a hit with parents and their children.

So as the day winded down to a gorgeous sunset and the bay side action moved from shore to the indoors Strike Casino, I was fully convinced that there ain’t no exhilarating experience as giving into the elements and letting the sea teach you a few lessons on serenity, harmony and balance. Now to find my sea legs. For the daredevils, yes, how to break that wave and stay on top of your game. See you Goa then.

For Sailing Queries Contact: Aquasail Centre, Grand Hyatt Goa, Bambolim-Goa: 0832-2458875 Mumbai: 022-43600106. WEBSITE: 


Ethel da Costa
Fashion & Lifestyle Journalist, Founder-CEO, Think Geek Media

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