Restless in Mumbai? Go sailing
You don’t have to leave Mumbai to get away from the hectic pace of the city. All you need to do is get on to a sailboat at the Gateway of India to enjoy a soft ocean breeze, the sound of waves, unrivalled views of the city skyline, and a magnificent sunset.
Depending on individual appetites for activity and adventure, you can either opt for a leisurely day out on the Arabian Sea, enjoying the high life without spending a bomb, or sign up for lessons to learn to sail. Either way, not only is sailing a great way to de-stress when a longer holiday is not possible, it’s also a convenient and environment-friendly way to do so, as most club boats don’t have motors.
Most sails in Mumbai are about 2 hours long, and sessions are available in the morning, afternoon and evening from November-February, and during the afternoon and evening in October, as well as from February-May. During the monsoon—May-October—sailing stops completely.
Enjoy a leisurely ride
Renting a sailboat for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, proposals or Valentine’s Day is a good way to do something unique. You can charter a small intimate sailboat for your loved one or a bigger yacht for a party with friends and family.
Chartering a sailboat is easier and less expensive than most people think. Two-hour rentals start from Rs4,000 for a small boat that can accommodate up to six people, and go up to Rs15,000 for larger boats, on which 15 can travel comfortably.
All club boats are equipped with life jackets and the larger boats also have a cabin with a small toilet. The latter might be better for those who tend to get seasick. Guests can take food and beverages (barring alcohol) on board.
There are numerous options to charter a sailboat in Mumbai. Based on my experience of their boats and services, I recommend Boat Booking India (Boatbookingindia.com) and Orca Sail (Orcasail.com).
Take it up a notch
To learning sailing, sign up at one of Mumbai’s three main sailing clubs. These are the Colaba Sailing Club, the Bombay Sailing Association, and the Royal Bombay Yacht Club. Once you’re a member, you can rent a sailboat at a minimal cost, or even free; go sailing as often as you like; and take a few friends each time.
The Colaba Sailing Club (Colabasailingclub.com) is the most economical, with a one-time fee of Rs65,000-70,000. The Bombay Sailing Association (www.bom baysailing.com) takes a one-time fee of approximately Rs5 lakh, while the Royal Bombay Yacht Club (www.rbyc.co.in) is the most expensive, with a one-time fee of Rs25 lakh.
You don’t have to know how to sail to join a sailing club, as all club sailboats come with a boatman. However, if you want to learn, you can sign up for lessons. It usually takes about 10 lessons to learn the basics. Depending on the sailing school you choose, 10 lessons can cost Rs15,000-40,000. To learn, I recommend Cyrus Heerjee, co-founder of Fair Winds Sailing School (Fairwindssailingschool.in), who has over 40 years of sailing experience, during which he has trained more than 500 sailors. Other sailing schools include the Mumbai Sailing Club (Mumbaisailingclub.com) and Aquasail (Aquasailindia.com).
To participate in sailboat races or sail a club sailboat without a boatman, you will need to take the Helmsman Test, which would be administered by your sailing club.
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