The Navi Mumbai Yacht club at CBD Belapur was inaugurated by state minister Ganesh Naik on Wednesday. The project is the brainchild of his son MLA Sandeep Naik.
The first of its kind, the sailing club in the city will help provide an opportunity to sailing enthusiasts who currently have to go either to the Gateway of India or Pune. The children at the inauguration sailed near the Ulwe creek in the small sailing boats and gave demonstrations as to how to recoup in case the boat capsized.
"The sport will help boost the confidence of kids. Earlier the fishermen in the region went out in the sea and could face any eventuality. Now the kids have no idea how to do it," said Naik.
"This club will not just prepare them to be physically stronger but also provide a platform for the talent in the region and prepare them for competing at higher levels, even the Olympics. This is a great project by Sandeep."
Sandeep said: "Ganesh Naik has instructed us to provide opportunities for the students of the region to hone their skills in all sports. Sailing has not been tapped as yet in the region and hence we have initiated it."
"We have planned a Mumbai Yacht Club, Thane Yacht Club and Raigad Yacht club as well. We want to ensure that kids of all regions benefit from the facility," Sandeep added.
"Not many start this project as you need several coaches and huge infrastructure. But we are providing it so that kids who cannot afford the sport but have the talent can get a platform," said Naik.
The coaches appointed by the club include former Indian Olympic sailor Malav Shroff. "This is a great opportunity for kids to learn sailing. Right now they have to travel far distances and do not have a regular training space," said Shroff.
Ganesh Naik has announced that the local fishermen too will be trained at the club and the club will give free life jackets to all of them.