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Late Awati remembered

09 Dec 2018 02:37am IST

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09 Dec 2018 02:37am IST

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Capt Donde, CMDE. Sanjay D’Cunha, Kirit Maganlal, V. Adm. Sandeep Beecha, Cesar Menezes, Lt. Cdr. Vartika Joshi, Admiral Suresh Mehta, Siddharth Satardekar, Dr. Bhonsule, Dr.Kedarnath Awati, Lt. Cdr.Payal Gupta, Derrick Menezes, Lt. Cdr. Aishwarya Boddapati at the commemorative meeting to celebrate life of Late Vice Admiral Manohar Awati.

Late Vice Admiral Manohar Awati, a daunting and

highly respected Naval Officer ‘par excellence’ with his imposing moustache and beard and daunting personality cut an imposing figure at all times, passed away just a month ago at the ripe age of 92.

The Goa Yachting Association (GYA) had organised a commemorative meeting to celebrate the life of Awati recently. He was also the founding President of GYA, who formed Association in 1973, at the behest of the then Chief Minister, DayanandBandodkar.

The meeting was attended by his son KedarnathAwati from Pune, Members of the Tarini Women’s Crew, top Naval Officers from Goa, CII officials, members of the Goa Yachting Association and friends.

In 1973, Bandodkar, decided that Goa needed to have state level sports Associations in all possible sports, so that sports could be developed in a proper and organized manner in the State.

Since Yachting/sailing was basically an unknown sport amongst the civilians in Goa, Babodkar contacted Commodore Awati, who back then was the Officer in charge of Naval command in Goa, and asked him help form the Goa Yachting Association to promote sailing amongst civilians in Goa.

Commodore Awati immediately agreed, and called a group of civilians comprising of Cesar Menezes, Anil Madgavkar, Damodar Bhounsule, Professor Menezes and others, who were already involved in sailing and water sports, for a meeting to form the Association.

He informed all the members present, that this would be purely an Association for promotion of Yachting amongst the civilians in Goa, and the navy would give all its support to promote the sport in the State.

Since none of the Civilians had any experience with running a state Association, they unanimously elected Commodore Awati to be the President, with all other posts held by civilians.

Commodore Awati immediately offered all the facilities of the naval sailing club to the civilians and started a sailing training programme for civilians. Thus the sport of sailing was born in Goa.

Commodore Awati 6 months later had prospects of a promotion and for that he had to do Sea Duty so he became Captain of INS Mysore to resolve the mutiny on the vessel. After 2-3 years, he became Rear Admiral.

Admiral Awati was a man of steely resolve, who refused to bow down to anybody and retired as the Deputy Chief of the Navy.

Despite his retirement, Admiral Awati, continued his love for sailing and promoted Ocean Sailing with a gusto. He got the Navy to start an Ocean sailing programme, and made them build an Ocean going yacht. His persistence with the Ocean sailing programme soon bore fruit with Cdr.Donde becoming the first Indian to solo circumnavigate the world in Yacht “Mhadei’, taking only a few stops along the way.

Admiral Awati wanted a solo circumnavigation, without any stops, and this was soon achieved by Cdr.AbhilashTomy. Admiral Awati was still not satisfied, and soon asked for a women’s team to take on a circumnavigation. This daunting task was also soon achieved in 2017 by a team of women naval officers on yacht ‘Tarini’.

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