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When rough weather flipped BookMyShow CEO's boat during racing regatta event in UK

The umpires hauled Ashish Hemrajani back to safety.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 14, 2019, 10.43 AM IST
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BCCL
​Ashish Hemrajani ​denied feeling panic or deep fear when he was thrown in the water. ​
Ashish Hemrajani denied feeling panic or deep fear when he was thrown in the water.
As the CEO of a successful company, people would love to be in Ashish Hemrajani’s boat. But not when he is sailing.

A few weeks ago, the BookMyShow boss and avid sailor spent nearly two long minutes in chilly waters in Cowes, UK, after a 35-knot wind upended his boat. Umpires hauled him back to safety.

“It was a global team racing regatta event in the Isle of Wight. We were a team from the Royal Bombay Yacht Club (RBYC),” Hemrajani told ETPanache during a basketball event in Mumbai. “We had crazy gusting winds of about 35 knots and a yellow weather warning. We are used to warm weather sailing here, in shorts and T-shirt. There you had three layers and then rain gear. What an experience.”

In the deep end
Hemrajani shrugged off the short-yet-potentially-dangerous spill in the ocean. “I went man over board in one of the races,” said the salt and pepper 44-year-old. “There was a big gust and the boat flipped. I went over and then I was fished out by the umpires. If you stay long you can get hypothermia, but under two minutes they pulled me out. We are used to the water. It’s part of the sport.”

A major injury was averted by the former advertising professional. But he was battered by the rough and tumble of the sport, not to mention the winches on the boat.

“The winches keep hitting you, so the entire backside and body is bruised,” Hemrajani recalled at a central Mumbai luxury hotel, a more hospitable environment than a hostile sea.

He denied feeling panic or deep fear when he was thrown in the water. “No, no, no. Not at all,” Hemrajani said. “This is what we do. We love it. We love the sport. We do this every Saturday.”

The RBYC team has decided to train better for next year’s regatta.

“For sure we should have acclimatised better,” Hemrajani said. “We had one practice day before our first race. But now we know what to expect in cold weather racing. Next year, our target is to finish better, and send a stronger team based on the conditions. We are going to start a team racing championship on Sundays in Mumbai.”

Ground sport
When it comes to sports on terra firma, Hemrajani has fond memories of cricket and football, especially World Cup football.

“I followed cricket, obviously, growing up in India,” he said. “I’m a fan of any sport. Football, more than the leagues, I like watching countries. When there’s a World Cup, it gets really exciting.

“I usually like the South American countries. I like Spain and Italy. I like teams with big hearts, who play the game passionately, which are not as clinical necessarily. I love some of the African teams. I remember many years ago [World Cup 1990], Cameroon, when [Cyrille] Makanaky and Roger Milla were playing. Their rise from nowhere was amazing. So, every year, you start picking your favourite team based on that World Cup, based on the players and the way they are playing, you suddenly attach yourself emotionally to that team.”

Besides, you stay dry.

What Sailing To The World's Southern-Most Continent Looks Like

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The Journey Of A Lifetime

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200 people get to sail to The White Continent onboard The Great Majestic Explorer - a gorgeous ultra-luxe yacht complete with French interiors designed by Jean Philippe Nuel.
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