INTRODUCTION: Thousands of people thronged the main beach at Madras, in India this week for a unique catamaran race.
GV/SV Catamarans being prepared on beach as crowd watch (3 shots)
SV/GV Large crowd watches catamaran pushed into surf (2 shots)
GV Boats pushed into surf
LV Crowd watches as starter's gun sounds and many boats with sails set head into shore (3 shots)
TV Leading boat reaches beach in full sail and crew members run up beach (2 shots)
LV & SV Other boats arriving at beach and cheered on by supporters (3 shots)
CU & TV Winning team leader holding Number One flag aloft as he walks up beach towards winner's platform (2 shots)
CU Officials holding winners trophy
Background: INTRODUCTION: Thousands of people thronged the main beach at Madras, in India this week for a unique catamaran race. The craft used for the race were mostly primitive wooden vessels hand-made by the local Tamil fishermen who also crewed them. The event, held on Sunday (16 August), had been organised as part of a regatta mark the Madras Harbour Centenary.
The term Catamaran comes from the Tamil word, Kettumaran, literally meaning logs of wood tied together, and some of the craft in the race were not much more than that. However, the local fishermen are very experienced at sailing them. Catamarans are the principal fishing boats of the area and on a good fishing day it is estimated more than 100,000 will ply along the 500 kilometre stretch of coast in the Bay of Bengal.
Before the race could start there was the difficult task of getting the boats out to sea.
After the starting pistol sounded the crews raised the single sails of the 100 catamarans participating in the race, and beat hard to round a flagship marker before racing one kilometre back to shore.
Some boats turned turtle after only a short distance but the determined Tamil fishermen simply righted their craft and carried on. In full said the winner came in well ahead of its rivals.
A number of experienced foreign sailors watching the race were full of praise for the sailing skill of the fishermen as they skimmed back through the choppy surf to the finishing line. After lowering their sails they had to beach their craft and run to the finish.
There was a lavish trophy for the winner and prizes for twelve placegetters. The event was considered such a success that the organisers decided it should in future be held annually.