Kids Of Kerala Are Certified!

A few weeks ago I received an invite to attend the Kerala Watersports Sailing Organisation Certificate Awards. I’d already met Captain Jolly Thomas who is the man responsible for teaching young children how to sail their little, second-hand Optimist dinghies. In a country that has no real sailing heritage and with next to no funds Jolly has achieved the near-impossible by creating a small but successful sailing club for children. Set up as a charitable organisation the least I could do was attend the ceremony and maybe invite a couple of other western sailors to join me. Terry of ‘Roam II’ and Brian and Maureen of ‘Suryana’ came along to give their support.

Palm-lined roads and the beautiful Sacret Heart College behind

We were surprised to find that the club’s location was at the back of the incredible premises of the Sacred Heart College. The college had kindly allowed the sailing club to base itself on the river and even gave Jolly permission to build his own slip, allowing him to easily launch the dinghies. The river front was lined with coconut palm and between it and the college was a football pitch. By the end of the afternoon there were two football matches, a cricket match and a male dance troupe practising their moves, all on the grounds of the college. Milling around too were the tallest Indians I’ve seen, all taking part in a basket ball tournament. Sport was clearly the order of the day at Sacred Heart so Jolly had bagged the perfect location.

Upon arrival I was immediately taken out onto the water in a strange contraption Jolly uses to follow the children when sailing. Made of two surfboards stuck together with a metal framework it has an outboard on the back and makes for a fun way to cruise round the river. We got plenty of shots of the kids sailing, who all demonstrated excellent sailing skills.


Girls as well as boys are encouraged


At 5pm there was a presentation and Jose, our marina manager, made a short speech. I hadn’t realised that he was president of this organisation. Then I got a surprise when I too was asked to give a speech! I simply commented on how encouraging it was to see both boys and girls getting into sailing at such an early age and that we would be here to give them our support wherever possible. I presented one of the children with a bound copy of our sailing articles and they asked  Terry and me to sign it. Very sweet.


Me presenting one of the children a bound copy of our sailing stories

It’s great to see young children getting active and taking part in competitive sport but the real heroes are Jolly and his wife who work almost full-time for this charitable organisation. Good work.

Jose Verghese and Mrs Thomas present one of the children with their certificate


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7 Comments on “Kids Of Kerala Are Certified!”

  1. Wonderful! You must feel very good leaving with the knowledge that there is hope for some young ones in India to acquire a taste for such an exciting sport!

    I have enjoyed reading every entry you have shared and wish you both all the best wherever the winds are taking you! Looking forward to your next adventures being shared too!

    Take good care!

  2. Hi Jamie & Liz,
    Great post. Youth Sailng is especially dear to our hearts too. It’s the circle of life, isn’t it? All the Best and please let us know if you head for the California Coast! Smooth Sailing, JMcG, West Marine.

  3. dear sir this is very interesting and hopefull for our kerala people and i hope ur help for conducting a huge sailing program in kerala

  4. I’m the mother of the child (nandita) to whom u have presented your book on your expedition. Presenting the book has been a great motivation as she hasn’t stopped sharing her experience to all her friends.

    Presence of people like you who have loads of sailing experience will always be an inspiration for young sailors.

  5. I am a newcomer in this site, but know some of the regulers here,like Capt jolly, Shaji, Nitia.

    And part of a group owns a failed attempt to conduct a sailing training capsule. But while sailing around this site, I really started to believe that our group will come back strong to make it possible.

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