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Pragya Gupta

IWB Intern

Get On Deck For A Sea Adventure With Radhika Who Will Teach You To Sail A Yacht

  • IWB Post
  •  September 16, 2019


Along the coastline, there goes that yacht, though uncertain of the direction, it sails smoothly with the wind. How many of you have ever dreamt of being on that boat, celebrating the magnificent sunset? 

I certainly have. And, this sport isn’t just reserved for the privileged. Sirius Sports is transforming our imagination into reality.

What started in 2015 has granted the word ‘adventurous’ a new dimension. People like us, who are generally unequipped with the pleasure of owning a boat, can learn to sail it and rent it too for rejoicing events. This would have been impossible if Radhika Khurana hadn’t pursued her passion for boats, oceans, and seas.

Now let me give you a little brief so that it all goes with the wave: she is the daughter of a merchant navy captain and has worked with various multinational banks. This might be a perfect recipe for a successful entrepreneur but how many times has a dish turned out to be exactly as the cookbook suggested? Almost none. Even if she didn’t have to carve her way out of a mountain, she certainly had to push a few boulders to make a path for herself in this industry.

When given an opportunity to contact and interview Ms. Khurana, I knew what questions I had to throw, and maybe it worked.

Pragya: I am sure that your passion emanated because of your father, who was a Navy captain. Do you remember the first time you were on a boat?

Radhika: Oh, I must say that it was not a boat but a ship. In the 1970s captains were allowed to invite their children and wife onboard, so I was just six months old when I was on the ship for the first time. I celebrated my first birthday on a ship midst some ocean surrounding Australia and yes I exactly don’t remember everything, but my relatives never leave an opportunity until now to remind me of the time they dropped the tanker and partied hard.

Pragya: I am assuming that you are an extremely busy person because people must be throwing their queries on you, all the time; tell me about your daily routine?

Radhika: My office is in Bombay. I reach my office at 9 in the morning, and during 11-4, I take calls, and there is a lot of explaining and answering to clients. Eighty percent of the time people call me to rent a boat to celebrate, let’s say, birthdays, anniversaries, or any other event. After 4, I go out in the water where I am generally with the clients and helping them as well as the instructors in training, so there is a lot of handholding involved. The boat comes back by 8 or 8:30. Since my office, the water, and the boats are within two kilometers of my house, it becomes easier for me to even get up early in the morning or stay late at night to meet the demands of my customers.

Sirius SportsPragya: Your all clients must be adventure-seekers?

Radhika: It is their love for outdoor sports that binds them by a single thread. A person who doesn’t love the sun or is worried about getting tan can’t enjoy this sport. Also, a general respect and love towards nature are common among them. We also see these people tagging themselves as #AdventureLover on Instagram or Facebook, and I agree that if they aren’t a little sporty, then they won’t fully appreciate the beauty of sailing.

Pragya: Are you adventurous then?

Radhika: Yes, I am, and my idea of adventure is to go on a long sailboat, maybe from Bombay to Maldives or someplace else.

Pragya: How diverse does your class look?

Radhika: We cater to four different age groups, and our primary/target age group is of 11-12 years where the kid, as well as the parent, is the most interested in inhibiting this new activity. The second is of high school graduates or the college students, the third ones are the people from middle and upper management. These people come here consciously to relax and to get away from stress. The fourth group is the one of 60 plus and is here to get a tick in front of ‘sailing a boat’ in their to-do list.

Pragya: You were working with the banks so even thinking of starting such enterprise would equate to a change in the track.

Radhika: My first job was at the Bank of America and then started a chain of my relocation because of which I traveled to places like Boston, L.A, New York, and even when I came back to India I was in Bombay. Now think what might be common in all these places? Water! And, I was a part of such clubs which promoted sailing activities. For me, it was a stress buster which gave me a little respite from that world of corporate robots.

Pragya: So, your weekends and holidays were all around the water? Right?

When my Son was 10, I used to take him out on weekends, and I felt that getting him trained for sailing was a task, even as a member so what about the people who didn’t have access to such services?

Pragya: Was it your son who prompted you to give up your job and maybe make this service accessible to all?

Radhika: It might or might not be the case, but it surely was my passion that drove me right off the edge. From 2010-2011, I was volunteering to tutor the children to sail, and I was getting to know a lot of stakeholders involved in this business, and in 2014, I met retired Navy sailors who also motivated me to start this initiative. Moreover, I loved doing it, and when I believe in a cause, I give my hundred percent to make it happen.

Pragya: What are the most beautiful memories with your son on the yacht?

Radhika: I can tell you a few. One was when we were in a competition in the backwaters of Kerala. He was in the racing boat, and I was beside him in another one, and I must say that it was a bonding experience. When the race was over, he came all worked up and told me how much he loved it and how magnificent the surroundings were. You know it isn’t exactly about ‘the’ memory that moved me or will forever be embedded; it is about the child that I raised. I trained him, and now I can see an independent young man who knows how to take charge.

Whenever we set out to sail, he always tells me not to worry, and I can see how better he is at handling the boat than I was when I was of his age.

Next, I would like to ask them to have a little faith in their ideas. Often we all waste our precious time in second guessing ourselves which shakes our confidence, and we give up.

Pragya: Coming back to Sirius Sports, did you face any problem as a woman in this male-dominant industry?

Radhika: It might sound a little surprising, but I didn’t face any problem, in fact, people were curious about my motives. I must also comment on how I have always been the minority from the very beginning of my work life.

While I worked in the banking sector, I noticed how fewer women were involved in this industry and so I didn’t bother much when I changed my track. I believe that if one keeps up with the good work, then gender stereotypes aren’t a problem. As a matter of fact, half of my clients are women, and they feel more comfortable when they interact with me, so it gives me an advantage over other competitors in my industry too.

Pragya: Even if you didn’t face extreme opposition, what would be your advice to the upcoming women entrepreneurs?

Radhika: My first and foremost advice to young women would be to arm yourself with a professional degree because it assures your academic potential.

Next, I would like to ask them to have a little faith in their ideas. Often we all waste our precious time in second guessing ourselves which shakes our confidence, and we give up.

It is also of extreme importance to surround yourself with the people who believe in you like the mentors, family members, colleagues who are always there to encourage and guide you when something goes wrong.

Pragya: You have already made this industry more accessible and now do you further aim to reach out to underprivileged people?

Radhika: I worked with this NGO named Akansha where I taught sailing to underprivileged people, and I felt that these kids could have really been the torch bearers of our country if given access to resources. But right now, I don’t aim to extend our services to such people since we are not self-sufficient. My sole reason behind declaring Sirius Sports as a private limited was to gain funds and have capital in the business but I’ll convert its ownership to NGO as soon as this organization gathers enough money to provide for free services.

Pragya: You have grown up with the sea and ocean so would you call them your companions? Or have they taught you any life lesson?

Radhika: Yes, ocean and sea have been an integral part of my life and they should be everyone’s companion. The reason this should be so is that it makes us realize how small and insignificant we human beings are in front of our mother nature. You should stand on the beach and see how tides come and go. As they say ‘time and tide wait for none.’ These tides too continue their journey no matter what stands in their way. This also helps me in meditating and not just me, I am sure that such environment would help anyone to dive deeper in their thoughts.

Pragya: You have been sailing for like forever now. Have you been in touch with fishermen’s families?

Radhika: Yes, yes I have been in touch with such families. I clearly remember that there was this family which had two daughters and a son and the parents were more interested in pushing their daughters to learn various types of skills including the one to sail a boat. I was surprised to discover how much people have advanced.

Pragya: On the ending note, I would really love to hear one of your craziest moments on the boat?

Radhika: Absolutely no crazy moments on the boat, please!

This article was first published on October 21, 2017.

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