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Cdr Dilip Donde

The first Indian sailor to circumnavigate the world solo on a sailboat

Cdr Dilip Donde
Cdr Dilip Donde
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553

How would you describe your voyage?

Now that it has puts me in an exclusive club of 175 people in the world, it was very good!

What were the difficulties you encountered?

Bad weather, the kind you never get to see in Indian waters. The boat undergoes extensive punishment and the malfunctions need to be repaired. Every activity takes three times the energy and time since you’re playing it alone.

How did you beat the isolation?

I was not isolated for the entire journey. I made four stops. It was actually the least of my worries. I was so busy doing other things.

How was the food and water managed?

I had 600 litres of fresh water in my tank and a water maker—a reverse osmosis plant. I had a gas stove on board and a pressure cooker which I used in good weather.

Did you meet other solo sailors?

I met solo sailors from Australia, the Falkland Islands, and Cape Town. Some had gone around the world thrice! At sea, I was a couple of miles away from 15-year-old Jessica Watson, the youngest solo sailor in the world! 

And the credit goes to...

Vice-admiral (Retd) M.P. Awati, the mentor of the project, and boat-builder Ratnakar Dandekar. Robin Knox-Johnston, the first solo sailor ever, Dutch boat-builder Johann W. and my entire crew helped me a lot.

Why is your vessel called Mhadei?

It was built on the Mandovi river in Goa whose old name was Mhadei. Also, the sailors’ goddess in the area is called Mhadei.

Why were 174 from other countries able to do this before a billion-strong India?

That’s what people asked me in other countries. This is something we all need to introspect.

India is not inclined to adventure-sports?

May be we are shy of venturing out!

What’s next?

I’d like to help and share my experiences with those who want to take up this task.

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