New Delhi: A naval officer is all set to
create a record for the first-ever solo circumnavigation of
the globe on a sail boat by an Indian on May 22, when he
returns to Mumbai after a 277-day effort.
Commander Dilip Dhonde, when he touches base back in
India, would have covered 23,400 nautical miles sailing in the
seas for 165 days as part of Navy`s `Sagar Parikrama` project.
"Dhonde has just about 1,000 nautical miles left for
achieving the milestone and getting into Indian history
books," a senior Navy officer said here today.
The officer, a keen sailing enthusiast, had embarked on
this voyage on August 19 last year on INSV Mhadei, a sail
boat, and had stopped over for repairs and supplies on the way
at Fremantle (Australia), Christ Church (New Zealand), Port
Stanley/Falklands (South America) and Capetown (South Africa).
"The generally accepted definition of a circumnavigation
under sails is that it should start and end at the same port,
crossing all meridians at least once and the equator at least
twice, and the distance covered should be more than the length
of a meridian, that is 21,600 nautical miles," the officer
Mhadei would have covered 23,400 nautical miles and met
all the parameters, with the boat crossing the equator for the
second time on May 5 on its way back to Mumbai.
"All that is left for the boat to achieve the milestone
is to reach Mumbai, which he would do on May 22," he added.
And this would be the first time an Indian ship or boat
would have met all the parameters.
"To meet the requirements of not passing through canals,
a boat has to pass south of the continents of Australia,
America and Africa. Since there is very little land mass in
these areas, there is little obstruction to winds and waves,"
Very strong winds and swell are experienced throughout
the year in these seas giving rise to the terms `Roaring 40s`,
`Fearsome 50s` and `Screaming 60s`.
Since the wind blows west to east, circumnavigation in
that direction is generally favoured and it is called the
`Right Way`. A circumnavigation through the southern ocean
from east to west is called the `Wrong Way`.
The present world record for the fastest solo
circumnavigation was set in January 2008 by Frenchman Francis
Joyon at 67 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes and 6 seconds.
The 56-foot-long Mhadei, with 23 tonne displacement, is
made of wood core fibre glass with state-of-the-art navigation
and communication equipment fitted on it and is the first boat
of this size and complexity to be built in India with some
foreign help from South Africa, New Zealand, and Sweden.
Dhonde, a NDA alumnus and a trained clearance diver in
the Navy, volunteered for Project `Sagar Parikrama` and also
trained with legendary Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man
to sail solo and non-stop round the world in 1968-69.