On Thursday, INSV Mhadei, the sturdy vessel which twice circumnavigated the globe, witnessed a rare get-together of two of her skippers here.
Commander Dilip Donde, the first Indian to solo-circumnavigate the globe, met Lieutenant Commander Abhilash Tomy, the first Indian to solo-sail non-stop around the globe.
It was in March 2009 that Cdr Donde and Lt Cdr Tomy first came together onboard INSV Mhadei. In the four years since then, she has circumnavigated the globe a couple of times, setting two records in the process.
“Once onboard, over a period of time, you start being friends with her. You spend a lot of time talking to her, caressing her and sharing your thoughts with her,” says Cdr Donde on board Mhadei, which is currently berthed at Naval Base at the Southern Naval Command.
In 2009-10, when Donde first went around the world, there was little awareness about sailing in India.
“I would say, I volunteered for the voyage out of ignorance. It is not as simple as it seems, but the idea is to make it sound simple. Many tried to dissuade me.
The greatest challenge was to keep believing in myself,” Cdr Donde recalled.
When Cdr Donde achieved the rare feat, it set the stage for Lt Cdr Tomy to follow suit.
“He set the right platform for me to go around the globe solo as well as non-stop. Though mine was supposed to be more difficult, there were no doubts whatsoever.
The awareness among the pubic went up. About 90 percentage of my Facebook page visitors are youngsters. Now more people are coming forward to ocean sailing,” says Lt Cdr Tomy.
On Monday, Donde will take Mhadei to Goa where she will undergo a stretch of repairs and refit.