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Indian Navy solo sailor reaches New Zealand

by Sail-World Cruising on 30 Nov 2009
Dilip Dhonde and Mhadei .. .
Dilip Dhonde, Commander in the Indian Navy, arrived New Zealand in his Indian Navy sponsored yacht Mhadei last week after sailing more than 9000nm from India via Fremantle in Western Australia.

A large crowd from the local populace, including many members of the Indian community was there to receive him in the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch on his arrival. He had set out from Fremantle on November 1, having left India in August. (See!Sail-World_story )

He will now set sail to Falkland Islands on or about 6th Decembr, after tending to the various maintenance requirements of the boat.

While there have been other adventuring Indian sailors, notably Gulshan Rai (see!Sail-World_story ) this is the first attempt by an Indian citizen to circumnavigate the world. (Gulshan Rai had his yacht transported by road on one occasion and completed his journey in several parts)

Dhonde during his voyage of over 21600 Nms will round Cape Horn, meaning that he will take on the exceptional winds and swell which are prevalent especially below 60 degree South latitude called the ‘Roaring 40s’, ‘Fearsome 50s’ and ‘Screaming 60s’.

The full journey is expected to take around nine months, with Dhonde stopping only in four ports, the next to being Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands after the rounding of the Horn, and Cape Town in South Africa, before returning to his home port of Mumbai.

In his rounding of Cape Horn, he may be sharing an ocean this year with two 16-year-old solo sailors - Abby Sunderland from California, who is yet to begin her journey from Marina del Rey, and Australian Jessica Watson, who has already crossed the equator and is now heading for the Southern Ocean.

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