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Dilip Donde Becomes First Indian To Circumnavigate The World Solo

Mumbai:  A naval officer on Saturday became the first Indian ever to circumnavigate the globe solo on a sail boat when he steered into the Mumbai harbour after his arduous effort spanning a little over
PTI May 22, 2010 18:12 IST
PTI

Mumbai:  A naval officer on Saturday became the first Indian ever to circumnavigate the globe solo on a sail boat when he steered into the Mumbai harbour after his arduous effort spanning a little over nine months.

Commander Dilip Donde, who embarked on the voyage on August 19 last year on INSV (Indian Naval Sailing Vessel) Mhadei, approached the finish line as his boat, ceremonially escorted by a fast attack craft of the Indian Navy along with speedboats and two tugs operating their water canons, touched base back in India at the Sunk rock Light House here.

Vice President Hamid Ansari along with Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma and Donde's family members, who were on board INS Delhi, anchored at the finish line, witnessed the historic moment and gave him a rousing reception. He was later received by them on INS Mysore.

"Having completed the voyage, I am feeling great. I could not have done it without this fine boat. I was quite convinced that anybody can do circumnavigation in a boat like this. The credit goes to Mhadei," said Donde.

'It gave me a big kick," he said after he returned to the city after the 276-day voyage, as part of the Navy's daunting 'Sagar Parikrama' project.

The Vice President described it as a momentous occasion. "It is an occasion that makes every Indian happy, proud and willing to emulate. I think that would be the greatest tribute to what Commander Donde has done. It was a long awaited first and it was done very well."

"Donde has shown that skill, determination and courage can achieve what is considered to be immensely difficult, if not impossible. So far, 175 people across the world have managed to finish such task," Vice President Ansari said.

"Spirit of adventure and innovation are two things one needs to focus on," he said adding no nation in the history of the world can become great unless these two qualities come together, not occasionally or sporadically but continuously.

The 42-year-old officer covered 21,600 nautical miles sailing in the seas to achieve the milestone.

Congratulating Donde, Chief Admiral Verma said, "This is indeed a new beginning. Donde has shown professional competence, courage and his will to conquer. He was able to rise to all the challenges thrown at him by the sea. It's a great achievement."

Dhonde, an NDA alumnus and trained 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.

The 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. PTI