“A sailors joys are as simple as a child” – Bernard Moitessier”
When one talks to Gaurav Shinde, one realizes the passion he has for sailing. He is the first and only Indian to participate in ‘The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race’ . This is a competition where sailors circumnavigate the world in 360 days. Gaurav has successfully completed 85 days in the competition but had to discontinue the race due to unforeseen circumstances.The race is still going on and the other participants are currently sailing in the Caribbean Sea.
Gaurav originally hails from Nashik. One of his favourite pastimes in the city was to trek the Pandavleni hills and also play cricket. After finishing his schooling here , he moved to Mumbai for higher studies. He is currently based in Hyderabad and works for Google as a Search Quality Associate.
Gaurav says that he chanced upon sailing and took it up as his hobby.”You do not ask a tame seagull why it needs to disappear from time to time toward the open sea. It goes, that’s all.” by Bernard Moitessier happens to be one of his favourite quotes. He clearly states that he doesn’t want to pursue sailing as his career. He travels to Mumbai once or twice a month to sail in the seas. When time permits he also practices sailing in the lakes of Hyderabad. In this world where Time is Money it is refreshing to see someone like Gaurav take time out for sailing.
To participate in this race one can purchase a paid-for seat. Gaurav needed to acquire a paid-for seat for which he needed a lot of money. He ended up raising up to 20 Lakhs through crowd-funding online.He does agree that it was tough to get funding from people that too online but still he managed to raise a good amount.
Before the race began, he had to train in the UK for 3 weeks. He joined the race from Brisbane, Australia. His team/yacht was called Mission Performance. He sailed along with his team mates from Brisbane to Singapore. From there to Hong Kong and then Qingdao,China. From China it took him 30 days to reach San Francisco via the Pacific Ocean.
Gaurav says his best moment was when he hoisted our tricoloured National Flag on his yacht on the 26th of January 2014 while sailing one the Bismarck Sea near Papua New Guinea . Another memorable yet terrifying moment for him was when he has to sail in the Pacific with waves which were over 60 feet and a gale force of 135 km/hr. Only 4 people were on deck and he was one of them. He was the one steering the yacht under such extreme weather conditions for an hour or so and he ended up developing hypothermia. He was unconscious for 20 min.
Though Gaurav could only be a part of the race till San Francisco he has plans to sail again, this time solo around the world. He says “I plan on sailing around the world, solo, non-stop in the smallest yacht ever by starting at Mumbai and reaching Mumbai back again after circumnavigating the world in 200 days.” If things go as planned he will probably begin his solo trip by the end of this year. He also hopes to build a better infrastructure for sailing in India so that people can take up sailing as a hobby. He feels that India can do much more when it comes to Sailing as it has beautiful and long coastlines.