I had read about the GGR back in 2016 and passed on it as I was in school back then and priorities other than sailing. In 2017, I decided to do the GGR in 2017 after speaking with Abhilash Tomy who was participating in the GGR 2018 and I am glad I made the decision to sail the race.
The first time I thought about a circumnavigation was when I met Bhavik Gandhi whom I met in 2006 when he was planning to row across the Atlantic and then after completing that he wanted to sail the Vendee Globe. Next, in 2008 when I won the Indian offshore national championships, I met Dilip Donde- India’s first solo circumnavigator when he was in the process of building his Van deStadt Tonga 56.
But I never thought I would ever be able to dream about sailing the races like the Vendee Globe or the Mini Transat. The price of the ticket to these races was always beyond my reach. My father was a forklift mechanic and my mother a laboratory technician living the typical Indian working class life. To this day, they have never seen me or been sailing. They have however stepped on a sailboat- Thuriya and I am forever grateful to Abhilash for letting them visit the boat.
I was naive but always hopeful to participate in the races. This is the presentation I once made to ask sponsorship to participate in the Class 40 Global Ocean Race:
Coming back to GGR, OGR and Class Mini 5.8. I first chatted with Don in 2017 after Abhilash asked me to enroll in the GGR. Don was so kind to welcome me into the race and then make introductions with others without even knowing who I was. The decision to do the GGR was taken because the budgets are modest, one can participate in the race with budgets within reach of most sailors. I think with a basic boat that is in good shape you could do it for C$150,000. I am hoping to spend a bit more than that but that is because of the work needed on the boat.
By my calculations, the OGR is even cheaper to participate in than the GGR. You can basically get a couple of friends together and put together a campaign for a fraction of the cost and then sell the boat at the end and literally recover all the money. The other option is get some people to purchase a berth on your boat. Pretty reasonable!!!
Now there is something new coming and I am extremely excited about it. I don’t have much more to say but that it will enable even more people to experience offshore racing than in the GGR and OGR. It’s big! It’s huge and it’s exciting!
In Don, the founder and chairman of the GGR, OGR and now the Class Mini 5.80, I have found someone who is like me. He is mad, he wants to do everything and he loves watching others achieve dreams. If you look through his portfolio of adventures, you will see how varied they are. If you have read my blog about the ultimate dream- circumnavigate under sail, climb Everest and fly solo round the world. Don has sailed circumnavigated the globe, flown a gyrocopter around Australia and lived in the Antarctic. That never say die attitude is just so inspiring. He is the kind of hero I like, he’s not a big flashy star, he is just someone who gets stuff done and who wants to do everything.
So onto what next for me, these races that Don comes up with might just take over my life. I think I will have to start purchasing lotto tickets.