Thursday, March 18, 2010

Greetings from Cape Town



I suppose the only way I can start this post is by apologizing to all the readers for going missing for the past 20 days! Blame it for being busy, lazy and an erratic internet connection!

Time seems to be flying by in sunny Cape Town with repairs to Mhadei and a bit of R & R keeping us busy. Most of the repairs fall in the “desirable” rather than “essential” category which means I could have sailed back home without undertaking them but decided to get them done here due to better availability of spares and skills. Hopefully in the times to come the necessary spares and skills for Yacht repairs will become readily available in India. Also since we bought the Mast and Rigging from Cape Town it made sense to get the same serviced at Cape Town. With Ratnakar, the boat builder, dropping by for 10 days we managed to get most of the small repair jobs out of the way. Presently awaiting the replacements for furler foils from France, routine repairs to the sails by the local North Sails loft and fitting of the generator post servicing. Planning to sail out on 29 Mar so as to reach Mumbai around 16 May. Another reason for the longish stay at Cape Town is to avoid the Cyclone season in the Southern Indian Ocean which usually lasts till end Apr. Starting in end Mar would ensure that we enter the trade wind zone, where the tropical cyclones mostly occur, by end Apr. It will also mean crossing the Equator around early May with a hope that the Doldrums will be in a disturbed state due to the onset of the SW monsoons. If the Monsoons set in slightly earlier than usual, last year they were really late, we can have a fast downwind ride all the way home!

Though this is my third visit to Cape Town, I am still in awe with the spectacular beauty of the City and the surroundings. The high point of the R & R was a walk up the Table Mountain which made me regain my land legs quickly! I think anyone who is reasonably fit and has a day to spare in the City should give it a try!

In addition to the Seals in the harbour we also have some more interesting for company in the form of Phoenicia, a replica of a Phoenician Sail boat trying to recreate the first circumnavigation of Africa by the Phoenicians in 600 BC. You can read about the project on their web site www.phoenicia.org.uk

Ending this post with some photos as usual.


Entering Cape Town


From Chapman's Peak Drive


Cape of Good Hope




Lion's Head, Signal Hill & Robben Island


The Cape Peninsula


Mhadei & Phoenicia

79 comments:

David said...

Thank you for sharing the 'nut and bolts' of what is going on in Cape Town. And yes, the photo's you posted are a real gift as well. Thanks.
David, near Boston MA, USA

cloudburst said...

finally... sheesh... donde.. kaay re... loka kiti bollat hote... dheer nahi tenna really... lol.. hope aunty and nandini are enjoying their visit... yr bike is still hibernating..but there is hope yet.. lol.. all is well this side of the ocean otherwise... you take care... cheers...
meetu

The McGraths said...

Hi Dilip,

Great photos, thankyou so much. Photos always put things into perspective. Looks awesome!

I really enjoy reading your blog, it's very interesting.

Take care Dilip,

Kind regards,

The McGraths, Nowra NSW Australia

sundar said...

Hi Dilip,
you have made amends for your absence with your amazing snaps. I am sure you can come up with a great coffee table book at the end of your trip.
All the best,

Sundar

Evie from Bendigo said...

Hello Dilip

Thank you so much for the absolutely fantastic photos.

I am glad you are enjoying your well deserved rest and recreation and have a wonderful time with the family.I am surprised your wife did not eject the whiskers.
Good idea to get as much work completed on the boat as possible before heading back out.

Abby is experiencing the tail end of Cyclone Tomas in the Pacific as she heads down towards Cape Horn.
Jesse has had a bit of foul weather in the Indian Ocean but traversed it well in her usual no nonsense attitude. The is an intense cyclone closing on the Queensland coast and Cyclone Tomas ravaged Fiji. The Pacific Ocean at the moment is roiling at the moment so I can well understand your adversion of leaving Africa to soon and heading into disaster.

Keep well enjoy your families company.

Cheers
Evie from Bendigo

Shri said...

Hello Dilip,

Each morning, with my first cup of tea in hand, I read three blogs, Abby, Jessica and yours. For last 20 days you were missing! What a surprise this morning to read your detalied blog with wonderful pictures to boot!! Thanks! You made my day! Wish you safe sailing back home. Are you planning to write a book about your voyage? Please write one and also get it translated into all regional languages in India. It will be an inspirational story for the up and coming generation.

Cheers,
Shri from California

Anonymous said...

Excellent photo of Mhadei entering port !Glad to hear your repairs are proceeding nicely for the completion of your Voyage. Best Wishes sailing home.

Dan said...

Dear Commander Donde

Shri couldn't have said it better. We love to hear from you. Thanks for the update and nice pictures.

Wishing you the best for your final leg. One of my dreams has been to sail up the West coast of India to Goa and Mumbia. At least we can hear what it is like for you on your journey home.

Dan
Portland, Oregon, USA

Rashmi said...

Dear Dilip , Now that you are all set for your return leg let me wish you a good and safe return, Hopefully you would have met up with your family and enjoyed. Have a whale of a time and take care. Bye, Ravi

45° 31′ 0.02″ N, 73° 39′ 0.02″ W said...

हाय Dilip & Mahdei,

Thank you for the pictures and your planned route information.

नमस्कार!

koda sri vatsa said...

hey skipper , greetings from T66. great to hear that you are "R&R"ing..... Repairing and Refitting too. Looking fwd to seeing you back here. The pictures were great and for a pleasant change the pictures of water were taken from land. Hope teltale is learning all he can to get his sealegs equally quickly. Take care sir!

jwb777 said...

Hello Dilip,
I have really enjoyed looking over your photos. They are all excellent, but I especially enjoyed the one of Mhadei sailing into Cape Town. THX so much for posting them.

Have certainly been missing your posts. Glad to hear things are going well and that you are enjoying this timeout.

All the very best to you as you finish up plans for your last leg to India.

Blessings,
Janell in Oklahoma, USA

RichieParis said...

Hello Commander Dilip,

Thank you for all these good news, informations and pictures too!

We are happy to know that you enjoy your stay, to understand how Mhadei is, and to know about your plans for the last leg. Your circumnavigation will have been well planned and well executed. A great job!

Best wishes for a good last Capetownian week!

Chris Bowyer said...

Nice to see you are back. I check in every day to see how you are going. PS. I reakon you would get a lot more comments if the way to comment was not so obscure

Anonymous said...

 
Hi Dilip,

Awesome post. Thanx!

H.

Amsterdam
Netherlands
 

Anonymous said...

welcome back
Lovely photos
Take it easy
Richard (QLD) Aus

Rishi said...

great to see ya back sir... missing the posts like anything...

Hope you have great time in Cape town

Enjoy the stay !!

Prabir said...

Happy to know your plan for the last leg.You are wise to be gearing Mhadei up at the right place. Like the photos too. All the best, will be keeping track as you move on back.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dilip,
What a suprise to find your blog. I have been checking every day. Great to hear what you have been doing and the photos are terrific.
Hope you enjoy the rest of your stay and look forward to more updates.
All the best,
Joy
Ballarat
Australia

HomeSweetBoat said...

Thank you Dilip for the great photos.

We will be following you on the next leg of your trip.

You are AMAZING!

Fay from the Gold Coast.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful to hear that all is well with you. I had been a bit worried with no posting for the last three weeks. Like Shri, I read all three blogs too (yours, Jessica's and Abby's).

The photos are just magic. Enjoy the R & R and safe sailing for the remainder of your journey.

Sue, Perth, Western Australia

kina said...

Greetings Dilip,

I trust you are well rested and now ready to undertake this final chapter of your magnificent journey. I can certainly understand your reluctance to leave Cape Town considering the beauty portrayed in your pictures.

Wow! stunning weather, hospitable locals, and more importantly, a special visit from family who'm you haven't seen for some time, why wouldn't you not want to spend some quality time with them. You've certainly earned the break.

A wise move indeed Dilip. Best a check by the experts when you can. It looks like you have Madhei pretty much ship-shape for her final run home.

Your knowledge of seasonal weather patterns will certainly be a very valuable tool as you take on the Southern Indian Ocean. I hope you do get a fast downwind run to Mumbai.

Another week or so yet, so enjoy the week or so and look forward to your final run home.
Cheers Dilip!

Ben (Qld)

DeanB said...

Thanks for the post and pictures. While I did enjoy the pictures of the seals, I was beginning to wonder what was happening! (like Shri, I'm following Jessica, Abby, and you)

Dean, fresh-water canoeist/kayaker near Boston MA USA

SaltyDog said...

Commander Donde,

No need to apologize. We should apologize to you for some of the kids on your blog getting a little restless. Maybe they can aspire to grow up to be as mature as Jessica and Abby are. I know that you must have a busy schedule and you certainly deserve some leisure time.

Were these photos taken by Tell Tale? They really are outstanding. If I remember right, a March 29 departure will be a bit earlier than you originally had planned. It sounds like you will have all of the necessary maintenance and repair work completed on Mhadei. Having Ratnaker there to help out must add a bit of reassurance that Mhadei is ready for your final leg. I imagine that you must be having an interesting time exchanging stories with the crew of the Phoenicia. I would like to research a bit more about their voyage. You, Jessica, Abby and so many other sailors have certainly increased the interest in sailing adventures for many of us. That’s indicative of the vast wealth of information that is made readily available over the internet.

Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule for the update, Dilip. Enjoy you final days in Cape Town and I look forward to hearing from you after you get underway. Take care, Commander.

From Seattle, WA, USA
SaltyDog

Evie from Bendigo said...

Hello Dilip, I hope I have not been insulting you all this time by misspelling your name (Dhilip)as I read on the Phonecian site.

I think I put my foot in my mouth and need to apologise to you. I mentioned in my last post about your lush beard and that you had not removed it. I did not mean an insult to any religious beliefs or anything by my comment. It was only meant in jest. Again sorry if I have impinged on a religious belief.

On better terms hope you are having beautiful weather in South Africa for your rest and recreation.
Cheers
Evie from Bendigo

Clint Jeffrey - VK3CSJ said...

G'day Dilip,
I'm doing the rounds, Cape Town looks wonderful, if I ever get the chance to visit, probably not, but if I do...I will most certainly take that walk to Table Mountain...sounds great.

You mention Cyclone season in the Southern Ocean, well if any Cyclones are in the planning I'm hoping they give Jessica a wide berth!...

Good on ya Dilip, I wish you a continued safe journey as you cross the Indian Ocean.

Cheers
Clint - Melbourne

Cobrarog in Hervey Bay said...

Hi Dilip,
I really think you are doing it the right way! That non stop stuff is for the birds.
To stop off in many and varied ports would really be an enjoyable way to go.
Enjoy every minute of your trip both on land and at sea. Have a very safe and enjoyable trip on your last leg home.
Kindest Regards from Hervey Bay

Cape Breton said...

Hi Dilip,
We knew you would eventually surface again...pardon the pun.

The pictures are great, especially liked the one of Mhadei sailing into Cape Town.

It must be a good feeling knowing that all of the repair work is finished and galley restocked again ready for the next leg.

Is there a future book coming about your circumnavigation with Mhadei?

Good sailing.

Ozca,
from the great Bras d'Or Lakes.

Mike_trrac said...

Hi Dilip,

Glad to hear from you again. Having been to South Africa I know that their great hospitality doesn't leave much time for other things like blogging.

The pictures are splendid and bring back many memories. I hope your final leg to Mumbai goes well and safely.

I agree with previous blogger that I would personally prefer your style of travel to the non-stop variety but I am still in complete awe of Jess.

Fair winds and a good passage.

cheers

Mike (Avoca Beach, NSW)

Toni McLean said...

Hello Dilip,
Was beginning to think you had found Cape Town so captivating you'd decided to go ashore permanently! Cape Town does indeed look beautiful in your photos.

Good to get the repairs done and prepare yourself well for the final leg.

Look forward to following that when it happens.
Best wishes
Toni

Anonymous said...

Godspeed on the homeward stretch!
Margie
Cooroy, Qld., Australia

Sahil Chaudhari said...

Hi commander Dilip,
Best of Luck to you for your final leg of journey back to India.You are source of inspiration for me and many others like me.Thank you and Congratulations !!
-Sahil Chaudhari,Nagpur.

Designer said...

Hi Dilip !
Good to have you surfaced mate !
That is a fantastic photo of Mhadei entering Cape Town. Whoever took it will have some more of them, so do give them to Tell Tale to put them up on 'Picasaweb' if you cant fit them all in this blog.

Thanks for the other pictures as well. They give us a good flavour of the place and weather. The picture of Mhadei in the photo gallery of the "phoenicia" website is the best, side on close up shot I have seen of your boat. She really looks sleek, built for speed. Seems once the sails are up, she will fly ! Wonder what is the best speed you have achieved under sails ?

The Phoenicia site concept of having a photo gallery is very good. It may not have been possible for you to have something similar as you do not have any commercial aspect to your voyage, and your site is a one man show. But please do give your extra pics to Tell Tale to put them up, and maybe we can treat his picasa website as your supplementary site.

Have a good stay in CT.
Cheers.

@ Tell Tale.
Enjoyed your pics on "Picasa" mate. Thanks. Look forward to the NZ and Perth photos too when you return

Aish said...

Intresting note sir...yes after a long time...but the pictures made for it!! Thanks for the beautiful pictures...Hope to read more from u soon...

Anonymous said...

Hi Dilip
Though your absence is not forgivable, your photographs are worth as posters! Now you are a good photographer too in addition to sailor, cook, electrician, mechanic, writer......
hope this time we all are allowed to welcome you when you come home!
Swati

Surabhi said...

hi...finally!!
firstly,Cape Town rele looks beautiful...v all loved the pics!!!guess u had an amazin time there...if possible vd love to see more of those pics too...
Enjoy...mama ajji n nandini maushi are also there so ul hav gr8 company too...take care...hoping to c u soon...
Surabhi

tell tale said...

@ Designer and Salty Dog -

Will put up Cape Town pictures as soon as I can. Give me a couple of days and let me work on them a bit. I promise they will be up soon. Ditto with the Oz and NZ pics. Expect them within this week. Maybe more!

tell tale said...

@ Evie - The skipper is not married. He does not have wife. The beard did not have anything to do with religion. It was sheer laziness. I can guarantee that. :D

SUBIR said...

Hi,
Just when I almost started feeling guilty for not being regular in following you for the last two weeks, I realized that I haven't missed much. You do have a great reason though to be irregular in your posts - Cape Town.
Could you do the wine route or did you settle for a pub crawl?
Great news that Ratnakar met up with you. I shall try to RV you on your arrival at Mumbai.
Amazing shots. Keep posting many more.
Take Care,
Subir.

Anonymous said...

Hi

Nice photos and good luck on your trip! Nice having you near our side of the world. All the best, Margaret from Johannesburg.

Dana said...

Fire onboard fellow circumnavigator Jeanne Socrates' yacht 'Nereida'!
http://synereida.livejournal.com/

tell tale said...

Dear all

As promised, pictures of NZ have been posted. You can access them on
http://picasaweb.google.com/abhilash.tomy/Nz02#

SaltyDog said...

Commander Donde,

Well, it’s almost departure day and I wanted to say “Bon Voyage.” Good luck and best wishes on your final leg, Dilip. I’m looking forward to hearing from you when you get underway.

@Tell Tale: I just went through all of your NZ photos. What a fantastic travel log. I really did enjoy seeing them. And how special running into George Bush. :-)) Thanks so much for sharing your photos with us, Tell Tale.

Take care Dilip and Tell Tale.

From Seattle, WA, USA
SaltyDog

Attri said...

Hi Dilip bhai

Wish you all the best for your next leg to home sweet home.

@ Abhilash

Thanks for keeping us posted on things in progress. NZ pics are great but really, at the expense of repeating meself, not very user friendly viewer site, this Picasa.

Probably too popular and not enough bandwidth.

@ Swati

"In addition to sailor, cook, electrician, mechanic, writer......"

A writer who probably hates writing or (two finger typing like me!) LOL, Just joking. Great photographer too and not to forget the "Chippy" armed with WD40.

@ Tell Tale
Not married? No wonder skipper refuses to take the beard off. In the early days of the voyage someone asked him to be bereft of beard prior NZ, so the misconception started. On second thought a person like Cdr. Donde would probably like to have the feel of old time sailors who didn't give a hoot or didn't have a razor till they returned home. Hagar the horrible comes to mind but he is looking good ( Got used to seeing him like that I think !)

Cheers to next leg
Fair winds and following seas.

Lalit fm Chandigarh

Anonymous said...

Hi Donde

Wishing you fair winds and following seas for the final leg. Had been busy lately but did check you blog almost daily. Good to see you back on the net.

Samir

john said...

and to think we'd thought you were out partying all the time you were missing ... anyway, nice to have you back on line again ... john starlight, sunshine coast, australia

tell tale said...

@ Attri

Right now I am a bit constrained with time and bandwidth. Picassa helps because I can work on my computer offline and upload the pictures at one go when I connect.

I will definitely try Flickr but not just now.

Cheers

Lalit Attri said...

@ Tell Tale

I can well understand your time constraints.
Look forward to Dilip bhai sailing off.

You guys are setting up a historic milestone.

Thank you

Cheers

Lalit fm Chandigarh

Sucheta Jadhav said...

Have you set sail again? Waiting for your next post

Sucheta

Ateeq said...

All the best for you final leg of the voyage.

Have you started your last leg? Waiting for more updates.

Aakash said...

Hello Sir,

Jessica Watson is almost reaching Australia and she made it without stopping anywhere. You are from our Navy and seem to be taking a lot of rest. You are proving that the TORTOISE is faster than the HARE. Very great Sir!!!!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha
Maybe you need to do another cirumnavigation to beat a 16 year old GIRL!!!

Cheers Sir,
Aakash

Anonymous said...

Hello......Hello.......anyone there?????? Come on Commander, Pleeeeeeaaaase give us an update on your progress and where you are!!!
Cheers
MJ

sandy said...

Great photos of Cape Town

AJManju said...

Hi,

I accessed your blog from the Indian Navy Website.I'm based in New Zealand and was looking at the Indian Navy Website, trying to obtain information on a long lost friend. IO have always wanted to give this feedback to someone and now that you have a blog thats using the Navy Website as one of the gateways, wanted to tell you to tell someone who can do something about it- the INDIAN NAVY WEBSITE really sucks!! We have the best IT talent in India and some of the best web designers and surely we can do better that project such an old fashioned image on our official website. Gosh it looks ancient and basic and the design and colours are drastically poor. Could you please communuciate to someone????

Meanwhile - found your blog interesting, I had used the same template for my blog which I changed as myreaders were mostly over 40and needed a lighter page. Do visit at http://letstrytounderstand.blogspot.com and leave your comments and pass it on. The problems are global and I dont intend to limit it to NZ.

Good luck and I will be following your blog

Manju

Jaspinder said...

@AJManju: You think you are a great IT guy. Do us a favor. Take your garbage and comments out of this blog. What made you think that people here are over 40? Your comments are most unappreciated. First learn the definition of DECENCY before posting irrelevant comments here.

Anonymous said...

@AJManju: Hey Majnu. Hey Hero: Just because you are holed up in NZ, it doesn't give you a right to criticize someelse's website. If you don't like it, maybe you can keep your mouth shut.

Anonymous said...

zzz

Anonymous said...

Hello? Anybody there?

Shri said...

Hello Dilip,

I think you are doing your best in stretching patience of visitors to your blog. What is the problem in providing a post when so many pople around the world, who care for you and your voyage, are looking for an update? The last update was on March 18th. 16 days have gone by and no update. I see many posts asking for update. Frankly, does it take a lot of your time to write few lines and post? We readers have no idea if you are having any serious problem or you are just enjoying Cape Town hospitality and have chosen to ignore the world?

Truly Disapointed!
Shri from California

Anonymous said...

I think he died

CPO USN Ret said...

Happy Easter Commander

Anonymous said...

Jessica Watson posted some great pictures. She is almost nearing Australia and it looks like the entire nation is ready to receive her. She has singlehandedly done this journey unassisted. What is interesting is that she even did her own repairs. I am as excited as ever. http://www.jessicawatson.com.au/_blog/Official_Jessica_Watson_Blog/

Jessica said...

@shri, Good on you. I was following Dilip with great interest, but it seems he doesn't care. Well, I'll recind that. He obviously doesn't care.

Anonymous said...

Keep it cool guys !

I don’t remember Commander Dilip inviting us to follow his blog. It was our choice to follow it. If we don’t like his way of communicating or travel we are absolutely free to discontinue following his blog. I think it is a more civil option than saying mean things to him or dictating him our terms. I do agree that he writes less frequently but then he may have his own reasons. By giving negative comments we might be further discouraging him from writing.

Happy Easter Commander, don’t worry about our comments, most of us have hardly set foot on a boat leave apart rounding Cape Horn.

Ramnik

Itsdifferent said...

Team
I am looking for a forum to share the plight of fisherman at the Srilankan navy's hands. I am assuming there is some clause in Navy's Milan project to address these. Listen to a story in Arattai Arangam in Sun TV (Apr 4th). How many people have been widowed just because, Navy is not doing their job. Protecting our people should be the priority of the armed forces, educating our fisherman of the borders, demarcating them clearly so they dont cross all of these are Navy's duties. Listening and watching so many young girls loosing their husbands, I would say Indian Navy is a colossal failure.
How do we expect this to be India's century, why are we even aspiring for a UNSC seat, if we cannot protect our own people.

Anonymous said...

@Ramnik: Bro. Well said.

SaltyDog said...

Commander Donde,

Happy Easter. I hope all is going well on your final leg. I’m looking forward to your next update.

Best wishes, Dilip.

From Seattle, WA, USA
SaltyDog

Anonymous said...

Did anyone think it might be a major insult to wish someone from India a Happy Easter? How would a Christian feel about being wished a Happy Durga Puja or Ramadan?

Anonymous said...

Hello Dilip,

I hope you are well and enjoying your time in Cape Town. I have enjoyed following your travels since you were approaching Cape Horn.

Kind Regards,

L
Midwest USA

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anonymous: I am a Hindu and I wish everyone A HAPPY EASTER, A HAPPY RAMADAN. Are you now satisfied? Why the fuck do you want to bring religion to this blog?

Anonymous said...

Should the news read "Cmdr Donde decides to abort his lavishly planned trip around the world and fly to Mumbai instead from Cape Town in a Navy Jet. Isn't this is a waste of the Indian tax payer's money?"

Anonymous said...

Have you left Cape Town, yet??

tell tale said...

Dear all

I must apologise again on behalf of the skipper. In brief, the generator kept on throwing up issues one after the other until it was repaired hours before the boat's departure on the 3rd. I am sure there will be a post soon.

The skipper's intention is to sail well south till the 40s and then head east giving wide berth to the Cape of Good Hope.

I am sure there will be a post on this blog soon.


Regards

Anonymous said...

Dear Tell Tale

Thanks for the update. Everyone getting a little bit antsy but more likely cos we were all starting to worry about what had transpired. So, good to hear he has set off and look forward to his Post when he can.
Cheers
MJ from Brisbane

SaltyDog said...

Tell Tale,

Thank you for the update. You and Commander Donde don’t owe us an apology. Unlike some bloggers, you’re both very much the gentlemen. Glad to hear that Dilip is underway.

@anonymous: I certainly would not consider it an insult if someone wished me a Happy Durga Puga or Ramadan. I would consider it a nice gesture that someone might pass along those words of goodwill to me, regardless of my beliefs.

Have a nice day. (Meant only for those who might believe in such a concept.)

From Seattle, WA, USA
SaltyDog

Anonymous said...

awesome dilip

Nadeem1414 said...

http://www. Stories.pk there are lot beautiful sceneries here about which is very impressive.

sportskeeda said...

Sunil Gavaskar sent this message through his college friend Pradeep Vijayakar
``Congratulate him on my behalf on his feat. It tells the world that Indians are not behind in endurance adventure and exploration. Also don't forget Ratnakar and Aquarius who built the boat and gave him the vehicle for his feat. It is teamwork at its best.''

sportskeeda said...

Article written by Pradeep Vijayakar The Times of India


Dilip Donde close to being first Indian to sail solo around world

Pradeep Vijayakar

Panaji: Commander Dilip Donde of the Indian Navy is close to achieving his ambition of being the first Indian to sail solo round the world in a sailing vessel.

Ratnakar Dandekar, of Aquarius Fibreglass in Tiswadi Divar island ,who built the boat `Mahadei', said Donde’s trip which commenced from Mumbai on August 19, 2009, was set to culminate around the middle of May. When he completes the trip he would have sailed over 40,000 km in a route which took form India to Australia (Freemantle port), New Zealand (Christchurch), Cape Horn, Falkland Islands and Capetown and back to Mumbai. At present he is nearing Mumbai. The Navy has spent over Rs four crore on construction of the sailing yacht and another Rs 1 crore was spent on the expedition.

Speaking from his vessel in the Indian Ocean, Donde said he was still a thousand km from his destination and had a problem of his big sail tearing. That will considerably slow him down but the irritation of the sound of the flapping sail will be a factor.

Asked about the problems he faced Donde said ``there have more than can remember.’’About the varying climate he said ``I was close to Antartica and the temperature was around 6 Celsius. The other extreme was around 37. When he crossed the equator on Thursday the temperature was 36.’’

A problem for Donde was that he ran out of cooking gas after he left Capetown, the last of the four ports he docked at.``I have to rely on pre-cooked food. I have a heater which can give temperature of 60 degree enough for lukewarm coffee.’’

Boat builder Dandekar said there was a lot of skepticism about Donde’s capabilities and of boat-building too and he was happy he had proved his detractors wrong. Asked about the main challenges to the expedition, Dandekar said,``There were people who wanted a boat built abroad. But ex-Admiral MP Avati said since it was an Indian expedition it would apt if it was an Indian boat.’’

Dandekar’s firm beat other five bidders and completed the boat at 30 per cent lower cost that than, say in Europe.``The challenge was to put a nine ton keel on to the hull. A two and half feet bolt had to be driven up the hull. We did the reverse, we fitted the hull onto the keel .’’

Dandekar said he had gone to the various ports to check out the well- being of the boat. ``The boat was checked by circumnavigator Sir Robin Knox Johnston. Another Dutchman who checked it said the boat would be welcome in the Dutch seas.’’