Jan 13, 2022
by Gaurav Shinde
They say sailing brings you to new horizons.
Less than a year away from the start of the Golden Globe Race 2022 – a solo non-stop round the world circumnavigation without modern technology – I can very well say that sailing has changed my life in the literal sense.
I started sailing the Optimist in 1999 and then moved up into classes like the Laser 420 and Lightning. In India, I won the Lightning Nationals four times. I was planning to start sailing the 470 or the 49er when a chance meeting with India’s first solo circumnavigator, Dilip Donde, endeared me to the idea of crossing oceans.
Along with my team of non-sailors, I won India’s first offshore national championship, beating my idol Dilip in that race from Kochi in the south of India to the Lakshadweep islands. We sailed Phalarope, a 20-foot Sea-Bird half rater – an old wooden gaff-rigged open dinghy designed by Morgan Giles for sailing in Bombay harbour.
As my ambitions grew, I enrolled for the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race in 2013-14. A few shenanigans and the singing of Hindi songs with Sir Robin Knox Johnston during our pit stop in Singapore and my mind was made up on doing a solo circumnavigation. Coincidentally, Sir Robin’s Suhaili was built in Bombay, in the same yard Phalarope was built.
In 2013, I was named India’s Offshore Sailor of the Year.
With dreams of owning my own boat for a solo circumnavigation, I moved to Canada in 2015 for higher education. In 2016, the Golden Globe Race 2018 was announced at the most inopportune time as I had just started paying off student loans, but I started developing plans with hopes that the race might make another appearance in 2022. When it was announced, I was the first person to enter.
In 2019, after traveling all over North America to find the right boat, I found Good Hope, a 1980 Baba/Flying Dutchman 35 designed by Robert Perry, as my vessel of choice for the challenge of the circumnavigation. The previous owners were kind enough to reduce the price by almost half and extend a no-interest loan when they learned of my plans to sail the Golden Globe Race. In their youth, they had been extended a similar loan by the first owners of the boat. Good Hope is hull number 42 and will be 42 years old in 2022.
Good Hope is being refitted at the Port Credit Yacht Club by me along with a few friends and volunteers. The boat maintenance course offered by CPS-ECP Oakville was my first step into this refit, the great insights shared by James Cross during those eight weeks clearly recalled. In the summer of 2020, I installed a new diesel engine with the help of a friend. Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons has been a great resource throughout the process.
The plan is to sail the boat across the Atlantic in June 2022 to France, using all the Golden Globe Race rules which prevent the use of any equipment that was unavailable to Sir Robin Knox Johnston during his first race round the world in 1968-69.
Join the ‘Bulkhead Of Supporters’
Many people ask Gaurav, how they can help. You surely cannot sail with him as the GGR is a solo race. But you can send your memory round the world with a small gift to Gaurav’s campaign. The main bulkhead in the boat Good Hope will be committed to add names and pictures of supporters who have helped out Gaurav in their individual capacity. All gifts and time given to Gaurav and Good Hope get a spot on the ‘Bulkhead of Supporters’. The Golden Globe Race Starts: September 4, 2022.
Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons (CPS-ECP) offers a series of courses in boating knowledge that build from the basic courses required by law to what you’d want to know to cross the ocean.
This story courtesy The Porthole