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All hands on deck!

By on November 21, 2017
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Amateur sailing enthusiast Kirit Maganlal narrates his exciting adventure as part of a five-day expedition against tides and winds from Mumbai to Goa on a 21-foot Seabird

It was a bright Thursday morning at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club guesthouse off Mandwa beach. Even though the sun was out, the dense fog of the bay denied any form of visibility of the numerous fishing and sailing boats lining the coastal jetty.
Only a sharp mariner’s eye would spot the twin Seabird class beauties that were bobbing alongside each other in preparation for an epic adventure ahead of them. Earlier, the boats were put through their paces on a relatively short sail from Mumbai harbour to identify and rectify problems , if any.
The previous night had been spent by nine enthusiastic sailors in charting out way points and marking the GPS reference coordinates for the five-day journey of these two boats on their ‘Swacch Konkan Goa Expedition’.
The sailing challenge was promoting the Swachch Bharat Mission of nearly 250 nautical miles over 60 hours at sea. The 21-foot XS 63 Seabird sail boats used clean wind energy for propulsion. The expected flag-off from Mandwa port was delayed beyond the scheduled time of 10am on October 05, 2017. Visibility was improving and sailing conditions were perfect with northerly winds touching 10 knots. But Mumbai Naval Authorities were on their annual exercises and we were warned not to sail before 2.30pm.
The motley group comprising  wizened sailors and first time long-haul entrants sat together, nervously twitching their burgees and tell-tales, readying for the adventure ahead for the next five days. They had enjoyed a fun evening the previous day and spirits were running high among the group.
‘Sunita’, christened after the daring American astronaut of Indian descent, Sunita Williams, was on her maiden voyage through the aegis of the Goa Yachting Association. She carried 
Col Milind Prabhu, Hemant Arondekar, Jaidas Chunekar and me. The second yacht, ‘Constellation’, was ferrying Ashwin Tombat, Ashok Motwani, Satish Tanskale, Anjun Singh, Sandeep Chunekar on this exciting journey. The last of the naval guns stopped firing at 2pm and it was time to set sail. With sufficient rations on board and an ample dose of adventurous spirit, the crew of both boats cast off under the watchful eyes of the boat builder, Xerses Bamboat of XS Marines, Mumbai.

Read the full article in 'Viva Goa' magazine copy.
Viva Goa magazine is now on stands. Available at all major book stalls and supermarkets in Goa.

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