Tuesday, February 14, 2006

February 14, 2006. First Asian Attempt to Row Solo Across the Atlantic Ocean La Gomera, Spain.

2000 people have SAILED around the GLOBE
1400 people have CLIMBED Mt. EVEREST
450 people have BEEN into SPACE
180 have been to the POLES
ONLY 32 have ever ROWED an OCEAN SOLO...

Bhavik Gandhi attempts to become the first Indian and first Asian to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Upon completion of this journey he will be the 23rd person to row solo across the Atlantic and only the 33rd person to ever row solo across any ocean. The Ocean Rowing Society would certify the World Records. Starting 28 February 2006, Bhavik will row 3000 nautical miles (5000 km) from La Gomera in Spain to Antigua, Barbados. Following the route Christopher Columbus took, Bhavik will spend an estimated 90 days at sea in a 23 - ft boat, rowing solo, non-stop and unassisted.

So why would a man attempt a feat so dangerous, so threatening and yet so tempting? “Rowing an ocean is not an adventure. It's a sport where the known risks are unpredictable. It is the ultimate endurance sport and test of mental and physical endurance that pushes the boundaries of what is possible,” says Bhavik. He continues, “It is my hope in doing this that it will inspire others to take on personal or business challenges that seem impossible and see them through.”

Bhavik is also raising the awareness of the work done by the Shark Trust a charity that promotes the study, management and conservation of sharks.

Perils at Sea
Bhavik’s boat will have no sails, no motor, no support ship. Relying on muscle-power alone, he will be at the mercy of the weather and have to endure extreme conditions such as gale force winds, storms and regular 4-storey high waves in the open ocean. The 90 days of isolation without any human contact combined with severe sleep deprivation and irregular sleeping patterns will also exert an exceptional amount of mental stress on Bhavik. Seemingly simple tasks like scrubbing the barnacles at the bottom of the boat, that slow the boat down, will also be a risk considering the smaller fish, which feed off the growth on the underside of the boat, are food for sharks and whales. And, of course, there is always the risk of being hit by speeding cargo boats that fail to see his boat on their radar. Did we forget to mention - Bhavik will also cross the notorious Bermuda Triangle stretch?

Survival Guide
He plans to row for 10-12 hours daily. The rest of the time will be divided between eating, cleaning and maintaining the boat, and trying to catch up on some much needed sleep. To keep his sanity intact he will be carrying a laptop, a PDA, an iPod and a satellite phone which will be his only contact with the outside world. Of course, Bhavik will also carry extra supplies but then that is prime attraction for sharks. He will also be carrying a GPS system, an Argos tracking system and a SeeMe device that will enable his boat to be picked up by the radars of large ships.

“Water, water, everywhere; Not a drop to drink,” Words made famous by Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner. Well, Bhavik is making sure he doesn’t need to repeat those words. Solution – an on-board Desalinator.

Ocean Rowing: The World’s Toughest Endurance Challenge
Ocean rowing remains the world’s toughest human powered endurance sport. Relying on muscle-power alone athletes row in extreme weather conditions across the open ocean facing 40 - ft. waves. This sport is unique in terms of its difficulty, exceptional length and demands on physical and mental endurance. Extensive planning, preparation, motivation and persistence are a pre-requisite.

Bhavik says, “I have long been involved in various endurance challenges like distance running, mountain climbing, sailing, cycling from Stockholm to Istanbul, trekking across Siberia in minus 30°C temperatures. When I look back at these experiences now, it seems as if, through these seemingly unconnected events, I was preparing for this once-in-a-lifetime challenge – becoming the first Asian to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.”

Bhavik Gandhi – A Brief Profile
Bhavik is a serial entrepreneur and is currently based in Stockholm, Sweden. He is the founder and the principal partner at the Development Venture Capital Group, a venture capital fund specialising in micro venture capital for social entrepreneurs in developing countries. His present work also involves investments in high growth startups specialising in Next Generation Network technologies.

Bhavik has received widespread corporate and media support from several leading Indian and International Companies. His international supporters are Tag Heuer, Western Union Money Transfer, Panasonic, Onsite Systems, Apple, Ocean Rowing Society, Ursuk, Six Apart, Argos, and Iridium. The Indian companies on board are Idea Cellular, Amaron, Satyam, Sahara, L&T, Dhruva Interactive, makemytrip.com, Proline Fitness Planet, CNBC TV 18, Accord Public Relations, Maxim, Man’s World, exchange4media.com, Sify, Tehelka, indiainfoline.com, cobrapost.com and many others.

Support Bhavik
Show your support for Bhavik Gandhi by logging on to www.bhavik.com and leaving a message for him. You can also participate in the boat-naming competition and be a part of history in the making. The site also has latest news, pictures and videos of Bhavik’s planned trip; this information will continue to be updated via satellite phone as he makes his way across the Atlantic.

Note to Editors:

The Boat

• Length: 23.4 feet / 7.1 meters
• Width/Beam: 6.3 feet / 1.9 meters
• Depth: 3 feet / 1 meter
• Weight: 750 kg / 1,650 lbs

The boat is made of 6mm thick marine plywood with a coat of epoxy resin for strength and resilience to water. The boat provides shelter in the rear cabin, which also houses the water maker and all on-board electrics (solar powered). All food supplies are stored in sealed bags underneath the rowing deck.

In the likely event of the boat capsizing, several design factors have been introduced to ensure it rights itself. The watertight cabins fore and aft are egg-shaped due to which it is extremely unstable when upside down. Moreover, the air trapped in the cabin keeps the hull buoyant and combined with the heavy stores in the keel creates a high centre of gravity that causes the boat to right itself.

More about Bhavik

Bhavik Gandhi is the founder and the principal partner at the Development Venture Capital Group, a venture capital fund specialising in micro venture capital for social entrepreneurs in developing countries. His present work also involves investments in high growth startups specialising in Next Generation Network technologies, for converged voice, video and data services for fixed and wireless telecommunication carriers. Bhavik's experience spans Telecommunications, Retail, New Media, Venture Capital, Energy, Outsourcing and the non-profit sector. He has also had extensive experience in the establishment, growth and management of startup companies.

He is currently based in Stockholm, Sweden. Bhavik holds an MSc in Engineering Information Systems from the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden and a B.Sc in Management & Information Systems from Royal Holloway, University of London. He was born in Bombay in 1977 and studied at Bombay Scottish, Mumbai till Std. VIII before moving to Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom for further studies.

For further information please contact:

Meenakshi Bhanja:9811784695 Vikram Mohinta:9810921616
mbhanja@gmail.com vikrammohinta@accordpr.com

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