Saturday, June 16, 2007 Indian rows solo across Atlantic


Sweden-based Bhavik Gandhi has become the first person to row across the Atlantic Ocean unassisted. He achieved the feat in 106 days.
The 30-year-old venture capitalist became only the 33rd person to row across an ocean and the first Asian to do so.
Bhavik's journey followed the same route as Christopher Columbus did when he discovered America - from La Restinga in the Canary Islands to the Jabberwock Beach in Antigua in a rowing boat.
"I like the beauty of the challenge. I normally fail quite a lot, but am always looking forward to the challenge and this experience of rowing was out of this world, completely diffrent from sailing. It's just a small boat and a metre above the water. I didn't have any assistance, from the wind or the waves," said Bhavik Gandhi.
There was no assistance, but there was certainly a huge amount of hindrance.
The journey was anything but smooth-sailing for Bhavik. He had to deal with broken rudders, a water leak that destroyed 20 days of ration, a faulty radar, strong squalls, and to top it all a boat capsize 200 kms away from his destination.
Through it all, Bhavik refused help from the rescue team that was on standby all through the journey. And though he had a laptop, a satellite phone, an i-pod to keep him company, Bhavik spent most of his time thinking, something he said he can't do on land.
"The big moments for me were setting out, losing sight of plan, seeing the first set of dolphins, dealing with the water, the capsize. It's just the beauty of everything around even the bad weather was beautiful when it was really bad," said Bhavik.
The rower's record will now be certified by the Ocean Rowing Society. After that 106-day journey, Bhavik Gandhi says his mind is like a blank sheet of paper. For the moment, he's looking forward to a trip back to India - this time on an aircraft.

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