Around the world twice over

Mumbai: On January 10, 1987, a group of 11 armymen had achieved a rare feat that no other Indian had ever accomplished before-completing a historic expedition across the world in a 37-ft sailing yacht.

The expedition, which overcame several hurdles while covering a distance of 30,000 nautical miles (54000 kms), had set sail from Mumbai on September 28, 1985 and reached the Gateway of India after 470 days.

Twenty-five years later, the crew-led by the then Maj K S Rao (retired as Lt Gen later) relived the moment as they made a ceremonial sail on the same foot-sailing yacht Trishna, which was bought third hand from an English businessman in Gosport, UK in 1970.

"It was a very emotional moment for us. This is actually the first time that we all are meeting together after the expedition. We had get-togethers before, but not all could be present," retired Lt Gen Rao said. "How the expedition changed us I cannot say, but we surely matured a lot. Someone became religious, someone very aggressive," he added.

Vice-Admiral D K Joshi, chief of the Western Naval Command, said the expedition had inspired several youngsters to undertake similar adventures.

"The expedition was undertaken by 11 young officers, who were not sea-professionals. That to my mind, is a great achievement. It also provided inspiration to many. What`s also commendable is that Trishna is still sail-worthy after 40 years."

Vice-Admiral Joshi also said that the Navy was planning a solo non-stop expedition across the globe. "Commander Dilip Donde had earlier taken a solo circumnavigation across the world. However, it had stops in it. But this one would be a non-stop journey. However, there is still no time-frame for it," he said.