The ultimate dream of every sailor is to make an ocean passage atleast once in lifetime. Leaving behind the safe harbour, sailors cherish the thrill of heading out into the open sea, away from the crowd, in search of a new port. With the advances in technology offshore sailing has become a very safe activity in the recent years. Technologies and gadgets like GPS, autopilots, satellite communication systems etc. have made navigation much more simpler. But almost 30 years back, in 1986 it was all very different. Sailorsmostly relied on traditional navigation methods and one needed to know navigation extremely well to even think of going offshore. While technology was picking up slowly, only big yachts in India had some of the advanced navigation equipment. It was around this time when a team of 6 crazy Indian sailors, inspired by an idea, came together and decided to set sail for the most incredible sailing adventure of their life – A voyage to Muscat from Bombay and back!
What made this voyage an extraordinary one is not the distance they covered, but the boats they sailed on! They sailed on 2 Seabird class sailboats because it was all they had at their disposal. The Seabird is an open deck boat with enough space to sit and sail with a crew of 4 – 6 people. It does not have cabins to sleep and toilets etc. This voyage changed the face of the Seabird from a harbour cruising sailboat to a multi-purpose boat safe for any type of sailing activity, right from learning sailing to racing and offshore passages. But to the mighty Arabian Sea, the Seabird was still a tiny boat that it could flip in the blink of the eyes. Imagine being in the middle of the ocean on a tiny boat with no sight of land on any side! Every side looks the same and you can feel lost in almost no time.
Mr. Cyrus Heerjee, founder of Fair Winds Sailing School based in Mumbai was the skipper on one of the two boats. He tells us the complete story of this daring and adventurous voyage, which will always be remembered in the history of sailing in India.
Fair Winds Sailing School is the oldest sailing school in Mumbai, started in the year 1978. If you are looking learn sailing in Mumbai, visit our website – www.fairwindssailingschool.in