Goa’s debut ocean sailing expedition - a success that will make room for more sailboat adventures

A team of Goan sailors left from Dona Paula on 7th April 2021 and returned on 18th April after making a touchdown in Lakshadweep. As part of the annual “75 knots regatta’, the team of dauntless sailors consisted of Anil Madgavkar (Captain), Col. Milind Prabhu, Hemant Arondekar, Nitin Manjrekar and Divya Sharma. While they set out with the initial goal of hitting Maldives, they ended up reaching Kavaratti Island and Suheli Par Island in Lakshadweep. In this journey, they covered a total of 720 nautical miles (~1300 kms) over a period of 11 days.

This was the first time that a Goan has sailed from Goa to Lakshadweep. The success of this adventure has opened up all kinds of possibilities for Goan sailors and for ocean cruising businesses. Up until now, Goans have been sticking to participating in national competitions in India and local sea sailing.

The expedition was a brainchild of Cesar Menezes and Anil Madgavkar. Amongst the crew, only Madgavkar and Col. Prabhu had ocean sailing experience. However, this didn’t stop the team from tackling the mighty blue.

As they set off with the goal of reaching Uligamu Island of Maldives, little did they know about what was in store for them. Upon reaching Agatti Island off of the coast of Lakshadweep, the wind completely died down. The team was forced to utilise the motors that were reserved for emergencies. Eventually the engines began overheating and the team was forced to halt at Kavaratti Island. This continued for another week and finally the team was forced to return to Goa. The return was just as slow and difficult.

On the morning of 15th April, the team was thrown another challenge. A localised storm on the 15th of April threw up waves of over 3 metres and wind speeds of more than 30 knots. It went on for about 2 hours and even damaged the fore sail. However, the team fortified itself and braved the relentless storm until the end. Finally, the sky cleared up and winds picked up speed for a few hours.

Despite the many hurdles and a shortened journey, the joy and excitement felt by everyone was tangible. Goans had conquered a new challenge. They were no more just competing and sailing along the coast - they had created history by taking a leap of faith. This not only put Goa on the map as a land of sailboating, but also added another facet to its personality. Now tourists and sailing enthusiasts could find both sailboats and experienced sailors in Goa. They would now be able to open up opportunities for sports tourism stakeholders and recreational activities in the great blue.