Beautiful People

Antara has been out on the water for almost 10 months now. And what an opportunity she has provided to meet the most amazing, interesting, different people. Once people get on a boat they relax and begin to enjoy the quiet, the lapping waves and the sound of the gulls. And then, invariably, we have great conversations. It’s the equivalent of the camaraderie at a bar with friends feasting on discussions, jokes, reminiscences and good cheer.
Atul and Satish both are graduates of the Pune School of Engineering and both hold a few patents each in their respective fields. Atul sailed for the first time in his life, with us. He runs his own business and also leads an NGO that offers slum children support for their educational needs. He started out with teaching children in poorer parts of Boston as a student there and carried on the good work, on his return home. His endeavours cover over 150,000 children in Mumbai and Pune. Satish started sailing at 70. He is an avid trekker with ageing kne…

A short hop to Devgad

After a few charters up and down to Bombay, we decided to take a break and sail with a friend, to the lovely harbour of Devgad. We had driven there last year, along the beautiful coastal road, precisely for this reason. Have a look at the blog I wrote about that trip. We now knew it had an accessible harbour and a beautiful beach. We also got hold of the chart that mapped out the sea around Devgad and transferred the relevant data onto our electronic chart. So when Keith came visiting, we were all set to go. Have a look at our video of the trip.
Leaving early that morning, we got to Antara and hooked up our dinghy to the roll bar, tucked the outboard motor inside and cast off. The winds were kind and even though we were headed North, the swell was well, swell! By evening we were at Vengurla Rocks and comfortable settled in to the boat routine. Dinner was a delicious pasta bolognaise that Keith has rustled up to celebrate his first long sail along the Indian coast. 
The winds however, de…

Charter chatter

With two charters under our belt and two more signed up, we can now say that we have indeed, launched.

Each sail is a different, fascinating, novel experience. Though we cover the same area every time we sail between Goa and Bombay, each trip has something different to offer. The very first one had us racing ahead of the cyclone Kyarr and returning leisurely with a memorable visit to Jaigad. See my earlier blog for that story.

The second sail to Bombay was our first of the new year 2020. We sailed back with our first guests: Kedar, Arun and Abhinav. Arun, unfortunately, had a bout of sea sickness and stayed on deck to ward off the nausea. The novelty of being out at sea with no land in sight had these guys up till late in the night.

 The full moon lent a hand to create a serene, incandescent sail. The weather gods were feeling indulgent and we reached Vengurla rocks early on the third day. They made for an awesome spectacle as we passed within touching distance of them. Our first sign…

Sun, Moon and Star

Last week was memorable in more ways than one. Antara did her first non-stop 3-day sail; she rounded her first Cape (Cabo de Rama); we had the youngest crew member yet: 10-year-old Neel Patil; Antara had her first experience of diving; two of us, Neel and I, did our first dives ever; and, all this on the last full moon of this decade.

We left Donal Paula, bright and early on the 13th with Ajay and Neel as our guests for this sail. Our destination was Netrani, a small island off Murdeshwar on the Karnataka coast. A downwind sail made it an easy ride for our newbie sailors. Neel took to it like a duck to water, exploring the boat on nimble feet and a sturdy heart. His favourite hangout was the bow, which he occupied as often as possible. 

The first day of sailing is usually tiring, even for us, so it was no surprise when Neel nodded off to sleep right after dinner. We started the day with a breakfast of eggs and toast made fresh on the boat. Having learnt from earlier sails, I had prepare…

Tomorrow, Land

After 10 days of stressing over the next thunderstorm, rushing to Antara and spending nights onboard chewing our nails about if the mooring will hold; we decided to speed up our plans for Bombay.
On October 17th we set off on our first long sail on Antara. Casting off at 1030 that morning, we cruised our way to Ratnagiri, reaching there the next morning. We came alongside one of the tugs used by Finolex, in their beautiful anchorage at Pawas Bay. 
The Patankars ensured a warm welcome and Finolex followed suit. Casting off the next morning, Devdutt Patankar filmed our first video of Antara sailing with both sails up.
We sailed right into a squall and the wet weather saw us all the way through to Bombay. The winds gave us speed though and we moved at a regular clip of 6kts. After spotting the skyline at 1530 the next day, we had Murphy ensure that the winds came at us from our destination. Sail boats can only sail at an angle to the wind, so we spent a few hours tacking repeatedly, till t…

Storm in a teacup

Dussehra night had us scrambling again. Around midnight we had winds gusting to 37 knots and the boat had drifted towards the seabirds moored in the bay. We cranked up the engine and moved out of there as fast as we could. The winds were strong and the engine was barely able to move us. The next 3 hours has us parading up and down the river waiting for the squall to move on.

We went right back to sleep after that. It's amazing how quickly one adapts to circumstances and eventually find joy in the little things. A gorgeous sunset, birds on a wire, fried fish and wine dinners, scrabble by torchlight, a skyful of stars at 0300. 

So we need to fix two things and quickly. One is the mooring and the other is hired help for the dinghy and other odd jobs. The mooring needs more weight and we have ordered for a cement packed truck tyre to supplement the car tyre we are using. That should be ready in a couple of days. 

The tindal started today. As of now, we're just happy not to have to ha…

The Elephantas

The retreating monsoon often offers a parting kick in the form of sudden thunderstorms called elephantas. One such thunderstorm caught us off guard on the night of the 5th. A local GYA assistant, Jaydas woke up for a pee at 4 in the morning and noticed a mast close to the jetty. A closer look shook the sleep from his eyes and he called Dilip.
A look at the caller ID was enough for Dilip to surmise the worst and jump out of bed. We tore down to the jetty to find Antara just metres away. The strong winds and tousled seas had lifted the mooring and dragged both the boat and the mooring. Jaydas started up his dinghy and we clambered in. He dropped us to Antara and we promptly started up the engine. Yesterday's escapade and our subsequent gentle administrations saw the engine purr into prompt action. We cleared the mooring lines and motored away.
The next few hours were spent parading up and down the river till morning broke. We came back to our original mooring place and put down the a…