a boat, he plans to cross the Atlantic
Mumbai, October 30
SOMETIMES, you take on life’s
toughest challenges during the most unpredictable of moments.
Like Bhavik Gandhi’s (27) telephone call to Rune Larsson, one of
the world’s best extreme-distance runners, on a fine winter
morning in 2004.
The conversation fortified Sweden-based Gandhi’s split-second
resolve made during a cycling expedition in Istanbul: To row
across the Atlantic Ocean, solo.
Only 32 successful attempts have been made at rowing solo across
the world’s second largest ocean. And Gandhi will spend an
estimated 90 days rowing nonstop from Spain to Barbados—that’s
3,000 nautical miles or 5,000 km—across the Atlantic, on a 23-ft
It’s a formidable challenge, but the Mumbai-born venture
capitalist is undaunted.
After all, Larsson, the first Swede to row across the Atlantic
in 2001, thought it was ‘‘the greatest thing’’ Gandhi—if
successful, he will be the first Indian to do so—could do.
‘‘The challenge of endurance sport gets in the blood,’’ said
Gandhi, who studied at Bombay Scottish till Std VIII before
moving to Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom for further studies.
‘‘This is not for the faint-hearted, but nothing is more
satisfying than riding on the ocean waves, to see how
controllable they are, or you are.’’
After meeting Larsson in Stockholm, the ball was set rolling:
Physical and mental training, sessions on endurance-sport
nutrition, and most importantly, survival training.
Planning to make the trip in January next year, it’s Gandhi’s
only interest now.
‘‘The previous exercises have helped me in strengthening my
physical and mental faculties for a bigger challenge. Now, I
must row across the Atlantic, purely for the excitement,’’ he
But there’s more to the management graduate from the University
of London than a passion for endurance sports.
The founder and principal partner at the venture capital fund
Development Venture Capital Group, Gandhi has founded more than
half-a-dozen IT ventures in the tele-communications, retail, new
media, outsourcing and non-profit sectors.
‘‘The excitement of starting something new keeps me going—be it
business ventures or adventure sports,’’ he says. ‘‘Also, I
think running marathons is just a cliche, I prefer making my own
Mumbai-based mother Usha Ambani, a lawyer, is worried for the
eldest of her two sons. Scouting for sponsors for the Euro
100,000 ocean rowing venture, Gandhi is also aware of the
‘‘I can’t control the weather and freak waves,’’ he admits.
‘‘This will be a personal test to know how much I can maximise
control over nature and myself.’’
Until then, what will he like to be known as? ‘‘The world’s best
time manager,’’ he quips. ‘‘Because I do a lot of things and
feel much needs to be done even after rowing across the Altantic.’’