The ORS Int. is the official adjudicator of ocean rowing records for Guinness World Records



Alone on a boat, he plans to cross the Atlantic

Pallavi Singh

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 long boat.

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 says.

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 route.’’

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 dangers.

‘‘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.’’


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