Gaurav Shinde, 25, is looking forward to his initiation at the 'Crossing the Line' ceremony, an informal celebration for sailors crossing the equator for the first time.
Earlier this month, Shinde was selected to be part of a crew in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race starting in July 2013. According to sailingtimesindia.com, Shinde is the first Indian to be chosen for the race.
The race covers 40,000 miles across six continents in 11 months with individual races lasting up to 30 days at sea. A sailor since he was 12 years old, Shinde was part of the winning team at the Indian Offshore championships in 2008 and 2011.
But even as he is excited at the prospect of sailing in the southern ocean and the doldrums area near the equator, where the conditions fluctuate from thunderstorms to no wind, Shinde has another hurdle to cross.
"My first thought after my selection was how to raise money required for the competition and training program in the UK and also the North seas, English Channel and the Atlantic posing diverse and challenging conditions to prepare for the race," said Shinde, who is looking for sponsors. He had to leave his preparations for the London 2012 Olympics because of lack of sponsors.
Shinde, who is optimistic about making it in the competition, said sailing for more than three weeks on unpredictable waters throws a number of physical and mental challenges. "In addition to the physical exhaustion, the morale of every sailor is severely tested. As conditions in open waters change every two hours, it is necessary to get acclimatised to the yacht, the extreme climates and long durations at sea," said Shinde, who currently works as a search quality evaluator for Google India, Hyderabad.
For now, Shinde's ultimate dream is to sail in the Cape Horn region in South America through the 40ft waves and conquer what he believes is 'the final frontier of sailing'.