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Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Dragonflies are Dead

10-11-12-2000-sagarparikrama2-1The dragonflies are dead and the sparrow and grasshopper are missing. I guess I have to do this circumnavigation all by myself now.
It appeared I was all alone when another bird flapped its wings and sat on the starboard runner. Wednesday evening passed in the company of this creature which shifted its perch as I moved about the boat. For a change, its fear was not infectious because I had a breeze and the breeze wanted to stay up and I wanted to eke out every bit of speed I could.
Thursday morning saw another windless spate. Friends have been sending in their wishes. Though they don’t seem to be doing any good, they do keep me in good humour. Swapnali sent the picture of a turbine and Badresh has promised to eat more beans. A passing ship rigged up a fan at its bow and positioned itself two hundred metres from my stern. Savitha sent a poem a poem from Sweden.
Wind On The Hill
No one can tell me,
Nobody knows,
Where the wind comes from,
Where the wind goes.
It’s flying from somewhere,
As fast as it can,
I couldn’t keep up with it,
Not if I ran.
But if I stopped holding
The string of my kite,
It would blow with the wind
For a day and a night.
And then when I found it,
Wherever it blew,
I should know that the wind
Had been going there too.
So then I could tell them,
Where the wind goes…
But where the wind comes from
Nobody knows.
(A.A. Milne)
It has been battle stations ever since the wind died. At first I took it casually hoping wind would catch up. By the second day I was worried and ever since it has been battle stations. A permanent lookout was posted whose only job was to lookout for tell tale ripples announcing the arrival of fresh breeze. Sails would be hoisted at the slightest hint and dropped before the swell could do any damage. With the A3 up, sleep became even less. A 3 knot breeze would be attended to with the same respect as a 30 knot gale.
I can now tell why early mariners were so superstitious. They needed to live with what was thrust upon them and there was nothing much in their hands once they were at sea. All they could do was wait and hope.
Friday was a different day. It saw the sea stir up a breeze that allowed me to chug along at 3-4 knots all day. I made some distance good and turned landward so that I could take advantage of better breeze in the Palk Bay, whenever I get there.
konk-malabarUrmimala meanwhile busied herself to give an illustration of what my position appears to her. She ended up producing another fantastic (she says it is still incomplete) illustration. She sees me passing the Malabar coast following the paths of traders who often visited for spices. It reminded me of an interesting message from a Colonel from Brazil who had visited the boat in Goa. He compared our voyage from Goa to Brazil as reversing the route of Cabral who accidentally discovered Brazil and South America while retracing the voyage of Vasco da Gama to India.

The law of averages will catch up for sure. There is plenty of winds in store up ahead but till then I wont mind the tail end of a cyclone.
Meanwhile here is a video on how to rig up the A3 in light winds all by yourself.
Rigging the A3


  1. Pity there aren't any boys around to flog! It surely must've been a source of amusement in the bad old days. Keep your chin up tiger.

  2. U r never alone..all wishes,prayers nd blessings r sailing wid u..these windless situations r shortterm,giving u warmup for handling bigger ones..Cheers!

  3. Hi Abhilash!

    Good to hear that you're doing well... don't worry, the winds will come!

    Did you manage to read the Business Standard report that I wrote literally on the way back to Delhi from Goa? If not, it is posted on my blog at:

    Be safe, be healthy, be happy!


  4. someone wrote "If a stone is broken by the last stroke, it does not mean that the first stroke was useless. Success is the result of everydays effort."

  5. Ajai,

    Thanks for sharing

    Really it was great to know more about Mhadei.

    Specially liked conversation between Cdr Donde and the supertanker. :)

  6. Ajai Sir.. Yes we all read the article. I think it was very well written and the hours of grilling was well worth it! I have a mild breeze now and we are moving alone quite well.

  7. I have prayed to Varuna the God of the celestial oceans again today for your voyage and safe return.tracking you everyday on your blog Dr Padmanabhan Mumbai

  8. Commodore Donde: Why no updates on this blog from saturday Nov 10,2012.Admirers of Lt Cdr abhilash tomy are eagerly waiting for an update Dr Padmanabhan Mumbai

    1. Dear Dr. I am trying to keep up about two blogs a week. Expect one on Wednesday and the other on Sunday.

  9. Dear Tomy, Nice write up. Wishing for fair winds soon. We've also got into some kind of ITCZ. 500 tons Square rigger is refusing to move. Welcome to Equatorial waters.....

    Cdr N Shyam Sundar
    CO, Sudarshini

    1. I can understand how it would be with your ship! I am moving, not very fast but satisfactorily moving sir.

    2. Wishing you all the best wish Both gods Varian & Vayu Will give you favourable conditions for smooth sailing