It was yet another milestone in the life of Kishore Mariwala, Royal Bombay Yacht Club’s intrepid seafarer as he hoisted sail on his modern 35 feet Jeanneau yacht “Tara” for the Maldives on 15 April 2010. Accompanying him on the trip this time was his mate Jamshed Godrej on his classic yacht “Tir” and the two veterans spent the next few weeks charting their course across the Arabian Sea and exploring the pristine islands of the Maldives. The spirit of this truly remarkable adventure can best described in the words of Mariwala himself, “To experience the elements and explore places”.
Mariwala is a true sea salt who has been actively sailing for more than 50 years. His passion for the seas was born during his early life as college student in the USA. He returned to India in 1963 and pursued his interest by actively participating the Royal Bombay Yacht Club’s sailing fixtures. In 1965 he bought his first boat, a Merlin Rocket sailing dinghy and later went on to own an Enterprise dinghy and a Bombay Harbour Sea Bird day boat. As he grew out of competitive sailing, Mariwala spent increasing time cruising the West Coast of India in his Seabird. He was soon a regular voyager seen around Goa, Vapi, Porbandar and other places along the coast. Mariwala’s desire to sail to distant ports was realised when he acquired his first cruising yacht, a Westerly Fulmar and sailed to the Laccadive Islands and the Middle East.
The trip to the Maldives this year was carefully planned with some of Mariwala’s sailing friends taking turns to join him during different stages of the voyage. The two yachts sailed from Bombay to Cochin and thereon to Male, stopping by some of the most beautiful atolls and islands along the way. The Maldive Islands are formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls stretching in a north-south direction off India’s Laccadive Islands, between Minicoy Island and the Chagos Archipelago. The closest point in the Maldives is the Uleguma Atoll, 260 nautical miles or a three days sail from Cochin. Male, the capital of Maldives is a good deal further south of Uleguma and Mariwala and his team took a few days to reach there. The return voyage to Bombay was tough with the wind and wave on the yachts forward quarter but the yacht Tara with seasoned Mariwala at helm handled the sea conditions with ease.
Mariwala has a piece of advice for those who are serious about sailing long distances, “Be familiar with the coastal and offshore navigational techniques even though your boat may be well equipped with the latest navigational gadgets”. You can be sure he packs his Admiralty books, almanacs and his complete set of charts along with his trusted magnetic compass whenever he sets sail.