First Indian Solo Circumnavigation Under Sail

The book narrates the travails of a solo navigation

The book narrates the troubles the sailor had to undergo to achieve this commendable feat, reports Asian Lite news.

The First Indian, a book on a pioneer solo circumnavigation under sail by an Indian is being released on 5th April. The book is the personal account of the sailing of Commander Dilip Donde, a Clearance Diver in Indian Navy.

When Dilip volunteered for the feat in 2006, he was not aware of what it involved. The First Indian narrates the different tasks Dilip had to undertake to achieve this unprecedented feat. It included building a boat with an Indian boat-builder who had never built a sailboat before, weaving his way through the ‘sea-blind’ and often quixotic Indian bureaucracy, training himself with no precedent or knowledge base in the country, and, finally, sailing solo around the world with just four stops en route.

The book narrates the travails of  a solo navigation
The book narrates the travails of a solo navigation

Dilip was mentored by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston–the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world– who has also contributed a foreword to this new international edition of The First Indian. Sir Robin observes, “A solo sailor is solo, cut off from the world and outside assistance and dependent upon their own character and resourcefulness.”

Dilip’s journey was complete on 19th May 2010, when he sailed INSV Mhadei into Mumbai harbour and earned his place in India’s maritime history by becoming the first Indian to complete a solo circumnavigation under sail, south of the 3 Great Capes. This gruelling feat has been successfully completed by just over 200 people in the world.

Commander Dilip Donde graduated from the Indian National Defence Academy and was commissioned in the Indian Navy on 1st January 1990. He specialised as a Clearance Diver and held various command, staff and instructional appointments before volunteering to undertake a solo unassisted circumnavigation. He is a recipient of a number of prestigious Indian awards including the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award; the National Maritime Achievement Award; the Shaurya Chakra (Armed Forces peace time gallantry award); and the Macgregor Medal (valuable military reconnaissance).

The First Indian is an engrossing narrative of one man’s struggle to achieve his dream against all odds, and also a fast-paced adventure and a telling commentary on how heroes are often made despite the system they operate in, by dint of sheer perseverance and commitment to a chosen path.

Published by Fernhurst Books as part of their new Making Waves series, as a paperback and eBook, The First Indian will be available to buy from all bookshops, websites and direct from