One of only two sailors from India, Abhilash Tomy, competed in the most challenging solo sailing competition in the world, the Golden Globe Event 2022.
A former Navy Commander replaced South African sailor Kirsten Neuschafer at the helm at 1:30 PM IST on Saturday at Les Sables d’Olonne, France, to finish the non-stop circumnavigation on a small boat without any electronic help.
He spent 236 days at sea on Commander Tomy’s 36-foot yacht, the Bayanat. The regulations of the competition restricted participants to the use of instruments that were generally available in 1968, including sextants, paper charts, and wind-up chronometers.
16 sailors from 11 different countries started the race in Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, on September 4, 2022. Only two of them managed to finish the difficult task while still sailing. Their physical and mental strength was greatly strained as a result of this.
Simon Curwen, the only other contestant to date, had to halt the race in order to repair problems with his boat, in contrast to Abhilash Tomy and Kirsten Neuschafer, who completed it without stopping. Simon had to stop and relax. Thus he was unable to place third.
The journey of Commander Tomy wasn’t without risks and difficulties. He had to contend with storms, loneliness, and tiredness. A major accident that nearly destroyed his sailing career five years ago also required him to rehabilitate.
He had an injury in the same competition in 2018 when he was caught in a violent storm in the Indian Ocean that fractured his back and shattered the mast of his boat. He had to endure three days of suffering before he received assistance from a French navy ship.
He persisted in his desire to sail across the world, though. He underwent surgery, made a full recovery, and prepared for a second attempt. He claimed he wanted to demonstrate his ability to do it to both himself and others.
At Les Sables-d’Olonne on Saturday, Commander Tomy was supported by family, friends and admirers as he crossed the finish line. The commander of the Indian Navy, Admiral R. Hari Kumar, complimented him and declared that he had made India proud.
Commander Tomy acknowledged his appreciation for everyone’s help as well as his joy and satisfaction at the event’s conclusion.
Reference: Hindustan Times, NDTV