Nation Other News 29 Jun 2018 Cdr Abhilash Tomy on ...

Cdr Abhilash Tomy on solo sail again

Published Jun 29, 2018, 1:24 am IST
Updated Jun 29, 2018, 1:24 am IST
Cdr Abhilash Tomy on his boat Thuriya.
 Cdr Abhilash Tomy on his boat Thuriya.

Visakhapatnam: Naval officer Commander Abhilash Tomy, the only Indian to sail solo around the world non-stop, is ready for his second solo circumnavigation. He will sail the Thuriya around the world in the historic 30,000-mile Golden Globe Race which will be flagged off from Les Sables d'Olonne, France on July 1. A total of 18 sailors will be starting the race. Cdr Tomy is a special invitee. The race is being held to commemorate 50 years of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston successfully completing the solo, unassisted and non-stop circumnavigation in 312 days.

The biggest challenge at the GGR is to have equipment, tools and boat which resemble the ones used by Sir Johnston. Navigation will have to be done by looking at celestial objects and using physical maps. Communication with the outside world will be limited as the lone satellite phone is for use only in a medical emergency. Cdr Tomy first circumnavigated the globe in 2012-13, becoming the first Indian to achieve the feat by sailing for 151 days in the INS Mhadei.   Cdr Tomy aims to complete the race in 311 days, one day less than the time Sir Johntson's took.

His 10-metre boat, the Thuriya, has a design that is similar to Sir Johnston's Suhaili, which was, incidentally, manufactured in Colaba, Mumbai.  The Thuriya has been built in Goa at Ratnakar Dandekar's Aquarius Shipyard. After starting from France, the boats will sail south on the Atlantic, round off the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, travel eastward passing Australia and Tasmania, cross the international dateline travel past the Cape Horn in South America and then head North back to France. Cdr Tomy has supplies consisting of specially prepared food items and fresh water in the limited space on board.  

Before sailing out for Les Sables d'Olonne, there were a series of events held in Plymouth, UK from where the first race was flagged off and where Sir Johntson was also present. In the two weeks to July 1, mandatory checks, including ones on safety, are being carried out and the sailors are getting the boat ready for the long-haul voyage.   Explaining the challenges that await him, Cdr Tomy said, “During the Sagarparikrama (the first circumnavigation), I had used GPS-based maps and satellite-based technologies. At the GGR, I have to make do with a compass, printed maps and star and planetary movements. There is a solitary high frequency radio set for contact. The size of the boat limits the possibility of carrying water. Sir Johnston had collected rainwater and used it. I will have to do the same. There is no help from the outside world throughout the race.”

Location: India, Andhra Pradesh


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