Solo non-stop circumnavigator Abhilash Tomy opens up
Commander Abhilash Tomy, 42, a retired Indian naval officer was the first Indian to circumnavigate non-stop the World solo without any stops in 2013.
He shared his experience with The Hindu during the National sailing championships recently. Excerpts:
What inspired you to take up the around the world solo expedition?
I was fascinated by the “Around Alone” race in which a French lady was the champion. I was very impressed and wanted to emulate her and sail alone when I grew up.
I joined the Navy sailing team and was sent to Mumbai for six months training in 2008. I was chosen as the service back-up for Dilip Doade’s solo circumnavigation and gained valuable experience in 2009-10.
Later the Navy offered me a chance to circumnavigate the world solo without stops in 2013.
Tell us about your circumnavigation experience
I undertook the expedition from Mumbai (called Sagar Parikrama 2) on November 1, 2012 and returned to the city on March 31, 2013, completing a voyage of 23,100 nautical miles without any stops.
The then President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, gave a ceremonial reception at the Gateway of India on April 6, 2013. I was the first Indian, second Asian and 79th person to accomplish this feat.
Your experience competing in the 2018 Golden Globe race
I raced solo in a 10m/32 feet boat with no modern equipment for support.
It was a very challenging race. It started and ended in France. I improved my position after 10/15 days and after 82 days was in third position.
The last 15 days were the most difficult, as I experienced bad weather, storms and had a bad accident near Australia and my boat was damaged.
I had a fall and broke my spine. I was rescued in a multinational rescue effort. I was operated upon and rejoined duty after six months after passing the military medicals for flying / sailing.
In January this year, I took early retirement to prepare for the 2022 race.
Why this race again?
I love sailing. I like to be cut off from the world and it has given me more individuality. Spiritually I am involved with nature and the sea and it leads to a great feeling within me.
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