5 Years After Defying Death, Navy Sailor Completes Toughest Regatta

Commander Abhilash Tomy, a retired Indian Navy officer, has become the first Indian to complete the prestigious Golden Globe Race.

Saturday, April 29, 2023 - Austin Jacobs

Former Indian Navy Commander Abhilash Tomy completes the prestigious Golden Globe Race. In a remarkable feat of bravery and bravery, Indian Abhilash Tomy has become one of only two people to complete the world's toughest solo sailing regatta, the 2022 Golden Globe Race. The Navy commander retired and completed the non-stop circumnavigation of the world in a small boat without electronic aids, following South African navigator Kirsten Neuschafer at 1:30pm IST in Les Sables d'Olonne, France on Saturday. Commander Tomy sailed for 236 days on his 36-foot sailboat, the Bayanat. Race rules required entrants to use only equipment and technology available in 1968, such as sextants, paper charts, and wind-up timers.

The race started on September 4, 2022 from Les Sables-d'Olonne in France, with 16 sailors from 11 countries. Only two of them managed to complete the grueling challenge while endlessly cruising. It tested his physical and mental stamina to the limit. The only other finisher to date is sailor Simon Curwen, who was forced to make pit stops to fix problems with his boat, unlike Abhilash Tomy and Kirsten Neuschafer, who completed the race without stopping. Due to having to make pit stops, Simon did not get a podium finish.

Commander Tomy's journey was not without difficulties and dangers. He faced storms, isolation and fatigue. He also had to overcome a serious injury that nearly ended his sailing career five years ago. In 2018, while competing in the same race, he was caught in a violent storm in the Indian Ocean that snapped his boat's mast and left him with a broken spine. He was rescued by a French navy ship after three days of agony.

But he has not given up on his dream of sailing around the world. He underwent surgery and rehabilitation and prepared for another attempt. He said he wanted to prove to himself and to others that he could do it.

Commander Tomy was warmly welcomed by his family, friends and supporters as he crossed the finish line at Les Sables-d'Olonne on Saturday. He also received congratulations from the Chief of the Indian Navy, Admiral R Hari Kumar, who praised him for making India proud. Commander Tomy said he was happy and relieved to finish the race and thanked everyone who helped him along the way.

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