Navyman gets ready for second circumnavigation of globe

Cdr Abhilash Tomy aboard Thuriya.

Cdr Abhilash Tomy is ready for his second solo circumnavigation of the globe in a non-motorised sailboat called “Thuriya”.

He sailed into Les Sables d'Olonne in France a few days ago, in time for the July 1 flag-off of the 30,000-mile Golden Globe Race.

There are 18 skippers at the start line and Cdr Tomy of the Indian Navy is a special invitee at the race. Cdr Tomy had first circumnavigated the globe in 2012-13, becoming the first Indian to achieve the feat by sailing for 151 days in INS Mhadei.

According to an Eastern Naval Command press release, the race is being held to commemorate 50 years since it was held for the first and last time, in which Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's successfully completed the voyage in 312 days.

The biggest challenge is to have equipment, tools and boat which resemble the one used by Sir Johnston, despite the change in technology. Navigation will have to be done looking at celestial objects using physical maps. Communication with the outside world will also be limited as the lone satellite phone is for use in medical emergency alone.

Starting from Les Sables d'Olonne, skippers will go south till Cape of Good Hope, continue sailing eastward in the southern hemisphere to pass the international dateline, and pass Cape of Horn to start sailing north in the Atlantic Ocean for the final leg. Cdr Tomy is aiming to complete the race in 311 days, one day less than Sir Johnston.

He will be sailing in the 10-metre Thuriya, whose design is similar to Sir Johnston's boat 'Suhaili', which was incidentally manufactured in Colaba, Mumbai.

Thuriya has been built in Goa at Ratnakar Dandekar's Aquarius Shipyard. Cdr Tomy has supplies consisting of specially-prepared food items and fresh water in the limited space on board.

Cdr Tomy is being supported by the Indian Navy and the Aquarius Shipyard for the race, while Cdr (Retd) Dilip Donde, the first Indian to circumnavigate the world with stops, will be overseeing as the base manager.

“There is a solitary HF radio set for contact. The size of the boat limits the possibility to carry water. Sir Robin had used rainwater. I will have to do the same. There is no help from the outside world throughout the race,” Cdr Abhilash said.

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Navyman gets ready for second circumnavigation of globe

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