Commander Abhilash Tomy is ready to sail out for his second solo circumnavigation of the globe in a non-motorised sailboat. The Indian Navy officer, who will participate in the Golden Globe Race (GGR) that begins from France on 1 July, had accomplished his first such mission in 2012-13.
Cdr Tomy reached Les Sables d’Olonne in France a few days ago for the 30,000 mile race, an official statement issued by the Ministry of Defence through the Press Information Bureau (PIB) said on Thursday.
The GGR commemorates 50 years since the first time, and the last time, this race was held. This race saw Sir Robin Knox-Johnston successfully completing the circumnavigation in 312 days, becoming the first human being to do a solo, unassisted, nonstop journey around the world.
There are 18 captains at the starting line, and Commander Tomy of the Indian Navy, who has been preparing for this race since 2016, is a special invitee to this event.
Commander Tomy is aiming to finish the race in 311 days, one day less than Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s timing!
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston arriving into Les Sables d'Olonne aboard his beautiful ship, Suhaili pic.twitter.com/fyI5Xkm5mM
— Golden Globe Race 2018 (@ggr2018official) June 18, 2018
Starting from Les Sables d’Olonne, France, the sailors 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.
No Help From Technology
During the voyage to circumnavigate the world, participants are not allowed to use technologies that are common today. Instead, they will have to rely on equipment, tools and boats which resemble the one used in the original race 50 years ago, and nothing more.
So, they will have to navigate using positions of celestial objects and physical maps. The only communication allowed is a satellite phone, that too only for medical emergencies.
Here is an image Commander Tomy shared on Twitter.
Robin on Suhaili with me on Thuriya. Epic pic, I would say pic.twitter.com/WYX4Nill3p
— Abhilash Tommy (@abhilashtomy) May 28, 2018
Commander Tomy is not new to such a campaign. He had circumnavigated the globe for the first time after sailing for 151 days in 2012-13. Sailing in the INS Mhadei, he had become the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe without stops. He was honoured with the Kirti Chakra for accomplishing this feat.
During his first circumnavigation (the Sagarparikrama expedition of the Indian Navy), he had used GPS-based mapping and other satellite based technologies. However, this time, he will have to make do with a compass, maps, and planet and star movements in the Golden Globe Race.
In other words, he would have to complete the race mostly on his own.
Limited Space On Board
Love it. Loathe it. But you can’t ignore ready to eat meals from India. pic.twitter.com/uwaewTh1zG
— Abhilash Tommy (@abhilashtomy) June 3, 2018
Commander Abhilash Tomy will be sailing in the 10-metre-long ‘Thuriya’. With the paucity of space, there is not enough freshwater that he can carry with him. “Sir Robin had used rain water…I will have to do the same,” he said.
In a question and answer session with the PIB, Commander Abhilash Tomy listed all the things that he would be carrying on his voyage. This included 1,000 meals that are frozen and tinned; 300 litres of water; 140 litres of fuel; four gas cylinders of 10 kg each; a suit of 14 sails, and lots of spares for the engine.
He will also be carrying sextants, charts, and a direction finder.
Commander Tomy is being supported by the Indian Navy and Aquaris Shipyard. Commander (retired) Dilip Donde who was the first Indian to circumnavigate the world with stops, will be overseeing the expedition as the base manager.
Close On The Heels Of INSV Tarini
Commander Abhilash Tomy is participating in the race close on the heels of the success of the Navika Sagar Parikrama by the all-woman crew of INSV Tarini. The six-member Indian Navy crew completed their 254-day mission when they arrived in Goa on 21 May.
INSV Tarini had left Goa on 10 September 2017 and had four ports of call as part of its itinerary: Fremantle in Australia, Lytttleton in New Zealand, Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands, and Cape Town in South Africa.
Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi was the skipper of INSV Tarini. The other crew members were Pratibha Jamwal, P Swati, both Lieutenant Commanders, and S Vijaya Devi, Payal Gupta, and Aishwarya Boddapati, all Lieutenants.
The Navika Sagar Parikrama was in consonance with the national policy to empower women and change the societal attitudes and mindset towards women in India.