Abhilash Tomy conquers ‘Everest of Sailors’; Golden Globe Race heading for a tight finish

Abhilash Tomy
Abhilash Tomy waves aboard his monohull Bayanat as he leaves Les Sables-d’Olonne at the start of the Golden Globe Race. Photo: AFP/Sebastien Salom-Gomis

Les Sables d’Olonne (France): Malayali sailor Abhilash Tomy has adventurously sailed around the Cape Horn, known as the ‘Everest of the Sailors’, battling bustling winds and giant waves, as he closed in on the leader Kirsten Neuschafer (RSA) in the last leg of the Golden Globe Yacht Race, 2022, that is set for a tight finish.

Abhilash Tomy, circumnavigated Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America where the Atlantic and Pacific oceans meet, on Saturday at midnight Indian Standard Time. Rounding Cape Horn is said to be the nautical equivalent of reaching Mount Everest’s summit. With this, he came the second of the four sailors who are in the title contention to go round the Cape Horn.

Kirsten Neuschafer, the women sailor from South Africa who leads the race, sped fast the southernmost headland on the night of February 15 itself.

With this feat, Abhilash conquered all three big Capes – Cape Leeuwin in Australia, Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, and Cape Horn in Chile. Now his yacht ‘Bayanat’ has entered the last leg of the world’s most challenging sailboat competition.

Abhilash has started sailing at top gear to gain on leader Kirsten as they head back to finish in Les Sables d’Olonne port in France, where all the action began on September 4 last year. He has to sail 6890 nautical miles (0ne nautical mile is equivalent to 1.85 km) more to get over the finishing line. Kirsten is ahead of Abhilash by 416 nautical miles. But in the last 24 hours, Abhilash could sail 206 nautical miles and closed in on Kirsten, who could cover only 101 nautical miles.

“The last few days, I was struggling in heavy weather and had the safety aspect in my mind. Now I will attempt to sail at maximum speed,” Abhilash Tomy said in a satellite phone message.

The retired Indian Navy officer became the first Indian to complete a solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the world under sail in 2013.

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