Les Sables-d’Olonne (France): Unfazed by rough seas, scorching sun and untimely showers, Malayali sailor Abhilash Tomy's boat 'Bayanat' has maintained its second position in the daunting Golden Globe Race (GGR).
The other day, he sailed past the Equator, an imaginary line which divides Earth into the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and entered the North Atlantic Ocean. The 44-year-old Abhilash, who has suffered multiple knockdowns during the course of the journey, had to deal with the doldrums around the Equator in windless conditions. Currently, Abhilash is about 5,870 kms [3,170 nautical miles) away from Les Sables d'Olonne, the finishing point located in Western France.
The doldrums is a nautical term that refers to the belt around the Earth near the equator with little wind but frequent clouds and storms. For some more days, the monotonous windless weather around the equator region might pose a huge challenge to the former Indian Navy officer, who is making a fresh attempt at completing the tough race, which he was forced to quit after sustaining serious spinal injury in 2018.
"For the last few days, I've been on the deck for most of the time. As there is absolutely no wind, and the boat is making very little headway, there is no other option but to wait for the occasional breeze to steer the boat forward. As unexpected showers make things worse, I am forced to stay on the deck wearing a raincoat. I have not been sleeping more than three hours a day," Abhilash said in a satellite phone message.
The 30,000-mile GGR, which began from Les Sables d'Olonne on September 4, 2022, completed 208 days on Thursday. Kirsten Neuschafer, the woman sailor from South Africa, who leads the race, too is stuck on windless waters near the Equator.
Of the 14 entrants who departed about seven months ago, only three are still in the race, which entails a solo, nonstop circumnavigation in a sailboat.
"Due to the inclement conditions, it might take extra days to complete the race. Therefore, I'm using the remaining food judiciously. I'm hoping to complete the race by the end of April," said Abhilash.