Golden Globe Race: Abhilash Tomy maintains second spot as another sailor drops out

Abhilash Tomy in his boat 'Bayanat' during the Golden Globe Race. Photo: Twitter/@abhilashtomy

Les Sables-d’Olonne (France): British sailor Ian Herbert-Jones, who was dismasted and injured in a major storm in the South Atlantic during the Golden Globe Race (GGR) on Monday, has been rescued.

Malayali sailor Abhilash Tomy, who is currently in the second position, had met with a similar accident in the 2018 edition of the non-stop circumnavigation race that nearly left him paralysed.

Jones called for help late on Monday when his boat 'Puffin' was hit by winds of more than 90 knots (100mph) as he approached South America. The 52-year-old solo sailor suffered a back and shoulder injury, as well as a cut to his head after he had his boat roll over and dismast. Jones had already been out of the main event of the GGR after he was forced to make a stopover to fix his boat. He has been moved down to the Chichester Class of the GGR. Competitors shift to this class by making one stop. Another British sailor Simon Curwen has also been shifted to this category.

Abhilash, who successfully completed a single handed and nonstop circumnavigation of the globe under sail in 2012-13, was in the third position when a storm dismasted his boat in the middle of the Indian Ocean during the 50th anniversary edition of the GGR. After a three-day global search and rescue effort, he was rescued by French shipping vessel Osiris.

Currently, Abhilash's boat 'Bayanat' is about 3,880 kms (2,160 nautical miles) away from Les Sables d'Olonne, the finishing point located in Western France.

"After crossing the Equator and passing through the doldrums, where I was stuck in windless conditions, I'm now taking full advantage of the steady breeze. The boat is in perfect condition. I'm fully focused on reaching the finishing point at the earliest," Abhilash said in a satellite phone message.

Kirsten Neuschafer, the woman sailor from South Africa, continues to lead the race. After she too got stuck on windless waters near the Equator, Abhilash was also able to close the gap with her by about 100 nautical miles. He is hopeful of completing the race by the first week of May.

Of the 14 entrants who departed about seven months ago, only three are still in the race. The third-placed Austrian Michael Guggenberger is trailing Abhilash by about 1,000 nautical miles.

Conceptualised as a single-handed, non-stop race around the world without modern satellite-based aids, the GGR is one of the toughest and longest sailboat competitions in the world.

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