Abhilash Tomy sets sail to have another crack at Golden Globe Race

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): Armed with an indomitable spirit of adventure and a never-say-die attitude, champion sailor Abhilash Tomy has returned to the Golden Globe Race (GGR), an enormously challenging solo and non-stop circumnavigation race that nearly left him paralysed in 2018. The former Indian Navy officer is making a fresh attempt at completing the daunting 30,000-mile race, which he was forced to quit after sustaining serious spinal injury.

The race began at Les Sables d'Olonne, a seaside town in Western France on the Atlantic Ocean, on Sunday night. The 43-year-old Abhilash will reattempt the gruelling race in the UAE-flagged boat 'Bayanat'. This edition of the GGR has 16 entrants including a woman sailor.

Conceptualised as a single-handed, non-stop race around the world without modern satellite-based aids, it is one of the world's toughest and longest sailboat competitions. The participants are allowed to use only the technologies that were available to sailors till the year 1968. That means they are required to circumnavigate the globe without GPS trackers, satellite-based technologies or even a computer. The sailors will have to make do with a compass, printed maps as well as stars and planetary movements.

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.

"I'm confident of finishing the race this time around. I hope to complete the voyage in 210 days," Abhilash told Manorama.

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