BY DNYANESH MOGHE
Unfazed by the mishap during the first edition of the Golden Globe Race in 2018 in which he was injured after getting caught in a storm in the Indian Ocean, Abhilash Tomy is going strong in the race in his second attempt.
This is the third time he is circumnavigating the world in a boat, named Bayanat. He is the first Indian to circumnavigate the world solo and non-stop in a boat in 2012-13. The second attempt was in 2018 in the Golden Globe Race where he had to suffer a storm setback.
This round-the-clock GGR lasts about eight-nine months. The third edition of GGR was launched in September 2022. To participate in this race, Abhilash retired from the Indian Navy in 2021. He stayed fully focused on this competition despite his body becoming weak after the injury.
His legs became so limp that he could hardly walk. He had to learn to walk all over again. He once wrote in his Facebook post: 'I learned to walk, then climbed into the cockpit and got back to flying and sailing. Three years later, I am participating again in the same race.'
Currently, his boat is sailing through the eastern part of South America (near Rio). The race started on September 4, 2022. A total of 16 started in this race, but only three, including Tomy, are competing hard to finish.
The race is like a battle with the sea and the elements. It is difficult to say anything conclusively about what will happen next. As on March 8, in the South Atlantic, Abhilash was second and South Africa's Kirsten led the race.
Although Abhilash Tomy hails from Kochi-Kerala, his family has been residing in Porvorim since 2017. His wife Urmi and their young children look forward to his return.
The year 1968-69 saw the first edition of this race when men set foot on the moon. Unlike other competitions where state-of-the-art boats are used, GGR allows only low-tech, vintage-style boats that lack modern electronic aids leaving no chance for communication.
The sailor's wife Urmi says, "Since the start of the race, I've had no direct contact with Abhilash. However, if any other boat passes by, Abhilash asks the captain to send a message home."
When asked how she copes with this situation, Urmi says, "I keep myself busy with work and stick to my routine and kids. I don't go out much, but read and pray."
The end of the race is still a month and a half away. Tomy has been on the boat for seven months continuously. Although he can see the shore, he cannot dock there. He has ration sufficient to last one year. If it rains, the participants are allowed to collect and use the rainwater.
This yacht race started in a small village, Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, and will end there.