Not satisfied with circumnavigating the globe solo the first time, Commander (Cdr) Abhilash Tomy is getting ready for his second circumnavigation as part of the Golden Globe Race (GGR).
The 30,000-mile race will begin on July 1, and see 18 other skippers compete to sail around the world in a non-motorised sailboat. Cdr Tomy of the Indian Navy is a special invitee at the race. He had first circumnavigated the globe in 2012-13, becoming the first Indian to achieve the feat by sailing for 151 days on INS Mhadei.
The Golden Globe Race is being held to commemorate 50 years since it was last held, for the first and only time when Sir Robin Knox-Johnston completed the voyage in 312 days becoming the first human to finish solo, unassisted and non-stop circumnavigation of the world.
The Golden Globe Race
The GGR will prove to be a big challenge for sailors as they will have to use equipment, tools and a boat similar to the one used by Sir Johnston. Despite the advances in modern sailing technology, sailors will have to navigate using celestial objects and physical maps, and communication with the outside world is limited to a lone satellite phone for use in medical emergencies only.
Starting from Les Sables d'Olonne in France, skippers will go south till Cape of Good Hope, continue sailing eastward in the southern hemisphere to pass the international dateline, and pass Cape of Horn to start sailing north in the Atlantic Ocean for the final leg.
Before sailing out for Les Sables d'Olonne, there were a series of events held at Flymouth in the UK. Sir Johnston was also present there. In the two weeks to July 1, mandatory checks, including ones on safety, are being carried out and the sailors are getting the boat ready for the long-haul voyage.
Cdr Tomy's attempt
Cdr Tomy is being supported by the Indian Navy and Aquarius Shipyard, while Cdr (Retd) Dilip Donde, the first Indian to circumnavigate the world with stops, will be overseeing as the base manager. He plans to complete the voyage in 311 days, beating Sir Johnston's record.
At the Sagarparikrama (the first circumnavigation), I had used GPS-based maps and other satellite-based technologies. But at GGR, I have to make do with a compass, printed maps, and star and planetary movements. There is a solitary HF radio set for contact. The size of the boat limits the possibility to carry water. Sir Robin had used rainwater and I will have to do the same. There is no help from the outside world throughout the race."
He is being sponsored by the Indian Navy, Aquarius Shipyard Ltd and Goa Shipyard Ltd. Equipment sponsors include Elcome (communications), Windpilot (autopilot), Decathlon (clothing) and Jellyfish Water Sports (water maker).
People can track Cdr Tomy's voyage either through the GCR website, that will provide positional updates every three hours and weekly sound bites as well as through his Facebook page, which is being maintained by a media team.