Abhilash Tomy: The Solo Golden Globe Sailor Gets Rescued

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The Indian Naval Officer rescued by a French vessel; found in a stable condition

abhilash tomy KreedOn
Image Source: Twitter

After being stranded in the Indian Ocean for over 3 days, Indian yachtsman, Abhilash Tomy, was rescued safely. He was competing in the Golden Globe race. His vessel Thuriya was hit several times by 80 mph winds and 46-foot seas midway across the South Indian Ocean. The storm had left Abhilash injured and his yacht severely damaged. He was 3rd in the competition when the incident occurred.

Having seen his satellite phone damage in the storm, Tomy was successful in communicating through a texting unit. In his first message, he informed he had a severe back injury thus making him immobile. He also added he was unable to eat or drink properly.

“ACTIVATED EPIRB. CANT WALK. MIGHT NEED STRETCHER,” Tomy said in his first satellite text message on Saturday.

Later, on Sunday, he again texted the race organizers, stating “Lugged cans of ice tea, having them. Vomiting continuously. Chest burning”.

The rescue mission

As the news of Abhilash’s stranding came forward, navies and rescue teams from around the world considered ways in which to rescue him. But the first to reach him was a French fisheries patrol vessel, Osiris. Australian and Indian P8 Poseidon aircrafts had been keeping a close watch on the 39-year-old officer’s vessel in the meantime.

Consequently, he is stable and conscious, according to the organizers.

Abhilash Tomy

Commander Abhilash is an old patron of the non-stop round-the-world races. In fact, he is the first Indian and second Asian to successfully complete a solo, unassisted race.

He set this record on 31 March 2012, 151 days after leaving from Gateway of India, Mumbai. He had traveled 23,100 nautical miles.  

Tomy was awarded the Kirti Chakra (second highest peacetime gallantry award in India) and the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award. In 2013, he also received the MacGregor Medal.

The Golden Globe Race

The 2018 Golden Globe race is a round the world sailing race. It commenced on 1 July 2018, Les Sables-d’Olonne, a seaside town in western France.

All the participants had to sail eastward through the Atlantic ocean, leaving Les Sables-d’Olonne for Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. Thereafter, leaving for Cape Leeuwin in Australia and Cape Horn in Chile before returning back to Les Sables-d’Olonne. Abhilash was on his way to Cape Leeuwin when the incident occurred.

The participants cannot use any major electronic types of equipment including GPS, thus making the race difficult. Also, the equipment available to  Sir Robin Knox-Johnstonin the original race in 1968–69 are only allowed.

Therefore, the participants cannot avail the benefits of modern technology or benefit of satellite-based navigation aids. Tomy’s rescue operation was tough due to this very reason.

Thuriya

Thuriya is a replica of the 1968 yacht used by  Robin Knox-Johnston for the Sunday Golden Globe race. It’s a Bermudan ketch type of vessel.

The famous shipyard, Aquaris Shipyard, built Thuriya in Goa. It is made entirely of the wood core, laminated with fiberglass and epoxy. It’s length is 32 ft and the displacement is 8,845 kg.

Tomy would be treated at Ile Amsterdam. Thereafter, INS Satpura will escort him back to India.

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Monish Gadiya is a Pune-based sports author at KreedOn. He is a thorough tech-enthusiast and believes innovation is the answer to the problems prevalent in the society. Monish graduated from University of Pune with a degree in civil engineering before pursuing a post-graduate diploma course in creative writing and intellectual property rights. A die-hard football fan, he has represented his college at various football competitions.

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