Solo sailor quits Navy to get closer to sea

New adventure: Commander Abhilash Tomy is the only Indian to sail round the world non-stop and solo. Photo: Special arrangement  

On Sunday, Commander Abhilash Tomy shared on social media The Moment, a poem by Margaret Atwood, on the moment of realisation after many voyages and years of toil that it was things/ beings around you that made you what you are, as he hung up the uniform after 24 years of service in the Navy. He thanked the naval fraternity, those who sailed along, for doing that. But a sailor hardly leaves the sea.

Mr. Tomy, the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe solo and unassisted in a sail yacht, intends to give another shot at the Golden Globe Race next year. The GGR, as it is called, is a daredevil ocean race with basic, read vintage, sailing equipment which he attempted in 2018. But a vicious storm in the southern Indian Ocean dismasted him and he sustained a spinal injury. He was subsequently rescued in a multi-nation effort and had to undergo a surgery.

Also read | Cmdr Abhilash Tomy looks back on his historic voyage on the INSV Mhadei

He is fighting fit and raring to go. Not because he is steered by a quest for conquests, but by the enormity of the realisation of human smallness in the vast world. “It is a spiritual experience. The washing away of all learned behaviour. And, a big part of it is the smallness of yourself that you do not otherwise see,” he says.

‘Need a sponsor’

After recovering from his injuries, Mr. Tomy, a naval pilot, was medically cleared for flying and sailing. He flew his last sortie on Dornier around Goa sometime in September and was sailing and kayaking.

Also read | This sailor has a lot to write home about

“For me to do the race, all I need is money and I am looking for sponsors,” he told The Hindu. But unlike last time when he got a retro boat built for the race, he would prefer buying a second-hand one doing away with processes like registration. Once he has identified the boat, he will take it out to the sea to get a hang of it before the race. For now, he is spending time with family and reading two books, one on the biology of human behaviour and the other, titled Peak, on gaining expertise in almost anything.

He also has an invite from Monaco to be part of the crew for a circumnavigation meant to scientifically study the southern Ocean.


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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 12:10:02 PM |

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