Cdr Abhilash Tomy (retd), the first Indian to successfully finish the Golden Globe Race (GGR) 2022, was felicitated by Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff, on 30 Oct 23 at Goa in recognition of his historical achievement. It was on 29th April 2023 that Cdr Tomy made history by finishing second in GGR 22, also becoming the first Asian to finish the race. He sailed for 236 days 14 hours and 46 minutes since his cast off on 04 September 2022, to return to Les Sables-d’Olonne, France behind Kirsten Neuschafer of South Africa.
Prior to this, in 2013, Cdr Tomy became the first Indian to complete a solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the world under sail onboard INSV Mhadei. He also took part in GGR 18, but had to withdraw owing to a debilitating back injury sustained in a storm enroute.
Five years later, with a titanium rod in his spine and five fused vertebrae, he has aced the test of the human spirit and exhibited rare endurance, grit, and determination in GGR 22. GGR is conducted in honor of Sir Robin Knox Johnston, the first sailor ever to complete the solo non-stop circumnavigation race in 1968.
16 entrants were to participate in GGR 22 and undertake the circumnavigation race with equipment and technology pre-dating 1968. Only three participants including Cdr Tomy could finally finish the race, the balance retiring midway owing to technical failures or accidents.
Cdr Abhilash Tomy has recently taken over as mentor and coach to the two naval women officers preparing for a solo circumnavigation voyage as the Indian Navy’s next edition of Sagar Parikrama.’