Indian solo sailor Abhilash Tomy, who had to be rescued during the 2018 Golden Globe Race after his boat dismasted during heavy weather, has announced he will be competing in the Golden Globe Race 2022
Abhilash Tomy, who was left with a broken back after his yacht was knocked down in the 2018 Golden Globe Race, has confirmed he will be entering the 2022 event.
The Indian commander will be sailing a Rustler 36, Bayanat in the 2022 Golden Globe Race. The yacht was previously raced in the 2018 event by Philippe Péché with PRB sponsorship.
Abhilash Tomy has just five months to complete a full refit of Bayanat and sail a 2,000 miles solo voyage to qualify for the race.
He is being sponsored by the United Arab Emirates tech firm Bayanat.
The company said that during the race he would collect water samples which will be analysed for the presence of microplastics. Part of the yacht will also be painted with a special coating which will serve as a reflectance target for satellites collecting calibrated data during the race.
Abhilash Tomy is the last entrant to join the race, which brings the fleet to 23 sailors from 13 countries including British seasoned circumnavigator David Scott Cowper, New Zealand’s Graham Dalton, fifth placed finisher Tapio Lehtinen and South African Kirsten Neuschafer.
Golden Globe Race founder, Don McIntyre said Abhilash was ‘a powerful sailor with a huge smile’ and everyone was excited to see him back in the race.
Abhilash Tomy’s unfinished business
Abhilash Tomy sailed the 2018 Golden Globe Race in a replica of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston‘s Suhaili, shipping it from India to Europe.
Delays meant he hasn’t really sailed the ERIC Suhaili Replica masthead ketch Thuriya much before the start and he only started to experiment with the ketch’s sail configuration after the Canaries.
Thuriya was under bare poles beam in 75 knot winds when she experienced multiple knockdowns before dismasting on 21 September 2018 in the Southern Indian Ocean.
The knockdowns left Abhilash Tomy with a back broken in four places and unable to walk.
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After nearly four days he was rescued by the crew of the French Government fisheries patrol vessel Osiris.
He was later transferred onto an Indian Navy vessel and taken back to India where he underwent surgery.
Titanium rods were inserted into his spine and five vertebrae were fused into one. He had to learn to walk again.
‘I did learn to walk, and then got into a cockpit and got back to Navy flying, and sailing! Now three and a half years later, I am heading back into the same race,’ said Abhilash Tomy.
The sailor has previously sailed solo non-stop around the world in the 22 tonne 56ft cruising sloop INSV Mhadei, a fin keel.
The 2022 Golden Globe Race will start from Les Sables d’Olonne in France on 4 September 2022.
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