The racing spirit seems to have left Abhilash Tomy as he heads towards Cape Town, currently in 5th place in the 2022 Golden Globe Race

Frustration is killing the racing vibe for solo skipper Abhilash Tomy, who is currently in fifth place in the 2022 Golden Globe Race.

He says a lack of information about the position of the other entrants and patchy weather data has turned his race into ‘just a circumnavigation‘.

‘I am looking forward to getting done with this and getting back home. My experience is completely different from 2018. This time, it’s totally joyless and it’s completely weird and strange. It is like 10 people in different cells in a jail. They talk to each other every day and they go back to their cell. That’s it; there’s nothing else happening. Your call today is like having a visitor from outside,’ said the former Indian Naval Commander.

He also expressed frustration about the second gate at Cape Town, which he described as ‘extremely avoidable’.

Indian solo sailor Abhilash Tomy

Abhilash Tomy has previously solo circumnavigated the world non stop via the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Horn and Cape Leeuwin. Credit: Abhilash Tomy/GGR/PPL

‘It’s a completely useless gate and it’s been put in only so that some media can be collected from us. Like I said, 2018 was more interesting because there were more options we could choose in terms of the route. 2022 is a drag race from one waypoint to another waypoint.’ He is expected to arrive in Cape Town by Thursday.

But Tomy, 43, is pleased with the performance of his Rustler 36, Bayanat. Over the past few weeks, he has achieved the fleet’s 7-day distance record, sailing 1,140 miles at an average speed of 6.8 knots.

‘The sail plan is fine. I am happy with it. I’ve mostly been sailing with a yankee and staysail. It’s extremely rare that I touch the spinnaker or any of the downwind sails. So I think the sail plan has been quite good,’ he noted.

Abhilash Tomy will be sailing in the 2022 Golden Globe Race

Indian solo sailor Abhilash Tomy is looking forward to returning to the Southern Ocean. Credit: Golden Globe Race 2018

He has yet to test the boat’s performance in heavy weather, having sailed through no more than 35 knots of wind since the race start over two months ago; he has also noted that wind speed and wave heights are a lot less than in the 2018 Golden Globe Race; organisers decided the race should start two months later for 2022 to avoid the worst of the Southern Ocean storms.

In 2018, Tomy faced the full brunt of the southern Indian Ocean when his ERIC Suhaili Replica masthead ketch, Thuriya was knocked down multiple times while running under bare poles in 75 knot wind. He had to be rescued, and needed surgery to repair his broken back.

How is he feeling about going back there?

‘I love the Southern Ocean; the sea is very real there. And I’m looking forward to it. I think I am going to enjoy cutting myself off from the rest of the world.’

Continues below…

Previously, Tomy has said he could sail around the world without weather information ‘which is what I’m doing right now’. He has no weather fax onboard and is relying on information via his SSB radio and passing ships.

‘Getting weather information is terrible, even from other ships. I asked one ship for a barometer reading from the bridge. And after 30 minutes I kept asking and the crew couldn’t understand what barometer meant.’

Like other skippers in the Golden Globe fleet, Tomy has been over the side to clean ‘a few’ gooseneck barnacles from the boat’s hull. He used an International Paint antifouling before leaving the start at Les Sables d’Olonne.

Despite his frustration, Tomy still has a plentiful supply of popcorn, which ‘always makes me happy’, and is remaining motivated enough to finish the race.

Kirsten Neuschafer is likely to be the second skipper to reach the Cape Town gate. Credit: GGR

Kirsten Neuschafer is likely to be the second skipper to reach the Cape Town gate. Credit: GGR

Meanwhile, Golden Globe leader Simon Curwen has already left Cape Town and is heading south towards the Hobart gate in Tasmania in his Biscay 36, Clara.

He used the shelter of Cape Town to make repairs before leaving, making sure to avoid the Agulhas Current.

Kirsten Neuschafer and Tapio Lehtinen are racing neck and neck to be the second skipper to reach Cape Town, with just miles between them. Both are expected to arrive later today.

Irish skipper Pat Lawless has severe problems with his Aries windvane steering system – a bearing has gone and he doesn’t have a spare. He is now considering his options.

If he decides to stop in Cape Town to make repairs, it will put him in the Chichester Class for entrants which make one stop. It will also dash his dream of becoming the first Irish sailor to sail solo around the world via the three Great Capes, non-stop and unassisted.

Although he considers himself an 'underdog' in the 2022 Golden Globe Race, Elliot Smith is determined to cross the finish line. Credit: Nora Havel/GGR

Elliot Smith has a leaking deck on his Gale Force 34. Credit: Nora Havel/GGR

In his daily tweet, he said: ‘Pure fedup that a simple baring on the self steering would finish my Golden Globe Race’.

Other skippers are having more success fixing gear breakages at sea.

UK sailor Ertan Beskardes, who has been trying to manage a significant electrical failure onboard following a small fire a week after the start, is now back to full power.

Meanwhile Elliot Smith has a leaking deck on his Gale Force 34, Second Wind, and has lost his spinnaker. He will also face some hard choices once he reaches Cape Town within the next few weeks.

Current positions of the Golden Globe Race 2022 skippers on 8 November 2022 at 1600 UTC

Simon Curwen, (UK), Biscay 36, Clara
Kirsten Neuschafer, (South Africa), Cape George 36 cutter, Minnehaha
Tapio Lehtinen, (Finland), Gaia 36, Asteria
Pat Lawless, (Ireland), Saltram Saga 36, Green Rebel
Abhilash Tomy, (India), Rustler 36, Bayanat
Damien Guillou, (France), Rustler 36, PRB
Michael Guggenberger, (Austria), Biscay 36, Nuri
Ertan Beskardes, (UK), Rustler 36, Lazy Otter
Jeremy Bagshaw, (South Africa), OE32, Olleanna
Elliot Smith,  (USA), Gale Force 34, Second Wind
Ian Herbert-Jones (UK), Tradewind 35, Puffin
Arnaud Gaist, (France), Barbican 33 Mk 2, Hermes Phoning
Guy Waites (UK), Tradewind 35, Sagarmatha


Edward Walentynowicz, (Canada), Rustler 36, Noah’s Jest
Guy deBoer, (USA), Tashiba 36, Spirit
Mark Sinclair (Australia), Lello 34, Coconut

Enjoyed reading Golden Globe Race: Golden Globe Race: Frustration for Abhilash Tomy?

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