The Weekend Leader - India's first solo-circumnavigator battles lack of funds to keep the Golden Globe Race dream alive

India's first solo-circumnavigator battles lack of funds to keep the Golden Globe Race dream alive

New Delhi



Retired Indian Naval commander Abhilash Tomy's dream to give another shot at the Golden Globe Race (GGR), the only solo non-stop round-the-world yacht competition with no modern equipment for support, has hit a roadblock now as he lacks funds to participate in the international sailing event.

Abhilash Tomy, the first Indian to circumnavigate a world solo without any stops in 2013, was a special invitee and the only Asian entrant in the 2018 edition of the GGR.

He had suffered severe back injuries in a deadly accident after a storm that crashed his boat while he was participating in the race representing India in 2018. He could not complete the race despite being in the 3rd position at the time of the accident and was later rescued by a French vessel.

Notably, the competition will not allow GPS, satellite phones, weather routing, chart plotters, or autopilots. However, the competitors are only allowed to use the technology in an emergency

The 42-year-old sailor who took premature retirement from the Indian Naval Service in January this year was preparing to participate in the Golden Globe Race-2022.

The yacht for the competition itself cost about Rs 1.5 crore, Tomy said while speaking to IANS and disclosed that he may need a total of nearly Rs 4 crore for expenses including travel, food, and accommodation.

Apart from this, earlier, he has not received any sponsorships and the expenses were met by his salaries and other incomes, said the yachtsman adding that he has not paid off the debts still.

Through an online crowdfunding platform, it was collected nearly Rs 45 lakh so far but due to the deductions such as tax and other expenses of the platform, it is not possible to get the whole amount, he said.

"I approached many governmental and non-governmental organisations among Kerala Chief Minister Office, Goa Tourism, and others for financial support of the race. However, so far I have not received a favourable reply," says the former naval officer

"As the days for the race approach in months, I need to get the funds as soon as possible. Otherwise, I may have to leave the opportunity," Tomy says.

He said the GGR will start from France in September 2022 and end only after 10 months of travel covering 30,000 nautical miles through oceans and returning to the starting point.

On November 1, 2012, Tomy departed in the navy sailboat INSV Mhadei from the Gateway of India at Mumbai. After completing a voyage of 23,100 nautical miles, he returned to Mumbai on March 31, 2013, having sailed around the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Horn and Cape Leeuwin.

He became the first Indian, second Asian, and 79th person to accomplish this feat.

A ceremonial reception was given by the then President of India Pranab Mukherjee at the Gateway of India on April 6, 2013. - IANS

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