A solo travel under sails is a dream shared by people who loves adventure. The venture which needs a lot of dedication and hard work was fulfilled by less than 90 people so far. And this is where Cdr Abhilash Tomy’s experience become exceptional. Abhilash Tomy who is coming from Alappuzha in Kerala, shared the dream of solo circumnavigation in his teen age itself. Being an adventurous guy, his teenage was filled with the intense desire to go on a solo circumnavigation around the whole world. He always knew that sailing was his life, and solo circumnavigation around Earth was the biggest item in his bucket list.
Abhilash Tomy became an experienced sailor after joining Indian Navy. He set sails with the Navy for a long period of time and kept his dream of solo circumnavigation alive. And soon, his dream came into life through a project in the Indian Navy. ‘Sagar Parikrama’ was a project launched by the navy with two phases. The first stage was a solo circumnavigation by sail, which had stops. Capt Dilip Donde accomplished the sail in nine months. This voyage included four stops, and Cdr Abhilash Tomy was the shore-support of Capt Donde during the journey.
The second phase was ‘Sagar Parikrama 2’ which was Cdr Tomy’s non-stop voyage. He had to undergo a lot of training to accomplish the mission. He went on for voyages with crew and then he set a solo sail from Cape Town to Goa as part of the training. The training was tough and required a lot of hard work and dedication. Since it was a non-stop voyage, Tomy had to collect packed freeze dry food and water for the journey.
Tomy commenced his grand voyage from Mumbai on the 1st November 2012 and returned after spending more than 150 days at sea. He almost covered 23,000 nautical miles in his sail boat INSV Mhadei, which was built by Aquarius Shipyard, Goa. He crossed Indian, South Atlantic, and South Pacific Oceans without touching any port and without any outside assistance.
Cdr Tomy feels that solo circumnavigation demands lot of physical hardships as well as a very high knowledge about the navigation and boat maintenance. The scariest experience in the journey was when he confronted the violent sea at the Cape of Good Hope. He had to fight against violent rough seas, and also against solitude where reading, doing boat-related works and cooking helped him to fight these situations.
As president Pranab Mukherjee said, Cdr Abhilash Tomy will continue to be a source of inspiration for future generations of young seafarers.