Former Indian Navy officer Cmdr. (Retd.) Abhilash Tomy sailed non-stop around the world on the UAE-registered boat sponsored by Abu Dhabi-based geospatial AI solutions provider, Bayanat.
The boat, a Rustler 36, carried the race number 71 and the UAE ensign – a tribute to the nation’s founding in 1971.
The third edition of the GGR commenced on 4 September 2022 at the picturesque Les Sables-d'Olonne port in France. A total of 30 sailors had initially enrolled for the competition, but only 16 were able to make it to the starting line. In a testament to the grueling nature of the race, only two boats were able to complete the demanding course.
Abhilash’s journey on the treacherous 30,000 nautical-mile race around the world was an epic saga of resilience and courage. In a remarkable display of unyielding endurance and masterful skill, Abhilash battled his way through fierce storms, unrelenting isolation, and months of solitude while coping with significant damage to his boat, pushing his seamanship skills to the limit. Against all odds, he crossed the finish line, a testament to his unwavering determination and spirit.
Since its inaugural event in 1968, the Golden Globe Race entails that contenders sail unaccompanied utilizing technology that was obtainable during its initial edition, thus, forbidding the use of any contemporary equipment and satellite-powered navigation aids. Along the route, race participants must navigate through the world’s five great capes, notorious for their extreme weather conditions and unpredictable currents, and return to the starting point.
Even with modern equipment, the magnitude of the challenge is so immense that the number of people who have sailed solo around the world is fewer than those who have climbed Mount Everest or journeyed through space.
Abhilash said: “I am thrilled and honored to have accomplished such a feat. This has been quite an extraordinary journey, and I am grateful to everyone who has supported me, including my family, friends and legions of fans from the UAE, India and worldwide. I especially want to thank my sponsors, Bayanat, who made my participation possible. This life-changing experience has been challenging beyond measure, but the rewards have been priceless. I hope my journey will inspire others to chase their dreams with passion and determination.”
Hasan Al Hosani, CEO of Bayanat, said: “We are immensely proud of Abhilash for making it this far in the Golden Globe Race, which has filled us with immense admiration. Bayanat is truly honored to be a part of such a strong endurance display that tests human limits. Abhilash has brought tremendous joy to the UAE and the Indian community. His legacy will undoubtedly inspire generations to come.”
This was Abhilash’s second participation in the Golden Globe Race. In the 2018 edition, after a storm de-masted his boat, he sustained a life-threatening injury that almost left him paralyzed and forced him to withdraw.