Cdr Abhilash Tomy is the first Indian and the 79th person (1st Indian and 2nd Asian) in the world to perform a successful solo and nonstop circumnavigation of the globe under sail (wind power only) . Compare this achievement with 4,000 people who have scaled the summit of Mt. Everest – while Everest is still the holy grail of climbing, its has almost become a guided tour for most of its climbers. Sherpas actually set lines to the summit, before the clients even attempt it. Yes, the altitude and weather conditions can and do kill climbers every single year. But in the harsh marine environment being alone for 151 days, circumnavigating the Globe without touching any port and yet using only wind power falls in a different league.
Cdr Tomy embarked on Solo Circumnavigation journey from Mumbai on 01 November’12 and returned after spending 151 solitary days at sea during which time he covered 23000 nautical miles in a sail boat, sailing south of the five great capes of the Southern Hemisphere. A reconnaissance pilot with the Indian Navy, Cdr Tomy is the most experienced offshore sailor in the country with upwards of 50,000 nautical miles of sailing experience.
He was decorated with the Kirti Chakra, for valour and courageous action away from battle, and the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award, both in 2013, and received on his return at the Gateway of India by the President of India who welcomed him ashore ‘on behalf of 1.2 billion Indians’. A talented photographer and blogger, he believes in the planet’s ability to sustain life as long as man’s needs are not overtaken by his greed. His voyage around the world was proof that man can live with much less and still be happy. Cdr Tomy now aims at giving ocean sailing experience to as many people as possible, especially the youth, so that they can grow up and be responsible and independent citizens. Cdr Tomy has lectured at over 100 schools, colleges, corporates since his return, speaking to over 50,000 people, and has been featured in print, digital and broadcast media. His fan base among has crossed 10 million!.
He has spoken at the prestigious Tedx Gateway, and published a best selling pictorial book about his Voyage 151, that was presented to and carried a message from the President of India – Pranab Kumar Mukherjee. A Malayalam version of this book was released by the Governor of Maharashtra and sold 20,000 copies, while a Bengali version is now under way. A special National Anthem featuring his record breaking hoist of the national flag at Cape Horn on Republic Day was played in 3,000 cinemas and 455 TV channels all over the country during Independence Week in 2013, and he was featured in Chivas Gentleman’s Code on Star World, and several other radio and Tv programs. His four minute film, All Yours, was telecast for six months by Ten Sports during India cricket matches.
Cdr Tomy was a special invitee and the only Asian entrant in the 2018 edition of the solo non stop round the world Golden Globe Race. After 82 days Tomy was in 3rd position when his boat was hit by a vicious storm in South Indian ocean dismasting the boat and inflicting severe injury to his spine. Cdr Abhilash Tomy was rescued after a dramatic multinational rescue effort during which his grit and determination to survive shone through.
He retired prematurely from the Indian Navy on 11 January 2021 to prepare for the 2022 Golden Globe Race
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