The ‘Voyage of Madmen’, was completed unassisted, solo, non-stop without using GPS or any other modern navigation technology after a tumultuous first run 5 years back.
India’s national anthem played at the French port of Les Sables –d’Olonne when Abhilash Tomy completed Golden Globe race. He was received by friends, family and other members of the Indian diaspora. This sojourn, described as the ‘Voyage of Madmen’, was completed unassisted, solo, non-stop without using GPS or any other modern navigation technology.
Tomy’s story started 5 years ago when he took the challenge of circumnavigating the globe in his boat. He got stranded in the middle of the stormy Indian Ocean in a broken boat, with a shattered spine. Miraculously rescued, Tomy once again gather all his courage to set on a sail even though he could barely walk after that horrifying incident and had to have titanium rods put in his spine. Anybody else would have been traumatized by that experience.
Yet, Tomy actually set sail attempting the world’s toughest and most dangerous endurance race again on his boat — Bayanat. Although there were plenty of anxious moments — fierce winds, a broken rudder, running out of potable water — Tomy conquered the challenges to finish the race in 235 days. The second shot was successful.
Hailing from Udayamperoor in Ernakulam district in Kerala, Commander (retired) Abhilash Tomy was awarded the Kirti Chakra in 2013, the Nau Sena Medal in 2019 and Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award in 2013. “I am happy to have completed this race,” was his immediate response, he later added, “This is a big moment for me and for everybody from Asia. This is the first time anyone from Asia has a podium finish in an around-the-world race.”
He has scripted history and ushered in a new era of sailing as a sport after becoming the 1st Indian and 1st Asian to win a solo non-stop circumnavigation race. His journey has been tough. But he’s been tougher.