Commander Abhilash Tomy — who created history by becoming the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe and only second Asian to do so — has taken voluntary retirement from the Indian Navy and is now eying participation in the Golden Globe Race 2022.
“I had sought voluntary retirement from the Indian Navy, which has now sanctioned it. I am now concentrating on the Golden Globe Race 2022, which will be held 18 months from now,” Abhilash told IANS on phone from Goa.
Tomy said that he needed a major sponsor for the international tournament and was looking for support from some big industrial or other group for the same.
The Navy officer was in the news in 2018 after his yatch sailed into a heavy storm, ending with a broken mast during solo navigation, 3,200 km off the coast of western Australia. Abhilash was rescued by a French naval team though he suffered major back injuries.
He had won accolades after his solo circumnavigation of the globe in 2013 in his boat ‘INS Mehdhi’ for 150 days, braving winds blowing at more than 100 kmph and waves that rose 9-12 feet high.
His solo journey commenced on November 1, 2012 from the Gateway of India and after covering 23,100 nautical miles through the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Hom and Cape Leeuwin, the naval officer touched the country’s shore at the Gateway of India on March 31, 2013.
Then president Pranab Mukherjee had accorded him a ceremonial reception at the Gateway of India on April 6, 2013.
“To sustain a long voyage of over 150 days at sea, solo, non-stop, unassisted, and sailing through some of the most treacherous oceans of the world is a remarkable feat,” the President had said.
Abhilash was given the Kirti Chakra in 2013, the second naval officer to win the prestigious award.
He was also conferred the Nao Sena medal in 2019 by President Ram Nath Kovind.