Presidential welcome awaits Abhilash Tomy on completing
non-stop solo voyage round the world.
The Navy is all set to accord a grand welcome to Lt.Cdr Abhilash Tomy, as he sets foot in Mumbai on Saturday (April 6) afternoon. President Pranab Mukherjee, who is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, is flying down to Mumbai to receive India’s first non-stop solo sailor at the historic Gateway of India. Defence Minister A K Antony, Navy Chief Admiral D K Joshi, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha will also be present to receive the new sailing icon.
Lt.Cdr Tomy had set sail from Mumbai on November 1, 2012 as part of the Sagar Parikrama II non-stop solo expedition in INSV Mhadei. Cdr. Dilip Donde had taken INSV Mhadei around the world in 2009-10, with four stops, to become the first Indian to circumnavigate the world in a sail ship.
Now in the high-seas near the coast of Mumbai, Lt Cdr Tomy is now facing a strange problem of water shortage and is literally conserving every drop of drinking water. There is no shortage of food though, as enough stock is left of the consignment delivered by the Defence Food Research Laboratory in Mysore to see him through the journey.
Tomy, a maritime reconnaissance Dornier pilot by specialization was inspired by his mentor Cdr. Donde, in taking up this adventure. He however, decided to do one better by undertaking a solo, unassisted, non-stop endeavour. When he returns to Mumbai, he would have covered a distance of 22,967 nautical miles without stopping at any port.
The family members of Tomy in Kerala are upbeat about his homecoming. His mother and father have been tracking his journey, by marking the route taken by him on a large globe.
It was around the time, when India was celebrating its Republic Day, that Tomy crossed the Cape Horn, the southern most tip of South America, feared by sailors for its wild winds, rocky shores and strong currents. He crossed the Cape of Good Hope on the 19th February and began his journey towards India, past the island of Madagascar.
Besides raising the adventure spirit of the Indian Navy, the Sagar Parikrama II also underlines the indigenous boat building strength. INSV Mhadei, is the first fibre-glass yacht, completely built in India by Ratnakar-Dandekar of Goa and named after river Mandovi, better known as river Mhadei in Karnataka, from where it originates. The sail vessel has circumnavigated the world twice in a span of three years, besides taking part in the Cape-Rio Ocean Race.