“Sir, can I go for one more round, please,” Lt Cdr Abhilash Tomy, 34, asked his commanders soon after he became the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe non-assisted.
President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday accorded a warm welcome to Indian Navy’s Lt Cdr Abhilash Tomy who became the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe, solo and non-stop, over a 150-day voyage.
“To sustain a long voyage of over 150 days… solo, non-stop, unassisted and sailing through some of the most treacherous oceans of the world, is a remarkable feat.“This rare achievement showcases the spirit of determination, resolve and courage of the individual and the organisation he represents,” the President said.
He said solo circum-navigation, apart from being a physically arduous task, also requires very high standards of knowledge of navigation meteorology and boat maintenance.
“The circum-navigator not only gets tossed around by the rough seas but also has to fight solitude and the imponderables of life… away from civilisation. Battling wave heights of 9-10 metres and wind speeds in excess of 100 kmph coupled with Antarctic chills can be an extreme test of human endurance,” Mukherjee said.
“I am sure that this achievement of Lt Cmdr Abhilash Tomy will continue to be a source of inspiration for future generations of young seafarers. His epic voyage has placed our nation in the ranks of a few select countries whose citizens have been successful in braving such an arduous voyage,” the President said.
Responding to the welcome, Lt Cmdr Abhilash Tomy said: “It is the fulfilment of a 14-year old dream and four years of hard work. This difficult voyage was made possible by efforts of lots of people,” he said.
He singled out his aide Mohammad Alam, saying he was the person “I missed during these 150 days”.
Navy chief Admiral D K Joshi said it was Mukherjee who had sanctioned the “Sagar Parikrama” project, as the then defence minister. Later, talking to reporters, Lt Cmdr Abhilash Tomy said for him, the scariest moment of the voyage was when he encountered the rough sea near the Cape of Good Hope.
“To undertake crossing of the three Capes, i.e. Cape Leeuwin, Cape Horn and Cape of Good Hope alone require courage, determination and grit of the highest order,” the President said, lauding the navy officer’s spirit.
So far, less than 80 people in the world have successfully completed such a voyage. Lt Cmdr Abhilash Tomy is the first Indian and the second Asian to do so. Lt Cdr Tomy, a maritime pilot, switched off his boat’s engine soon after leaving Mumbai harbour and switched it on again on Saturday to get the boat alongside the Gateway of India.
find more about Lt Commander Abhilash Tomy
Read more about Operation Sagar Parikrma- sagarparikrama2.blogspot.com
- Solo sailor passes Cape of Good Hope (timescolonist.com)
- Around the world in a catamaran (indrus.in)
- Braving turbulent oceans, Abhilash on the last leg of an exciting journey (thehindu.com)