Above the clouds, things move a hundred times faster than on the water. Pilot and sailor Abhilash Tomy can handle both. You just have to adjust your mindset. In the cockpit of an aeroplane you plan at six miles per minute, in the cockpit of a sailboat at six miles per hour. Both are dangerous. The Grim Reaper can just as easily come at you at a slow crawl, as Abhilash Tomy recaps in conversation with float.
Tomy was confronted with lethal threat in the last Golden Globe Race in October 2018. In the southern latitudes, a storm caused his yacht Thuriya to capsize. In the process, Tomy injured himself so severely below deck that he could no longer move his legs. Thanks to activated Epirb, he was rescued after three days.
India at the tiller
His ship was ruined, but the dream of the Golden Globe Race was not. The Navy officer owes himself a second try – and his country. Sailing in India was reserved for the military until the 1990s. Abhilash Tomy could take up sailing in the mid-1990s only thanks to his officer career as a reconnaissance pilot.
As a sailor, he rendered great service to India. In 2013, he became the first Indian solo sailor to circumnavigate the globe non-stop on the Navy yacht Mhadei. He vigorously pushed the newly burgeoning private sailing sport with this exceptional achievement. Tomy sees himself as an ambassador for a sport that, along with boxing, hockey or badminton, is becoming increasingly important on the subcontinent.