With Australian and Indian longrange P8 Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft circling overhead, the French fishing vessel Osiris reached Commander Abhilash Tomy’s dismasted yacht Thuriya in the southern Indian Ocean Monday and rescued the injured Naval officer stranded equidistant from Madagascar, Perth and Antartica — “as far from help as you can possibly be” — since running into a deadly storm Friday. Cdr Tomy has been admitted to hospital on the French administered Île Amsterdam island, and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said he would be taken to Mauritius for further treatment by the Indian Navy frigate INS Satpura. On Tuesday, the AP quoted a spokesperson for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which coordinated the rescues of both Cdr Tomy and Irish sailor Gregor McGuckin whose boat, too, was damaged by the same storm, as saying that whether Cdr Tomy would be taken to Mauritius or to Fremantle, Australia, would be decided based on his medical assessment.
— Rashmi Rajput (@RashmiRajput123) September 24, 2018
Cdr Tomy and McGuckin were participants in The 2018 Golden Globe Race, the 50th anniversary edition of the first Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, 1968-69, in which the Briton Sir Robin Knox-Johnston became the first person to sail solo nonstop around the world. Eighteen of the world’s most elite sailors, belonging to 13 countries, began the race from Les Sables-d’Olonne in France on July 1, expecting to be at sea for 200 days or more in a return to the “Golden Age of ‘one sailor, one boat’ facing the great oceans of the world”. They were not supposed to use GPS, and rely only on sextants, paper maps and the stars. Eight participants — including Cdr Tomy, who was in third place when he lost his mast and was severely injured in the storm — have had to quit so far.
The race course is an over-48,000-km east-about circumnavigation starting and finishing in Les Sables-d’Olonne. Following the route of the original 1968-69 race, the boats sailed down the Atlantic from north to south, down the west coast of Africa and around the Cape of Good Hope, and then due east. They are now expected to sail south of Australia, keeping north of the 45 degree latitude line, before coming around to the tip of South America and going around Tierra del Fuego before sailing north on the Atlantic Ocean back to the French coast.
39-year-old Cdr Tomy’s boat, the Thuriya, is a replica of Sir Knox-Johnston’s original winner, Suhaili. It is 32 feet long, and has been built by Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd, Goa; the Suhaili was built in what was then Bombay with help from the Royal Bombay Yacht Club, in 1963.