“I think I’m fearless? I just want to be free!”

History Abhilash Tomy, first Indian, wandered the globe under sail non-stop without assistance

A single circumnavigation of the world — in itself a difficult test, but when you consider that we are talking about the competition on the boats not equipped with any modern electronics, this idea may sound crazy. Anyway, in such conditions is now anniversary regatta Golden Globe Race, which started July 1 in Les Sables d’olonne (France).

More than half of the participants came up to the middle of the road. Reasons to leave the race at all were different: someone summed up the technical equipment, some physical health, and someone- psychological unpreparedness for such a test. Ironically for the Indian skipper Abilasha Tom (Abhilash Tomy) an insurmountable obstacle to victory was his native Indian ocean.

39-year-old sailor was third when he and two other participants of the regatta was in a severe storm with 15-metre waves and winds of 80 knots. Boat Abilasha Thuriya capsized and lost both masts. Tommy was saved only by the fact that he had time to hide under the deck. However, he received a serious back injury which could not even be raised, and a satellite phone for emergency communication with the shore was damaged during a storm.

Abilasha still managed to send the organizers of the regatta a short text message about his condition. His aid was sent three ships, but they were a few days away, and the nearest sushi Australian city Peter — it was more than 1800 nautical miles.

During three days Tom was no connection. immobilized, he was lying under the deck of the drifting in the southern ocean boats waiting for help.

On the fourth day of the French fishery vessel Osiris managed to reach the Thuriya, the benefit of a storm by the time verse. On Board Abilasha was given first aid and taken to hospital.

Despite his serious condition, the Indian sailor was sure that with him were rescued Teddy bear SITraN. His concern about soft toy is not just sentimentality: these bears were sent to each of the participants in the Golden Globe Race — 2018 in the charity event. At the end of the regatta their sale will help to raise funds to Fund the Sheffield Institute for translational neuroscience (SITraN), who study such serious illnesses as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Fortunately, doctors were able to put Abilasha on your feet: moving complex surgery on the spine, he can walk, leaning on crutches.

“After some rest he will recover. And I think he’ll be back in sailing”, commented tutor and head of mission Abilasha, commander of the Navy of India retired the Foundation Dilip (Dilip Donde).

While Tom is recovering steadily, we offer you a story told by a family of Indian sailor about his life, the participation in the regatta and irresistible love of the sea.

What should parents do when their child goes on a boat around the globe through the capricious and often harsh waters of the world oceans? 67-year-old Lieutenant commander, retired V. S. Tomi (C. V. Tomy) decided to track the route of the son, and to celebrate his achievements on the globe.

He starts talking about the travels of his son Tom Abhilasha with that in 2013 became the first Indian who committed a single non-stop circumnavigation without assistance.

“Every day I noted the cut that he overcame. Here he started with the “gateway of India” in Bombay, says Tom elder, showing long wavy a line that he drew with a pen where the expected return of the son to his home in the city of Cochin (India). His route passed through the Pacific ocean, Cape Luwin, Cape horn, Cape of Good Hope…”

The piercing blue of the globe is not like the gloomy greyness of the real oceans. From the Windows of this house are seen the sea, but here the eye everywhere runs into a complex geometry of the sails, masts and decks. On the walls hung pictures of various ships, yachts and boats, including the sailing ship INSV Mhadei, which of Abilash in 2013, made his epic journey. There, on the wall — the wheel is raised from the sunken during world war passenger ship HMHS Rohilla, a gift once the head of the family Tom.

On the globe there is another, more recent and shorter line showing the attempt Abilasha second times around the earth — in the framework of the regatta Golden Globe Race. This curve starts from the French coast and go far in the Atlantic, and then terminates in the southern part of the treacherous Indian ocean.

“This is the place where his boat collided with the storm. The crash site,” — says the father, pointing to a point on the globe.
It was a very difficult time for the family: “there is No way to contact him. We could neither sleep nor eat,” says Tom Sr. However, he says that to continue would not keep son from such undertakings: “I pray for him, but not worried. You don’t have to control their children. Let them be free birds.”

The sea beckoned Abilasha since, as he was a child. When his father was an officer of the Indian Navy, the family Tom was constantly moving from one coastal city to another.

One day, out on the balcony, mom Abilasha Valsamma (Valsamma) saw him swinging on a raft of sheets of polystyrene to the local Creek.

They have always lived close to the sailing clubs, and, unlike his younger brother Anish (Anish), Abilasha out of the ears was not to delay.

“Abilash was somewhere in second grade. We were sent to Cochin, — says the father. — After school he rushed straight at the sailing club, put on a life jacket and jumped into the dirty water Creek. He then dragged to the water, small boats and convinced the head of the sailing club to give him lessons. By the end of the school Abilash was already a competent sailor”.

Later Abilash was educated in engineering and medical colleges, but in the end decided to go to the naval Academy. Today he serves in the Indian Navy in the rank of commander.

“During his studies, he had to drive from Bombay to Lonavala. All his friends went to the train. He sat on his bike and got used to them. He always wanted to be the best and first in everything”, — says the head of the family Tom, emphasizing that their oldest son has always been inherent in the spirit of competition.

However, Valsamma remember a very different image of their first child: a quiet child, always buried in books, a homebody, living in his own world.

“I had no idea that he had such dreams,” she says.

When in 2013 Abhilash spoke about his desire to go on a solitary circumnavigation of the world, Valsamma was opposed. All attempts to persuade her was in vain. Then, a young sailor asked the Admiral of Manohar P. Avati (P. Manohar Awati), who was one of the first officers of the Indian Navy after independence from the British, to come to Kochito persuade mom to change her mind.

“Valsamma was impregnable. He had to come again, so she finally agreed,” says V. S. Tomi.

Perhaps this was one of the reasons why Abelas to the last hid from parents the decision to participate in the Golden Globe Race.

“When the boat was already built, in the Malayalam newspaper published this short article. That’s when we found out,” says the father.

“I think I’m fearless? I just want to be free!” said Abilash, speaking at a conference TEDx Talks shortly after his first circumnavigation of the earth.

How he came to the decision to leave in the second tour around the world on more difficult conditions?

“When you achieve success that previously seemed impossible, you have need again to challenge yourself, says wife Abhilasha Urmimala (Urmimala). — He was reading a history of the legendary race from a young age”.

So when Tom was invited to take part in the jubilee regatta Golden Globe Race — it was indeed a fulfillment of his childhood dreams.

“He had to learn to navigate by the stars and use a sextant. I even once had a chance to use it, and it was 25 years ago,” says Dilip the Foundation.

To all to understand, a young sailor asked for help to books and the Internet.

Boat Abilasha Thuriya also has its own history. It was designed as a twin sister Suhaili — the same one on which sir Robin Knox-Johnston (Robin Knox-Johnston) won the world’s first single non-stop circumnavigation. For these purposes was used the project of 1923, and its construction involved Ratnakar Dandekar (Ratnakar Dandekar) — the Creator of a sailing vessel INSV Mhadei, which survived two trips around the earth.

“After Mhadei I have studied the structure of winds and currents in the sea created the cyclones, pressure rises, and how wind and waves can interfere with the movement of the boat. Thuriya is the embodiment of all this knowledge,” says Dandekar.

Thuriya is a 9.7-metre two-masted ship with a high main mast, a much shorter mizzen mast and 13 sails on Board.

“Most of the difficulties arose with the design. In contrast to the work with contemporary projects, we were faced with the challenge to design a boat the same as it did before 1970. In those days, the shipbuilders used a much thicker wood and have it planed… no one was worried about reducing weight. Suhaili weighs 10 tons. I used the book of sir Knox “A World of My Own” to sort out the details,” continues Dandekar.

In addition it was necessary to consider placing on Board nearly a year’s supply of food, spare equipment and Abilasha under two meters tall. In the end, Thuriya came out weighing 8.6 tons.

With the funding campaign was all too easy. The original estimated cost of the project amounted to 60 million rupees (more than $800 thousand). After several unsuccessful attempts to find investors Dandekar stunned Tommy and the Foundation of its decision to start construction of building for your money.

“I was convinced that if the hull is ready, there will be someone who will be financing the rest,” he says.

Abilash invested part of their savings, and then appeared willing to support the project. An important contribution to the financing of the project has made the Indian Navy. In the end, after one year and three months the boat was ready.

The name of the boat suggested Urmimala. “In the ancient Indian teachings of the Upanishads “thuriya avastha” is the fourth state of consciousness. Before you reach Nirvana, you enter into this stage of full awareness. I felt that he would be able to reach this state,” she explains.

1 July in Les Sables-d’olonne gathered a lot of wanting to greet the eighteen brave men, among whom was Abilash and Thuriya. Also at the start of the regatta was attended by Knox-Johnston, with whom Dong, and through him, and Tommy, were personally acquainted for several years. When the legendary sailor climbed Thuriya, he started talking about how much time an Indian intends to finish the race and gave him offhand 312 days. Abelas looked at him and said, “311”.

Two of the sextant, two marine VHF radios, 300 liters of water and 1,000 servings of ready meals, in addition to dried fish and banana chips, sent to his parents in France. That’s what was on Board when Abhilash went. In addition, he took with him three books: the ancient Indian Scripture the Upanishads, “the Art of seafaring and Maritime profession,” Knox-Johnston and the novel “one Hundred years of solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

“He reads it at least once a year,” says father Tom.

In addition to craving for adventure, Abhilash always loved the solitude in which man inevitably falls, while at sea.

“I have always believed that a person who likes solitude will never be able to love my freedom,” he said at a TEDx conference.

But the loneliness of travelling the world does not end by a solid romance is an everyday hard work.

“He has to cook, wash clothes. In the sea he can’t sleep like we do. Sailors allow themselves to sleep for 10-15 minutes. Then they get up, check to see if everything was okay on Board, the course and direction of the wind, and then again they can afford to take a NAP, says Tom senior. — When they return home, it takes about six months to return to a normal rhythm”.

The sea in many ways changed Abhilasha: he became much more taxing. And in the eyes of both parents he had long ceased to be the average person.

“I never thought he was so strong. He talks about the tour, how about something basic and mundane — surprised father. When he comes to us, even if it is very hot, it does not include a fan,” he continues, Recalling how, during his last journey of Abilash has managed to survive 15 days with at least 15 litres of water.

The Indian Navy of Abilis serves as a naval aviation pilot, and this experience opens for the ambitious yachtsman another direction for new developments.

“I’m sure he’s already preparing new plans. You know what he wants to do next? He wants to circumnavigate the earth!” exclaims the father, blurring in a smile.

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