Tarini crew wait for rescue of commander who trained them
The all-woman crew of Indian Navy’s sailing vessel Tarini, which created history by circumnavigating the globe in a gruelling 254-day voyage, is among the millions of Indians who are praying for Commander Abhilash Tomy who is badly injured and marooned in one of the loneliest places in the Indian Ocean.
The 39-year-old, who trained the Tarini crew, is likely to be picked up by French boat Osiris on Monday morning. Tomy has not had a drop of water since the injury. He cannot communicate with rescue planes as his marine VHF radio batteries are dead. Indian and Australian military planes are keeping non-stop watch over his boat Thurayi.
“He imparted us hands-on training in Mumbai before we started sailing on the Mhadei…He has been an inspiration and hope for millions of Indians who dream big and want to achieve their goals,” said Tarini skipper Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi.
Tomy became the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe onboard his boat Mhadei - solo, non-stop and unassisted in 2013. He was awarded India’s second-highest peace-time gallantry award, Kirti Chakra, for the feat.
“Even during our circumnavigation, when we were in any doubt he would take time out from his preparations of Golden Globe Race 2018. It’s really unfortunate that he’s hit by worst of the weather. Our prayers and thoughts are with him and that he returns safely,” said Lieutenant Commander Aishwarya Boddapati, who was part of the Tarini crew.
They couldn’t have found a better mentor than Tomy.
Commissioned in the Indian Navy in 2000, Tomy has sailed more than 52,000 miles in his 18-year naval career. He was part of support crew during 2008-10 for the first Indian solo circumnavigation by Commander Dilip Donde.
A voyage qualifies as circumnavigation if it starts and finishes at the same port, does not go through a canal or strait, crosses all meridians at least once, and covers at least 21,600 nautical miles.
Tomy completed flying training as a maritime reconnaissance aircraft pilot in 2002 and flew Dornier planes. He has represented India in several international events including the Cape Town to Rio Yacht Race, the Spanish Copa del Rey and the Korea Cup International Yacht Race. Tomy has been awarded MacGregor medal for valuable military reconnaissance and the Tenzing Norgay award for adventure sports.