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First Indian on non-stop solo trip across seven seas

Published: 11th January 2013 04:29 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th January 2013 04:29 PM   |  A+A-

A 33-year-old pilot with the Indian Navy is currently sailing somewhere in the South Pacific as part of his solo mission to circumnavigate the globe non-stop, which will make him the first Indian to do so if he succeeds.

Lt. Commander Abhilash Tomy, who flies Dornier aircraft of the Indian Navy, developed a passion for sailing at a young age, says his father Lt. Cmdr. (retd) V.C. Tomy, who is following his son's trip on an hourly basis from his home here.

The naval officer set sail in his boat, named INSV Mhadei, on the solo non-stop trip around the seven seas from Mumbai Nov 1. He is expected to sail back to the city by April 1.

Although the boat has an engine, it is being powered by winds in the high seas, the naval officer's father told IANS.

"Every day we keep in touch through internet and his (Abhilash's) plan is to reach Cape Horn in South America on Jan 26. This sailing is a non-stop one," said the former naval officer, adding that at the moment his son is sailing ahead of schedule.

Commander Dilip Donde, who is Abhilash's mentor, said he too embarked on the daunting journey across the world's oceans in 2009 on the same INSV Mhadei but stopped four times before dropping the anchor. It took Donde nine months to complete the journey in 2010.

"I was in the high seas for 157 days and covered around 23,000 nautical miles, while Abhilash is doing it non-stop. Once he finishes, he will be only the 80th person in the world to do so. Only around 200 people in the world have successfully completed the journey with stops," said Donde.

The young sailor's father said that his son does not sleep more than an hour at a stretch.

"When he gets tired, he puts the boat in an automatic steering mode and goes to sleep. He repeats the cycle as and when he gets tired," the former naval officer added.

He said that Abhilash was carrying dry ration with him but it got exhausted. "Now he is eating canned food supplied by the Defence Food Laboratory."

"I am proud that my son is following his passion," said the father.

The 56-foot sail boat was made in Goa by Aquarius Fibreglas Pvt Ltd..



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