Abhilash Tomy, Dilna K, Adhvait Menon bag august yachting awards

Cdr Abhilash Tomy (retd) won the Admiral R H Tahiliani trophy for the best yachtsperson of the year.

Published: 01st August 2023 06:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st August 2023 06:30 AM   |  A+A-

Abhilash Tomy. (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

KOCHI: Three Keralites were among those who won trophies in the prestigious 2022-23 YAI Awards held by the Yachting Association of India (YAI). They are Cdr Abhilash Tomy (retd), the first Indian to undertake a solo, unassisted, non-stop voyage around the world; Lt Cdr Dilna K, the woman naval officer from Kerala who’s training for the Navy’s most ambitious voyage yet; and Adhvait Prasant Menon, a youngster who many have touted to be the face of Indian sailing in the future.

Cdr Abhilash Tomy (retd) won the Admiral R H Tahiliani trophy for the best yachtsperson of the year. “I feel great. Happy to be recognised by the highest yachting body in India,” Abhilash told TNIE.

Named after India’s 11th naval chief, the venerable ‘Tally Ho’, the trophy is awarded to an individual who showcases excellence on the international stage on four criteria: sportsmanship, sense of discipline and behaviour (on and off the water), quality of leadership, dedication and devotion to the sport of yachting.

“Abhilash likely ticked all these boxes with his stellar performance in the Golden Globe Race (GGR) alone,” said Commander Vijay K Vadhera, president of the Navy Foundation and his long-time friend. Indeed, Abhilash scripted history when he finished second in the GGR, thus becoming the first Asian to participate in and finish the race, considered the holy grail of sailing.

That’s not all, he has also been instrumental in several youngsters unfurling their sails and taking to the seas. Two of the trophy winners, Lt Cdr Dilna and Adhvait, both look up to the 44-year-old as their mentor figure. While Lt Cdr Dilna bagged the Admiral Ramdas trophy for her “outstanding voyage” onboard, INSV Tarini, Adhvait won the Admiral Nadkarni Trophy for his individual feats at both the international and national levels.

After her recent around-the-world voyage in May, Lt Cdr Dilna had told TNIE that she was “inspired by the voyages of Dilip Donde and Abhilash Tomy”. Adhvait, too, echoed similar sentiments. On a call from Istanbul, after making a mark in the World Championships in Greece, where he placed third among contestants from Asia, Adhvait, too, was all praise for Abhilash. 

“I took to sailing after being inspired by him,” he told TNIE. This newspaper also learnt that Adhvait has been selected for Asian Games 2023, to be held in China. He is the son of Prasant Menon, who steers the Indian Navy’s ocean sailing node.

The awards were announced at the 54th annual meeting of the YAI. The trophies will be personally handed over to the winners in late October.  The YAI is the governing authority for sailing, windsurfing, motor boating, powerboat racing and personal watercraft at sea and on inland waters in India. It is recognised by the Indian Olympic Association and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

YAI awards

Admiral Ramdas Trophy: INSV Tarini crew

Admiral Nadkarni Trophy for most promising yachtsperson: Adhvait Prasant Menon, INWTC (Mandovi)

Admiral RH Tahiliani Trophy for the yachtsperson of the year:  Cdr Abhilash Tomy (Retd)

YAI Lifetime Achievement Award: Maj Gen HK Kapoor (Retd)

Admiral Kohli Trophy: Ashok Thakkar, TNSA

E-in-C Trophy for most promising lady sailor: Neha Thakur, NSS Bhopal

Admiral RK Dhowan Trophy for best sailing club: Army Yachting Node, Mumbai


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