Golden Globe: Rescue on in Indian Ocean
Published on September 21st, 2018
(September 21, 2018; Day 83) – A vicious storm mid-way across the South Indian Ocean has the Golden Globe in its grasp, with grave concern now for Abhilash Tomy, the 39-year old Indian skipper since his dramatic text message at 12:09 UTC today: ROLLED. DISMASTED. SEVERE BACK INJURY. CANNOT GET UP.
There has been no further communication with Tomy, prompting race organisers to work closely with the Australian Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Center (MRCC) in Canberra, which has issued an all ships alert and is now coordinating rescue efforts led by Australian Defence Forces.
The Australians are also working with French MRCC based on Reunion Island in the South Indian Ocean which is attempting to source a vessel that might assist, including a French Fisheries Protection ship thought to be in the area.
Commander Tomy is a serving Naval Flying Officer in the Indian Navy, which has also been alerted and is standing by to assist in the rescue.
Don McIntyre, the Race Chairman based in Les Sables d’Olonne where the Golden Globe solo non-stop round the world Race began on July 1, said tonight: “We are very grateful to all these international organisations for mobilising their resources so quickly and for the lead role taken by the MRCC in Canberra.
“The position of Tomy’s yacht Thuriya, a replica of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s yacht Suhaili, winner of the first GGR 50 years ago, is some 1,900 miles south West of Perth, Western Australia at the extreme limit of immediate rescue range.
“The fact that Abhilash has been unable to make contact via text or sat phone, nor set off his emergency beacon is unusual and suggests that he remains incapacitated. The only link is the tracking signal we are receiving from the yacht, but the batteries have a limited life.”
Other Golden Globe Race competitors have been alerted to the situation and offered to assist.
Gregor McGuckin, the subject of a CODE ORANGE alert himself following his yacht’s dismasting earlier today, is 100 miles SW of Tomy’s position, and has good communications onboard. He is reporting moderating conditions, and that all is okay and secure onboard his yacht Hanley Energy Endurance. The Irishman has also confirmed that the yacht’s engine remains operational following his 360° roll, and after he has made repairs, will inform Race HQ if and when he can head towards Thuriya’s position.
Estonian skipper Uku Randmaa is another within range, some 450 miles to the west of Thuriya and is sailing at best speed towards her.
Dutchman Mark Slats, currently 2nd overall, sailing the Rustler 36 Ophen Maverick is still facing extreme conditions 230 miles to the South East of the Indian yacht, and having been knocked down several times during the day, is not in a safe position to turn back at this time.
The MRCC in Canberra will issue an update once they receive official confirmation of the air/sea rescue assets available.
The next compulsory turning gate for the fleet is off Hobart, Tasmania.
The 2018 Golden Globe Race started for 17 skippers from Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday July 1, 2018, with the inaugural solo non-stop around the world yacht race expected to take 9-10 months to complete.
The event marks the 50th anniversary of the Sunday Times Golden Globe solo non-stop round the world race in 1968-69 when rules then allowed competitors to start from ports in northern France or UK between June 1st and October 31st.
A notable twist to the 2018 Golden Globe Race format is how entrants are restricted to using the same type of yachts and equipment that were available in that first race, with the premise being to keep the race within financial reach of every dreamer.
The rules allow for one breach of the strict solo, non-stop un-assisted circumnavigation without the aid of modern electronic navigation aids regulations that make this Race unique. However, those that do move down to the Chichester Class as if, like Sir Francis Chichester in 1966-67, they have made one stop during their solo circumnavigation.
Those who breach the rules for a second time are deemed to have retired from the GGR Event and the organisers have no responsibility or obligation to them.