Golden Globe Race Rescue Complete
Published on September 24th, 2018
(September 24, 2018; Day 86) – It is now Day 4 of the rescue of injured Indian Golden Globe Race solo sailor Abhilash Tomy (above) from his dismasted yacht Thuriya approximately 1,900 miles SW of Perth Western Australia
The French fisheries patrol vessel Osiris reached Tomy’s yacht at 05:30 UTC today and her crew successfully transferred him to the ship by 07:30 UTC. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra (AUS) which coordinated the rescue reported: “Tomy is conscious, talking and onboard the Orisis. Australian and Indian long range P8 Orion reconnaissance aircraft are circling overhead. Thuriya’s position is 39 32.79S and 78 3.29E
Weather conditions are favorable: 15-20 knots from the South West, 2m swells and good visibility. A radio briefing was held between the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre on Reunion Island, a doctor located on Amsterdam Island, and the master of the Osiris before the French crew boarded Thuriya from Zodiac inflatable boats to administer immediate first-aid and assess his condition.
Abhilash Tomy, 39, is a Commander in the Indian Navy and has been confined to his bunk, unable to move since his yacht was rolled through 360° and dismasted in a vicious Southern Ocean storm last Friday, September 21.
Fellow GGR skipper Gregor Mcguckin whose yacht Hanley Energy Endurance was also dismasted in the same storm last week, is making 2.2 knots towards Thuriya’s position, sailing under jury rig. The 32-year old Irishman is still 25 miles to the West and in radio contact with the reconnaissance aircraft. He is not in distress but has asked for a controlled evacuation from his yacht.
Faced with a 1,900 mile sail across the Southern Ocean to Western Australia under a small jury rig and without an engine (his fuel was contaminated when the yacht capsized), this is a responsible decision taken by a professional sailor when all the rescue assets are close by.
The alternative for Mcguckin would have been to continue sailing singlehanded without the aid of self-steering (also smashed in the capsize) and risk having to call on the Rescue Services again should he be disabled further in another storm.
Once the two solo yachtsmen are safely aboard the Osiris, the French fisheries patrol ship will proceed to Amsterdam Island where the rescued sailors will be given a full medical examination. The hospital on Amsterdam Island is well equipped with X-ray and ultrasound equipment.
UPDATE: McGuckin is now with fellow competitor Tomy now onboard the French fisheries patrol vessel Osiris. After rescuing Tomy, the vessel then traveled approximately 30 miles to safely evacuate McGuckin at 12:10 UTC whose condition is good. After his dismasting, the 32-year-old Irishman managed to build a jury rig and hand steer his yacht for the past four days to within 30 miles of his fellow competitor in order to be on site to assist with the rescue if required.
Osiris is now en-route to Amsterdam Island with an ETA of 10:00 UTC tomorrow where the two survivors will receive further medical care and advice from the resident doctor there. The Australian JRCC, which has overseen this rescue operation, is waiting for this medical advice before confirming evacuation plans for the two yachtsmen. One option is to transfer them to the Australian Frigate HMAS Ballarat due to reach Amsterdam Island in 72 hours, for onward transit to Australia.
With the dismasting Tomy and McGuckin, the 17 starters on July 1 are now reduced to 8 solo skippers. 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.