Commander Abhilash Tomy (retd), the first Indian to complete the Golden Globe Race 2022, received a commendation from Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff, on 30 October 2023 in Goa, in recognition of his historic achievement. On 29 April 2023, Commander Tomy etched his name in history by securing the second position in GGR 22, also becoming the inaugural Asian participant to accomplish this feat. He sailed for an impressive 236 days, 14 hours, and 46 minutes since embarking on 4 September 2022, finally returning to Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, just behind Kirsten Neuschafer of South Africa.
Prior to this remarkable achievement, in 2013, Commander Tomy became the first Indian to solo-circumnavigate the globe non-stop aboard INSV Mhadei. Although he participated in GGR 18, he had to withdraw due to a severe back injury sustained during a storm en route.
Five years later, armed with a titanium rod in his spine and five fused vertebrae, he demonstrated exceptional human spirit, displaying rare endurance, determination, and grit in GGR 22. The GGR pays tribute to Sir Robin Knox Johnston, the inaugural sailor to accomplish the solo non-stop circumnavigation race in 1968.
Out of the 16 participants slated for GGR 22, tasked with circumnavigating using equipment and technology predating 1968, only three, including Commander Tomy, ultimately completed the race. The remaining participants had to withdraw mid-race due to technical glitches or accidents.
Recently, Commander Abhilash Tomy has taken on the role of mentor and coach to two female naval officers who are preparing for a solo circumnavigation voyage, marking the Indian Navy’s forthcoming edition of Sagar Parikrama.