Naval officer, on global wooden boat race, takes up no-tech challenge

So, no GPS device or satellite phones, other electronic instruments or autopilots; not even pocket calculators for Cdr Abhilash Tomy when he sets assail next year on the boat, which will not contain post-1968 technology.

In fact, he would only use sextant on paper charts for navigation. He will hand write the logs and determine the weather manually by looking at the sky.

Tomy is the only Indian to take part in the Golden Globe race, 2018 where sailors from around the world would attempt to replicate a legendary voyage undertaken by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the world’s first solo non-stop circumnavigator.

Tomy, who has done solo circumnavigation in the past on a modern boat will now do it on the wooden boat ‘Thuraya’.

The boat was launched in the water in Goa on Monday.

The only opportunity for the participants to talk to friends and family during the course of more than 22,000 nautical miles journey is a few small windows when Ham radio links are available to the sailor.

The wooden boat also cannot stock food and water beyond a limit, which means judicious use of the provisions that Tomy would carry.

The 32-foot sail boat is a replica of the iconic boat ‘Suhaili’, which was sailed by Knox-Johnston, in the first solo non-stop circumnavigation of the world in 1968.

“It is for those who dare, just as it was for Sir Robin Knox Johnston. Competitors will sail simple boats with basic equipment. The challenge is pure and raw,” Tomy said.

The race would start on June 30, 2018, from Plymouth in the UK.

However, the Indian Navy officer has to first prove the mettle of his boat by sailing 4,500 nautical miles from Goa to Cape Town in another race later this year.

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