Two Sailors in Round-the-World Race Rescued After Boats Damaged in Storm

  • 6 years ago
An Indian sailor taking part in a solo non-stop round-the-world race was rescued on September 24 after sustaining a back injury when his boat rolled 360-degrees and was dismasted during a severe storm in the southern Indian Ocean on September 21.Abhilash Tomy, an Indian Navy commander who became the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe solo and non-stop in 2013, was in third place in the Golden Globe Race when the storm hit. A few hours earlier, about 90 miles away, his nearest competitor, Irishman Gregor McGuckin, was also rolled and dismasted in the same storm but sustained only minor injuries. McGuckin waited out the storm before making a makeshift mast to head north towards Tomy’s position to assist him. Both men were at what officials said was the “extreme limit of immediate rescue range.”After several hours without contact, and amid increasing concern over his welfare, Tomy texted race officials on Friday saying his was immobile but safe inside his cabin.A rescue operation was overseen by Australia’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Canberra, working with race officials and the Indian Navy. Reconnaissance aircraft were dispatched to observe both Tomy and McGuckin’s stricken vessels, and to make radio contact with McGuckin. This footage was shot by an Indian naval aircraft on Monday, September 24, shortly before Tomy was rescued, and shows the mast of his boat hanging off the side of the hull.Later on Monday, Tomy was reached by French fisheries patrol vessel Osiris and was described as “conscious and talking.” McGuckin was picked up a short time later. The Dubliner had been faced with the choice of a 1,900-mile journey with a jury rig to Western Australia, which, it was estimated, would have taken 50 days, or abandoning his yacht, the Hanley Energy Endurance. He requested a controlled evacuation of his boat as Osiris approached.Both men were being taken to the isolated French island of Amsterdam where they would receive medical attention. “The hospital on Amsterdam Island is well equipped with X-ray and ultrasound equipment,” race officials said.The Friday storm had also posed great difficulty for Dutchman Mark Slats, in second place, who said “never seen conditions as bad,” and had been knocked down several times in the stormy weather.The Golden Globe Race began at Les Sables d’Olonne, France, on July 1, and marked 50 years since Sir Robin Knox-Johnston undertook the first solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe. Entrants could only use technology that would have been available during Knox-Johnson’s journey. Credit: Indian Navy via Storyful