Abhilash Tomy (R) and Hasan Al Hosani, CEO of Bayanat at Expo 2020 Dubai on Tuesday Image Credit: Angel Tesorero/Gulf News

Dubai: A retired Indian Navy commander will do a solo attempt to circumnavigate the world as part of the Golden Globe Race (GGR) 2022 in a UAE-flagged boat.

Commander (Ret.) Abhilash Tomy announced during a press conference at Expo 2020 Dubai on Tuesday that he will steer UAE-registered boat ‘Bayanat’ around the world under the UAE Red Ensign Flag, with the number 71 – as fitting tribute UAE’s formation in 1971.

The race spans approximately 48,000km and begins on September 4 from Les Sables-d’Olonne, located on the western coast of France.

Bayanat is a UAE-based geospatial AI (artificial intelligence) company that will sponsor Tomy’s journey in the world’s “toughest and longest” sailboat race. GGR 2022 is a grueling non-stop circumnavigation of the world, where participants sail alone without the use of any modern technology and armed only with sextants and paper charts.

Decorated navy officer

Tomy is a decorated Indian Naval Officer. Specialising in maritime reconnaissance, he has sailed over 100,000km and has participated in several global challenges including the Cape Town to Rio Race in 2011, the Spanish Copa del Rey Race in 2014, and the Korea Cup in 2015 and 2016.

He said: “Circumnavigating the world non-stop in a sailboat is one of the most challenging achievements an individual can attempt – so far only 79 people have managed to do it. I had a tragic accident when I had last attempted GGR in 2018. I have fought hard, trained and it’s hugely satisfying to be taking up the GGR 2022 challenge with the backing of Bayanat, a company that firmly believes in enabling human progress.”

Inspiring journey

Tomy will also be carrying his country’s flag during. Sandeep Kumar Bayyapu, deputy chief of mission at the Indian Embassy, said: “The Golden Globe Race, is simply stunning. Imagine 10 months of solo-sailing, using nothing but equipment from a past century, to circumnavigate the globe. Most of us can only imagine in awe, the stormy day in the open ocean.”

“Commander Tony’s journey will inspire not only generations of sailors hoping to cast away from their home ports, but also all those who are fighting to get back up and running, after life’s setbacks… We stand and salute Commander Tomy...There is no doubt in my mind that he will join the ranks of the select 79 sailors who have achieved this feat,” he added.

Scientific work

Bayanat’s CEO Hasan Al Hosani added: “We jumped at the opportunity to support Tomy in his attempt to successfully circumnavigate the globe. The determination and the courage that’s required to do this is something that resonated with us. Bayanat’s support of Tomy’s participation in GGR 2022 demonstrates our continued commitment towards research and development, and in supporting extraordinary human achievement.”

During his journey, Tomy will aid in ongoing scientific work, including the collection of water samples which can be analysed for up-to-date insight on the presence of microplastics in the world’s oceans.