Indian Navy solo circumnavigation voyage heads for Cape Point


Ship spotters in and around Cape Town should have their eyes peeled on the seas off Cape Point from Monday to Wednesday.

That’s when the Indian Navy sailing vessel, Mhadei, is expected to be visible off the southernmost tip of Africa as Lieutenant Commander Abhilash Tomy sails steadily on in his attempt to join an elite band of seafarers who have circumnavigated the globe.

His six month long voyage goes by the operational name Sagar Parikrama.

Tomy departed Mumbai on November 1 in a quest to singlehandedly sail around the world south of all the great Capes – Cape Leeuwing, Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope.

This would see him covering 21 600 nautical miles (about 40 000 km) and cross the equator twice by starting and finishing the voyage at the same port.

Tomy is a graduate of India’s Naval Academy and was commissioned into the Indian Navy on July 1, 2000. He is a maritime reconnaissance pilot and has logged 1 300 hours of flying. His hobby is yachting and he has taken part in various national and international regattas. In 2008, he was yacht services manager for the Volvo Ocean Race Stopover at Kochi. In 2009 he volunteered to assist the skipper of Mhadei during Sagar Parikrama One. To date he has logged some 27 000 miles of ocean sailing with 25 000 miles on the Mhadei.

The 28m Mhadei has strong connections with Cape Town, said to be her second home port by Indian Defence Advisor in South Africa Captain (Indian Navy) Prashant Chowdhary.

Her mast and standing rigging come from Southern Spar in Cape Town and her mainsail originated in North Sails’ Cape Town works. “It is a ‘bullet-proof’ sail manufactured with the solo non-stop venture specifically in mind,” he said.

Mhadei has been in Cape Town on three previous occasions. The first was during her first solo circumnavigation voyage; the second during the 2011 Cape to Rio race and then on the return leg from Rio to Goa after the race.