Finnish sailor’s yacht sinks during Golden Globe Race, Abhilash Tomy is first to respond
India time | 3 hours ago | 19-11-2022 | 08:23
3 hours ago | 19-11-2022 | 08:23
PANAJI: Bringing back memories of the horrific 2018 accident that struck Indian circumnavigator Abhilash Tomy in the southern Indian Ocean, tragedy has struck the Golden Globe Race (GGR) again. Finnish navigator Tapio Lehtinen’s yacht sank on Friday afternoon about 460 nautical miles off South Africa while in second place. Tomy, whose spirit immediately recalled the international rescue efforts that saved his life in 2018, immediately radioed the GGR crisis management team in Les Sables d’Olonne and diverted course to the Lehtinen position. “Fingers crossed for Tapio. Navigate diligently. I should have it on board by tomorrow night,” said Tomy. His sponsors have also contacted representatives in South Africa to arrange for drones to conduct aerial reconnaissance over Lehtinen’s location. At 2:52 p.m., Lehtinen activated his emergency satellite tracking and texting device, notifying the GGR crisis team that he was in distress. According to GGR officials, Lehtinen’s yacht, the Asteria, began taking on water from the stern and sank in a very short time. “I gave a final salute to Asteria standing in the raft as she descended,” Lehtinen said in a text message to race officials. Weather conditions near the crash site are “manageable with light winds and a 2.5 meter swell”, GGR organizers said. Kirsten Neuschafer, one of the most experienced skippers in the race, who was closest to the Asteria, also diverted to rescue Lehtinen. “Kirsten is under motor and should have favorable winds later on, expecting to be in the area Saturday morning. Forecasts suggest conditions will moderate over the next couple of days,” GGR officials said. accident will bring back memories of the September 18, 2018 storm that damaged three yachts competing in the 50th anniversary edition of the dreaded 30,000 mile race.The storm not only destroyed Tomy’s ship, the Thuriya, but the also left nearly paralyzed in one of the most remote parts of the Indian Ocean.This time around, Tomy is sailing a Rustler 36, a 35ft yacht that once raced in Philippe Péché’s last Golden Globe. “We are worried for Tapio and for Abhilash. He was the first to acknowledge the distress message and divert his route,” Tomy’s wife Urmimala said in an interview with TOI The South Center -African SEC Coordination Maritime bears were also alerted and a bulk carrier, Darya Gayatri, was asked to join the rescue effort. Tomy’s 2018 accident and the sinking of Lehtinen’s yacht once again highlight the perils of the extreme sport of solo circumnavigation. On September 18, another GGR participant, Guy De Boer and his yacht Tashiba 36 SPIRIT, struck rocks about 50m off the beach on the island of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. Boer had to swim to shore, and his ship had to be recovered using a crane the next day.