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September 21, 2018

Code Red Alert in Golden Globe

This story was updated at 3:27 p.m. on Friday afternoon.

During his second solo circumnavigation, Abhilash Tomy, 39, is in trouble. He has been severely injured during a roll and dismasting aboard his 32-ft Atkins-designed ketch Thuriya.

© 2018 Golden Globe Race

A massive Southern Ocean storm packing 70-knot gusts has hit the Golden Globe Race fleet and two boats have dismasted. Seas have built to 14 meters — that’s meters, not feet! Abhilash Tomy of India and Gregor McGuckin of Ireland rolled and dismasted. Dutchman Mark Slats experienced two major knockdowns.

This graphic shows the YB tracker overlaid on the Windyty wind pattern.

© 2018 Golden Globe Race

Both McGuchin and Slats report that they are OK, but Tomy, a commander in the Indian Navy making his second solo circumnavigation, has been injured. A Code Red Alert was issued after Race HQ received his eight-word message at 12:09 UTC today: "ROLLED. DISMASTED. SEVERE BACK INJURY. CANNOT GET UP."

Maritime Rescue authorities were also alerted. His position is reported as 39° 38.420 S 077° 22.565 E. GGR Control has asked him to confirm if he can turn his sat phone on, if the mast is still alongside the boat, and if he has turned on his EPIRB. They are awaiting response and had no further information at this time we posted this ‘Lectronic. "Have advised other entrants to make towards his position if possible."

Update of 2100 UTC (3 p.m. PDT): There has been no further communication with Tomy. the Australian Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Center (MRCC) in Canberra, which has issued an all ships alert and is now coordinating rescue efforts led by Australian Defence Forces. French MRCC based on Reunion Island in the South Indian Ocean is attempting to source a vessel that might assist, including a French Fisheries Protection ship thought to be in the area.

The position of Thuriya, a replica of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s yacht Suhaili, winner of the first GGR 50 years ago, is some 1,900 miles southwest of Perth, Western Australia, at the extreme limit of immediate rescue range.

The fact that Abhilash has been unable to make contact via text or sat phone, or set off his EPIRB suggests that he remains incapacitated. "The only link is the tracking signal we are receiving from the yacht, but the batteries have a limited life,” state race organizers.

Ten solo sailors out of 18 starters are still racing in the retro-style nonstop circumnavigation. Frenchman Jean-Luc Van Den Heede is in the lead. The race started on July 1 from Les Sables d’Olonne, France. See

See Randall Reeves in Richmond

Randall Reeves sailing solo aboard his 41-ft aluminum sloop Moli. Randall and Moli are preparing to depart on a second attempt at the Figure 8 Voyage at the end of this month.

© 2018 Kim Kirch

"We are elated to have as our guest speaker for the 2018 Northern California Westsail Rendezvous sailing adventurer Randall Reeves," writes Randy Leasure of the Westsail 32 Tortuga. Randy is known to Bay Area sailors as a racer with the Singlehanded Sailing Society and a veteran of two Singlehanded TransPacs.

Randy Leasure and Tortuga at the start of the 2016 Singlehanded TransPac off the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon. Four Westsail 32s completed the race that year.

©2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Randall will entertain the Westsail Rendezvous with sea stories at Marina Bay Yacht Harbor in Richmond tomorrow, Saturday, September 22, at 7 p.m., and the Westsailors are inviting Latitude readers to join them.

Randall Reeves in action. He has logged more than 50,000 solo ocean miles.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"Randall will share his sea stories as he sailed a 25,000-mile circumnavigation of the globe. In the fall of 2017 Randall departed San Francisco for the first-ever circumnavigation of both the American and Antarctic continents in one season," explains Randy. "The route was to pass through all of the world’s oceans, approach both poles, and round Cape Horn twice. No one has done this before — no one has even tried. He experienced some critical gear failures, and Randall is getting ready to depart again on Sunday, September 30." Reeves plans to depart between 10 and 11 a.m. from Travis Marina at Cavallo Point in Sausalito.

Snapshot from a Cruising Paradise

After a few years away, we returned to one of our old haunts for a quick visit. There’s been a lot of change — some of it hard to see, and some of it exciting, like the state of the sailing and cruising scene. We’ll bring you the story next week.

Cruising is alive and well somewhere in the United States . . . 

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Taking Care of Business

When it comes to money, there are two types of cruisers: those who have enough that they no longer need to work — and those who don’t.

Among that second set, there are also two types — commuter cruisers and those who work along the way. The former will leave the boat somewhere secure and return home for a month, six months or even a year of work before they go back for another few months of cruising. Then leave the boat somewhere else and do it over again.

The latter group is the one that’s always fascinated us the most. These are the folks who head out with enough to make it for a few weeks or months — then they have to earn more some way, somehow. What do they do?

In more than 40 years of writing about this stuff, we’ve heard some doozies —trimming palm trees infested with ants, putting on magic shows, selling paintings on the dock — we even met one southbound couple with a pair of toy poodles they planned to breed along the way and sell the pups. (We’ve always wondered how that one worked out…)

One of the most interesting characters we’ve met in this life is John Calvert, former movie star, stuntman, pilot, sailor and magician. When we ran into him in the ’70s in the Med, he was cruising aboard an old motorboat with his significant other, Tammy, as well as a cheetah named Fifi and a chimp named Tommy. (Oh yeah: he was also a former animal trainer and rescued abused wild animals.) Whenever he’d pull into a new port, he’d rent a theater and put on magic shows to earn money.


Back in the BC years (before computers), a lot of work was performed within the cruising fleet ranks — bottom cleaning, diesel mechanic-ing, painting/varnishing. Actually working in foreign countries, although it was (and is) certainly done, was sometimes iffy because of local laws.

These days, tons of cruisers, especially the younger ones, are in tech. And they can do whatever those jobs entail from their boats. Or perhaps we should say, from their computers wherever they can find Wi-Fi. Some cruisers are even able to start and run small ‘businesses afloat’ from their boats.

We’d like to get as good a handle on ‘taking care of business’ while cruising as we can for a future article — and for that we’re asking for your help. We’re interested in hearing from both commuter cruisers and those who earn money along the way.


  • What do you do to earn money?
  • How often do you (have to) do it?
  • If you’ve done different jobs, what are some of the more interesting ones?
  • Have any of the jobs been in other countries, and if so, were there any legal issues with your doing them?
  • Is there any sort of regular work niche out there you didn’t know about that might be ideal for future cruisers?
  • What is the craziest cruiser job you ever heard of (and might you have contact information for the crazy people who did it)?

Please send responses by email to JR. And please ask your cruising buddy-boats to chime in, too!

Cal 40s are great boats, and we’re happy to bring you the news that another one is being revived and returned to racing.
This coming Saturday, Stockton Sailing Club will host the second annual Sail to Recovery, Take a Veteran Sailing day.