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First Solo Indian Circumnavigator

Christmas at sea onboard Mhadei.

© 2013 Abhilash Tomy

Even as we were writing about one benchmark Asian circumnavigation, another one was not even on our radar. On Saturday, Abhilash Tomy, a Lieutenant Commander in the Indian Navy, became the first Indian to circumnavigate – solo, nonstop and unassisted – just two days after the first solo Chinese circumnavigator, Guo Chuan, completed a similar voyage (see last Friday’s ‘Lectronic for that story).

Tomy, a maritime reconnaissance pilot, set sail from Mumbai on November 1 aboard the 56-ft INSV Mhadei, which was built for the Indian Navy. He returned a national hero, to a welcoming ceremony led by India’s president, Pranab Mukherjee. Tomy told the Indian press that he had fulfilled a dream he’d held for 14 years — and took four years of preparation. For more, see Tomy’s blog at

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