New Delhi, Dec 23 Indian Navy's sail boat Mhadei with an all-woman crew reached Cape Town on Friday, after a grueling voyage which started from Goa in early November 2016, the navy said. The boat will participate in the "Cape to Rio 2017" race held by the Royal Cape Yacht Club (RCYC), Cape Town.
The six lady officers' onboard Mhadei skippered by Lt Commander Vartika Joshi are being trained in the various aspects of ocean sailing at the newly set-up Ocean Sailing Node at Goa headed by Capt Atool Sinha, an Asian Games Silver medalist who will also skipper the boat from Cape Town to Rio at the Cape to Rio Race 2017, the Indian Navy said.
Having steadily increased their sea legs this year, the all women team completed a 2,000 nautical miles voyage from Visakhapatnam on India's east coast to Goa on the west in February 2016 before doing their first ocean crossing of 4,000 nm from Goa to Mauritius and back in July 2016.
The current voyage from Goa to Cape Town conducted for 45 days and 5,000 nm through heavy weather has been their longest leg as yet and an important milestone in their circumnavigation aspirations. The crew also comprises of Lt Swathi, Aishwarya, Pratibha, Vijaya and Payal, all from diverse backgrounds in the service where they are naval architects, air traffic controllers and education officers by profession but united by a passion for ocean sailing.
"Their grit, determination and courage is an inspiration to all Indians and is a testimony to the women empowerment in modern India. This crew is set to attempt the first Indian all women circumnavigation of the globe in 2017," the Indian Navy said. Mhadei, a Bermudian Sloop, has been the crucible of India Navy's ocean sailing aspirations including circumnavigation.
Circumnavigation is a unique feat in Ocean Sailing wherein a boat sails atleast 21,600 nautical miles crossing the equator, every meridian and finishes in the same port as it starts. Onboard Madhei, in 2010, Commander Dilip Donde became the first Indian to solo circumnavigate the globe.
Three years later, in 2013, another naval officer, Lt Commander Abhilash Tomy improved this feat to become the first Indian to do non-stop solo circumnavigation of the globe - again onboard Mhadei. Now, India Navy aspires to attempt the circumnavigation of the globe with the first Indian all women crew in 2017.
The boat, custom built in Goa, derives her name from a deity revered by sea farers. Since her commissioning in 2009, Mhadei has logged over 105,000 nautical miles of ocean sailing, most of which has been through the remotest parts of the planet. She has crossed the Equator 13 times, the Prime Meridian six times and the International Date Line twice.
From Cape Town, the boat leaves for Cape to Rio Race on January 1.