Chennai, Feb 13: The Indian Navy said on Saturday that its sailing vessel Mhadei has entered the Chennai Port.
The ship is skippered and crewed by an all-women team of naval officers for first time ever and is back after participating in the International Fleet Review.
"All the crew members are volunteers and are driven by their passion for adventure and a love for sailing and the seas," says a naval official.
Navy says the sail boat that left Visakhapatnam on February 9 will have its next stop at Kochi (Feb 23-36) before reaching her home port at Goa on March 2.
Navy says Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, a naval architect was appointed as the first woman skipper of Mhadei on February 8, just prior to her return voyage.
The boat is crewed by Lieutenants P Swathi, Pratibha Jamwal (Air Traffic Control specialists), Vijaya Devi and Sub Lieutenant Payal Gupta (both education officers). The sixth member of the crew, Lieutenant B Aishwarya is an engineer and is expected to join the boat next month.
Training to circumnavigate the globe next year
The women officers are training to form an all-women crew that would attempt to circumnavigate the globe next year.
This is the first all-women crew to man any ocean-going sailing boat of the Indian Navy.
Mhadei is an Indian-built yacht that was delivered to the Indian Navy in February 2009 by Aquarius Fibreglass at Goa.
It has been part of two solo circumnavigations -- first in 2009-10 under Commander Dilip Dhonde, and then non-stop in 2012-13 under Lieutenant Commander Abhilash Tomy.