Mumbai: The Indian Navy’s only Ocean going sailboat, Mhadei, returned to her homeport, Goa, on Thursday. A team of six young women officers from the Navy registered a thrilling historic first when they returned to Goa successfully after a voyage to Mauritius.
The team comprised skipper,Lieutenant Commander (Lt Cdr) Vartika Joshi, and her five-member team comprising Lt B Aishwarya, Lt P Swathi, Lt Pratibha Jamwal, Lt Vijaya and SLt Payal Gupta.
The girls on their maiden, and India’s first all-women crew ocean voyage, covered a distance of over five thousand nautical miles through treacherous monsoon seas and heavy winds. The voyage had commenced in Goa on 24 May, 2016 and reached Port Louis, Mauritius on 14 June 2016. The team has thereafter successfully completed expedition today when they reached INS Mandovi Boat Pool.
The all-women crew of Mhadei is presently training to undertake an expedition to circumnavigate the Globe, a feat achieved by lesser number of people than those who managed to climb Mount Everest.
The first Indian to solo-circumnavigate the Globe on board Mhadei, Cdr Dilip Donde, has tutored and trained the young all-women crew.
The voyage of over 40 days at sea was aimed at exposing the Skipper and crew to rough seas expected during the monsoon period in the North Indian Ocean.
The crew will now supervise essential repairs to the boat at Goa and prepare her for the next voyage, when Mhadei would be participating in the prestigious Cape to Rio race 2017 commencing from Cape Town on 26 Dec 16.
The all-women crew will thereafter shift to the new boat presently under construction at M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd, Goa. The new boat is of same design as Mhadei and has been named Tarini, after the river boat goddess of Goa. Tarini is expected to be delivered to the Indian Navy in Feb 2017 prior to India’s first all-women crew embarking on circumnavigation commencing August 2017.
Two solo circumnavigations, the first with stops by Cdr Dilip Donde, and the second, non-stop by Cdr Abhilash Tomy, have been undertaken onboard Mhadei between 2009 and 2013.