Indian naval sailing vessel Mhadei arrives at Cape Town
Indian naval sailing vessel Mhadei arrives at Cape Town

The Indian Navy’s ocean-going sail boat Mhadei with an all-women crew, entered Cape Town harbour on December 23 after a gruelling voyage which started from Goa in early November 2016. The boat participated in the ‘Cape to Rio 2017’ race held by the Royal Cape Yacht Club (RCYC), Cape Town.

The six lady officers’ on-board Mhadei skippered by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi have been handpicked by the Indian Navy and groomed for this challenge. They 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 medallist who skippered the boat from Cape Town to Rio at the Cape to Rio Race 2017.

Having steadily increased their sea legs this year, these women have completed a 2000 nautical miles voyage from Visakhapatnam to Goa in India 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 have been their longest leg as yet and an important milestone in their circumnavigation aspirations.

The crew comprising Lieutenants Swathi, Aishwarya, Pratibha, Vijaya and Payal respectively, in addition to the skipper Vartika are from diverse backgrounds, such naval architects, air traffic controllers and education officers by profession. The passion of ocean sailing unites them all. Their grit, determination and courage are an inspiration to all Indians and a testimony to women empowerment in modern India. This crew is set to attempt the first Indian all women circumnavigation of the globe in 2017.

From Cape Town, the boat left for Cape to Rio Race on 1 January 2017.


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