The Indian Navy all women crew sail boat Mhadei entered Cape Town Harbour yesterday. The grueling voyage which started from Goa in early November ended at the ‘Cape to Rio 2017’ race held by the Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town.
The six lady officers’ onboard Mhadei, with Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi leading them, have been handpicked by the Indian Navy and groomed for this challenge. They are trained in various aspects of ocean sailing at the newly launched Ocean Sailing Node at Goa. Capt Atool Sinha, an Asian Games Silver medalist will skipper the boat from Cape Town to Rio at the race.
The women have previously completed 2000 nautical miles voyage from Visakhapatnam to Goa in February before doing their first ocean crossing of 4000 nm from Goa to Mauritius in July. The current voyage from Goa to Cape Town spanned across 45 days and 5000 nm through heavy weather. It has been their longest leg yet, making it an important milestone for them.
The crew comprising of Lieutenants Swathi, Aishwarya, Pratibha, Vijaya and Payal respectively, in addition to the Skipper Vartika are from diverse backgrounds and they are Naval Architects, Air Traffic Controllers and Education Officers by profession. The passion of Ocean Sailing unites them all. 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 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 Thirteen times, Prime Meridian Six times and the International Date Line twice.