All-women crew sails into Port Louis


In­dian Navy’s sail boat INSV Mhadei sailed into Port Louis, Mau­ri­tius, with the first all-women crew re­cently. The Navy’s fa­mous sail­ing ves­sel Mhadei set sail from her home port Goa on May 24, 2016, on this his­toric first open ocean voy­age by an all­women crew on any ves­sel of the In­dian Navy. Lt Com­man­der Var­tika Joshi, a naval ar­chi­tect, is the first woman Skip­per of Mhadei. The boat is crewed by Lt P. Swathi, Lt Prat­i­bha Jamwal (air traf­fic con­trol spe­cial­ists), Lt Vi­jaya Devi, Sub Lt Payal Gupta (both ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cers) and Lt B. Aish­warya, a naval ar­chi­tect.

The 2,100-nm voy­age was cov­ered by the crew in 20 days pass­ing through rough seas whipped up by the south-west mon­soons. The tim­ing of the voy­age was cho­sen to ex­pose the crew to rough weather that they are likely to en­counter dur­ing their at­tempt to cir­cum­nav­i­gate the globe in 2017. Mhadei en­coun­tered winds of up to 35 kts, sea states up to 5 and a swell of up to 5 m dur­ing the on­ward leg from Goa to Mau­ri­tius. This ad­e­quately met the train­ing aims of the voy­age. The stren­u­ous jour­ney also pro­vided the crew with an op­por­tu­nity to con­sol­i­date upon their the­o­ret­i­cal and prac­ti­cal train­ing un­der­gone thus far.

The re­turn jour­ney from Port Louis to Goa is slated to com­mence on June 24, 2016. Mhadei is ex­pected to ar­rive in Goa in early July 16. The women of­fi­cers are train­ing to form an all-women crew that would at­tempt to cir­cum­nav­i­gate the globe next year.

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