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Find out how six women are creating history in the oceans

Six Indian women are out there in the ocean creating history. In a first of its kind expedition by Indian Navy, an all-women crew was flagged off by India’s first female full-time defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman. On Sept 10, 2017, at 13.00 hours, at the Mandovi river boat pool in Goa, our Raksha Mantri flagged off the INSV Tarini. That was a lot of woman power in one event.

The INSV Tarini is the second ocean-going sailboat to be inducted by the Indian Navy. The first was INSV Mhadei. INSV Mhadei has a record of its own too. Commander Dilip Donde became the first ever Indian national to complete a solo circumnavigation around the globe on the INSV Mhadei in May 2010.

INSV Tarini was inducted into the Indan Navy in February 2017. It was an indigenously built in Divar shipyard in Goa. The all-women team has skipper Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi and crew members include Lieutenant Commander Pratibha Jamwal, Lieutenant Aishwarya Boddapati, Lieutenant Patarapalli Swathi, Lieutenant Sh Vijaya Devi and Lieutenant Payal Gupta. The women were extensively trained before they embarked on the remarkable journey. Under their training programme, they logged over 10,000 Nautical Miles on INSV Mhadei, including a voyage from India to Mauritius and back and Goa to Cape Town travelling through rough monsoon seas and heavy wind.

Indian Navy has four sailing vessels capable of open ocean deployments, that is, Tarangini, Sudarshini, Mhadei and Tarini. All of them were built in Goa shipyards.

The roughly seven-month long expedition will be completed in five legs. The INSV Tarini will make port calls at four major ports during its journey. Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands), and Cape Town (South Africa).

INSV Tarini route

The voyage has so far been both beautiful and extremely challenging for the brave women. From braving deep vast oceans to sailing through extreme hailstorms in gushing winds, these women have seen it all.

The ocean is not always scary though. It has also sprung some surprises for the sailors.

During the voyage, the women monitor and report marine pollution data too. They also interact extensively with local people whenever they make port calls to promote Ocean sailing. During their voyage, the crew is also required to collate and update meteorological, ocean and wave data on a regular basis for better weather forecast by India Meteorological Department (IMD) and subsequent analysis by research and development organisations.

Even with such exhausting tasks at their hands the women never fail to celebrate an occasion and make the most of their experience.

The INSV Tarini achieved a major feat today when it rounded the Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America. The crew celebrated by unfurling the tricolour. Living the words “Uchchala jaladhee taranga” of our national anthem in true spirit. The Prime Minister greeted them personally.

The women have braved and conquered some of the most difficult challenges known to humankind. Their power and conviction are evident from their faces.

The sailboat will make its next port halt at Cape Town, South Africa. Then they will set sail onwards the last leg of their voyage home. The whole nation is eagerly waiting for these extraordinary women to come back. We all pray for their safe arrival. Sail strong, girls.

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Sanghamitra
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