New Delhi: The Indian Navy's sailing vessel "Mhadei", skippered and crewed by all women crew of naval officers today reached her home port, Goa.
The ship is being skippered by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, a Naval Architect. She was appointed as the first woman Skipper of Mhadei on February 8 just prior to the return voyage after her participation from the International Fleet Review. Joshi, was part of the crew on board Mhadei for the return leg of the Cape to Rio race in 2013-14.
Mhadei is crewed by Lieutenant P Swathi, Lieutenant Pratibha Jamwal (Air Traffic Control specialists), Lieutenant Vijaya Devi and Sub Lieutenant Payal Gupta (both Education officers). The sixth member of the crew, Lieutenant B Aishwarya is a naval architect and is expected to join the boat shortly.
These women officers are training to form an all-women crew that would attempt to circumnavigate the Globe in 2017. To prepare themselves for the arduous voyage, they have undergone theoretical training in Navigation, Communication, Seamanship and Meteorology at the Navy's various Training Establishments based at Kochi in August last year.
Since then, the officers have been training under the guidance and watchful eyes of Commander Dilip Donde. Commander Donde was the first Indian to solo-circumnavigate the globe in 2009-10 on board the same boat, Mhadei. The rigorous training included sorties of various durations with Donde as well as working on the boat and training on the equipment fitted on board.
The officers sailed for the Fleet Review along with Donde and post the IFR, the Navy decided to appoint Lt Commander Vartika Joshi as the Skipper for the return journey. Mhadei visited the Ports of Chennai (12-19 February) and Kochi (February 27-March 2) on her return journey. She returned to her home port Goa today which coincidentally happens to be International Women's Day.
Future training plans include an independent voyage to Mauritius in May 2016. The officers would shift to a new boat of the same class as Mhadei that has been ordered by the Navy on M/s Aquarius Shipyard, Goa slated for delivery in February 2017. Mhadei and her yet to named sister are both completely made in India.