Panaji [India], Nov. 10 : An all-women crew of the Indian Navy yesterday set off for the 'Cape 2 Rio Yacht Race 2017' from Goa The team was flagged off on Indian Navy Sailing Vessel (INSV) MHADEI for the race that is scheduled to start on January 01, 2017 from Cape Town, South Africa.
The navy's first all-women team, under Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, crewed the MHADEI for the first time earlier this year.
The team travelled to the southern port city of Visakhapatnam for the International Fleet Review. "We are six in the team which is selected for the all-women circumnavigation. We started our journey as a team last year. We were sent on various courses before embarking on MHADEI for long ocean passages. After we successfully completed those courses in seamanship, navigation and communication, navy decided to send the all-women team on their own," said Joshi.
In May, the team also made a trip to Mauritius under Joshi's command. "They have already sailed before. Vartika, who is the skipper, has already sailed as an independent skipper. After the International Fleet Review, MHADEI was brought and under her command they have done a trip to Mauritius and back.
Now this yacht is going to go to Mauritius and thereafter take place in a very demanding race called the 'Cape to Rio' race from where they are going to sail from Cape Town to Rio under racing conditions.
With time they will get prepared, and the eventual plan is that we will have an all-lady crew who will undertake circumnavigation," said Monty Khanna, Rear Admiral, Commandant Naval War College.
The all-women crew took off for Cape Town after a flag-hoisting ceremony at the INS Mandovi naval base, which was attended by several navy officials.
The team will be joined at Cape Town by Captain Atool Sinha, who will lead a mixed crew of men and women in the championship.
The first 'Cape 2 Rio', also called the South Atlantic Race, set off from Table Bay in 1971. It is the longest continent to continent race in the southern hemisphere, with participants covering a stretch of about 5,800 kilometers.