Raring to go on another expedition: INS Tarini’s all-women crew (March 8 is International Women’s Day)

New Delhi, March 8 : The ravages of the high seas may be daunting enough to sap the spirits of the hardiest of us, but they failed to intimidate these six women officers of the Indian Navy, who can't wait to venture out again despite completing a gruelling 254- day-long circumnavigation of the globe in a sailing vessel just about a year ago.

Now the subject of a documentary by the National Geographic channel, the crew completed the 22,000 nautical mile circumnavigation in the indigenously-built INSV Tarini; crossed the three great capes: Cape of Good Hope, Cape Horn and Cape Leeuwin and tamed a storm or two - all in a good day's work.

It was the first such effort by an all-women crew though two male Navy officers have previously done so solo.

"We are raring to go back.

The thing with sailors is once they are hooked they can't wait to go back. It's like some spiritual exercise or a sport which you don't want to stop playing," Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, the skipper of the crew, told IANS after an event at the Lady Shri Ram College here to promote the documentary.

The 45-minute-long documentary, shot by the National Geographic team aboard the vessel after its return, will be aired on Friday on the occasion of International Women's Day at 9 p.m.

The crew underwent rigorous training of over two-and-a-half-years before embarking on the expedition, during which it had to contend with many a storm.

The most ferocious of these was the one near Cape Horn.

"We faced this strom near Cape Horn which struck with winds reaching 120 km per hour.

We had been following the advance of the storm and it was inevitable we would have to face it. We somehow managed to be in the tail of the storm and did make some mistakes, but not many, otherwise our boat would have capsized and none of us would be alive," Lieutenant S.

Vijaya Devi, one of the crew members, said matter-of-factly.

Another hiccup was when the boat's steering gear was damaged on the return leg to India.

"It was near Mauritius. The sea was very rough. We had to make an emergency halt at Port Louis for effecting the repairs," Vijaya said.

Sailing has for long been considered a male pursuit and one of the first lessons the crew learnt before the voyage was to "forget your gender".

"The first thing we were told was to leave our gender behind. Circumnavigation in itself is such a hard thing, that you don't have to add your gender to it. So we did that. We took inspiration from a lot of people," another crew member, Lt. Commander Pratibha Jamwal, said.

Other than Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, the crew comprised Lieutenant Commanders Pratibha Jamwal and P.

Swathi, and Lieutenants S. Vijaya Devi, B. Aishwarya and Payal Gupta.

(Vishal Narayan can be reached at vishal.n@ians.in)



Source: IANS