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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Six women, one 56-ft sailboat, around the world

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History in the making

An Indian sailboat. Tarini. steered by an all-women Indian crew,reached Fremantle. Australia on 24th October.

It was the Navika Sagar Parikrama project. the first-ever Indian circum-navigation of the globe bl’ an all-women crew and flagged off by the Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman from Goa on 10th Sep-tember.

Lieutenant commander Vartika Joshi skippered the vessel and the crew comprised of Lieutenant Command· ers Pratibha Jamwal. P Swath!, and Lieutenants S Vijaya Devi. warya and Payal Gupta. This voyage by six young lady officers is a formidable task, in the face of challenges posed bl’ the stormy seas and fierce weather. which could deter the best of the sea-goers. Yet. they volunteered for the voyage and are now the Team Tarin!. a name that will be attached to these six brave Navikas’ as they are termed, for the ,est of their lives.

Celebrating the Equator

Six of them set sail from Goa on the maiden voyage of INSV Tarini (named after the Goddess In the Odla cul-ture ).Young, bubbly, in their late twenties. not classical seafarers but armed bl’ the naval training of being airtraffic controllers. ship construc-tors or education officers, they sailed this 56-foot sailboat with spirit and perfection.

After leaving the coast of Goa, they were soon in the Indian Ocean lacing the vagaries of the ‘doldrums’ around the equator (‘doldrums· Is a colloquial maritime expression of a low-pressure belt around the equator where winds are calm or likely to dis-appear sometime. which can trap a boat for days or weeks). Just no windmade Tarini’s progress very slow and painful.

When they crossed the Equator on 25th Sept, they celebrated with a cake made onboard. The crew had missed the deadline to be in Freman· tie before Deepawall. which they cel-ebrated in the middle of the ocean, after crafting diyas from wheat fiour and cotton wicks.

Challenges of the wind

The unpredictable winds pushed them westwards – though they had plotted to head east. Once the crew crossed the Tropic of capricorn, the trade winds steered the vessel to-wards Fremantle. The 4500 nautical miles (nm) Journey took 43 days with onboard dry rations running out within a month and survival was on packed foodstuff.

After the emergencies and challeng-es they faced together. the navlKas have mentally become stronger, more patient and tolerant. balancing duty time with leisure – planning ahead of the next tour-hour duty round. Skipper Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi was no more taking impulsive decisions · she garnered the strength ot the crew and utilised It to the
advantage of the voyage.

After the pit stop at Fremantle, the team Tarlnl heads to Lyttleton. New Zealand on 5th Nov for their onward legs covering approx 21,000 nm till they return to Goa, April 2018. They would have covered the entire expe-dition in five legs, with stop-overs at 4 ports: Fremanue (Australia). Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands). and Cape Town (South Africa).We wish them a Bon Voyage. God-speed, my friend. I wish you fair winds & following seas ahead.

Go, Tarlni Go!!

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