Indian Navy's all women team of Navika Sagar Parikrama, on January 19, rounded Cape Horn, the southern tip of South America through the Drake Passage on their way to Port Stanley in Falkland Islands.
Facing gusting winds of over 70 kmph, the team of Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Tarini hoisted the Indian Tri-colours onboard as she crossed the Cape Horn. Drake Passage is considered as the roughest stretch of sea on the planet.
On September 10, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman flagged-off INSV Tarini with an all women crew of Navika Sagar Parikrama from INS Mandovi boat pool, Goa. Before embarking on the circumnavigation of the globe, the crew met Prime Minister Narendra Modi who wished them “very best in their remarkable endeavour.”
“This is a historic day for the country, which will be marked in the Navigation history of the world, and globally our women are going to stand out for something which most navies of the world would not have even thought of,” the minister said at the flagging off ceremony.
This is the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew.
Congratulating the crew, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet said, “Wonderful news! Delighted that INSV Tarini has rounded Cape Horn in the last few hours. We are extremely proud of their accomplishments.”
The boat is expected to reach its next stop Cape of Good Hope in coming March. It crossed Cape Leeuwin, the most south-westerly mainland point of the Australia, on November 9.
After crossing the Cape Horn, Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi, Skipper of INSV Tarini in a message said, “Finally, we are at the place where we were meant to be, where each one of the six of us dreamt to be before we signed up for this project. What we felt on sailing past Cape Horn may sound weird to the rest of the world. We were not sad or happy. What we felt was perhaps contentment of just being there at that moment.”
“We saw some of the roughtest days and sleepless nights to have reached till this point and as we sailed past the Cape with the national flag flying behind us, what I could see there in each of us was utmost tranquility in the roughest part of the planet. I m filled with pride for us Team Tarini and a huge respect for the sea and seafarers of our nation,” she added.
The expedition will be covered in five legs, with stop-overs at Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands), and Cape Town (South Africa).
The crew skippered by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi includes Lieutenant Commander Pratibha Jamwal, Lieutenant Aishwarya Boddapati, Lieutenant Patarapalli Swathi, Lieutenant Sh Vijaya Devi and Lieutenant Payal Gupta.
Regarded as a major milestone, akin to climbing Mount Everest, the albatross-shaped Cape Horn has claimed lives of thousands of sea farers who perished attempting to sail around it.
Before embarking on the expedition, the crew, as part of preparation for the expedition, covered over 10,000 nautical miles on INSV Mhadei. They sailed from India to Mauritius and back and Goa to Cape Town experiencing heavy wind and rough monsoon seas.
INSV Tarini is a 55-foot sailing vessel which has been built by Aquarius Shipyard, Goa and was inducted in the Indian Navy in August last year.
At present, Navy is operating four sailing vessels capable of ocean voyages that is, Tarangini, Sudarshini, Mhadei and Tarini. All these vessels are indigenously built in at shipyards at Goa.
The voyage is not just an adventure trip but also an opportunity to collate meteorological and ocean wave data of high seas for accurate weather forecast by India Meteorological Department (IMD). They will also monitor and report on the marine pollution on the high seas and is interacting with local People of Indian Origins during the port halts.