One hundred and eighty seven days, six women on a global adventure

Article and photographs by AB Tashwill Atson

An exciting journey drew to an end as a six female crew members of the Indian Navy entered the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town on Friday 2 March 2018. Before visiting Cape Town for their final port call, they visited Freemantle, Australia; Lyttelton, New Zealand and Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands after setting out from Goa, India on 10 September 2017.

Delegates welcome skipper Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi

The crew are the first ever all Indian female crew to circumnavigate the globe on an Indian sailing vessel. The INVS TARINI skippered by Lieutenant-Commander Vartika Joshi, received a warm welcome in Cape Town from students, Indian diplomats, Indian diaspora members and the Mayor of the Western Cape, Patricia de Lille.

INVS TARINI’s arrival coincided with the annual Hindu festival of Holi and guest and sailors were sprinkled with the coloured powder associated with the festival.

INSV TARINI crew in colourful powder as part of Holi ritual

The crew preparing to set off for Table Bay yacht Club

To circumnavigate the globe, the voyage has to start and finish at the same port, cover a distance of at least 21600 nautical miles and keep south of the three great capes in the southern hemisphere. It must also cross all longitudes in the same direction, cross the equator twice and not sail any canals or be driven by the boat’s engine. (Source IOL).

The crew prepared by sailing approximately 20,000 nautical miles, which included two expeditions to Mauritius (in 2016 and 2017) and a voyage from Goa to Cape Town in December 2016.

The INVS TARINI skippered by Lieutenant-Commander Vartika Joshi, received a warm welcome in Cape Town

Cdr Joshi emphasised that they would like women to set aside their gender roles and do whatever they want. “Boats don't understand whether the crew is male or female and the seas does not discriminate between genders”.

The Consul General of India in Cape Town hosted a reception for the crew at the India House in Constantia on 5 March 2018, in attendance amongst others was Director Fleet Force Preparation, Rear Admiral (Junior Grade) Solly Petersen from the South African Navy, cricket legend, Jonty Rhodes and surfer/actress, Roxy Louw.