Women Sailors’ Success Is Inspiration for Young Indian Girls

Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC, Chief of the Naval Staff, with the all women crew

GOA, INDIA – Six young women, all members of the Indian Navy have provided some inspiration for their younger counterparts by successfully circumnavigating the globe in a 56-foot, single-mast sailboat, the Tarini.

This amazing accomplishment was the first-ever Indian expedition steered by women sailors – and, it should provide some encouragement for those in a country where success has been historically difficult for women. Union Defense Minister, Nirmala Seetharaman, who was on hand to greet that sailors upon their return, said: “The feat is not about the girls’ achievement, it is youngsters from India achieving and it is a whole motivation for the youth.” She expressed gratitude, saying “By the grace of God, and the grit and courage that the girls have shown, they are back home to join all of us, having made history.”

The crew sailed out of Goa on 10 September 2017 and returned to port on 21 May 2018. The 21,600 nautical mile journey was completed in six legs, crossed the Equator twice and ported in Fremantle, Australia; Lyttleton, New Zealand; Port Stanley, Falkland Islands; Cape Town, South Africa, and Mauritius.

The Mauritius stop was unscheduled and was made to repair damage to the vessel’s steering mechanism when the crew was within 2,000 miles of home. The crew was able to make the necessary repairs to complete their journey.

INSV Tarini

The INSV Tarini was built in India at the Aquarius Shipyard. Its mast is 25-feet tall and the ship is equipped with advanced features including satellite communications and a Raymarine navigation system that includes GPS plotting, sonar, and VHF radio.

The 254-day voyage took the ship and crew through hurricane winds, eight-foot-high waves, and sub-zero temperatures among the many challenges along the way.

Prime Minister Modi welcomed the girls home on 23 May. The crew was led by Lt. Commander Vartika Joshi, and included Lt. Cdr. Pratibha Jamwal, Lt. Cdr. P. Swathi, Lt. Aishwarya Boddapati, Lt. S. Vijaya Devi and Lt. Payal Gupta.

This feat follows another all-female crew accomplishment on 04 March of this year when Air India observed International Women’s Day with a first-ever all female flight crew.

Lt. Cdr. Boddapati told the Indian Express that the voyage changed each of the women as individuals and taught them many life lessons. “We were just common girls . . . and joined the Navy.” She added, “Our entire journey is a living example of breaking all stereotypes. My message is don’t limit yourself . . . Nothing is impossible.”


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Image Source:

  • Indian Navy [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons