CHANDIGARH: The six-member all women Navy team, which successfully circumnavigated the globe in a 55-foot sailboat of the Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Tarini, in more than eight months, is now eyeing a new frontier to conquer.
Doughty and free-spirited, the team is all set to take part in the Cape to Rio race, 2020.
The race is organised by the Royal Cape Yacht Club. The Cape to Rio race covers the South Atlantic Ocean, between Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro, linking two of the world's most beautiful seaports. The first edition of the race dates back to 1971, with many legends of international yachting having competed in the event.
Speaking to this newspaper, Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, who steered the Navy vessel, and Lieutenant B Aishwarya, a team member, who were in the city to attend the Military Literature Festival 2018, said that their team, along with around 12 to 15 under-trainees, both men and women, will take part in the Cape to Rio race, 2020. The objective is to encourage youngsters to take up adventure sports, in addition to serving the Navy, they said.
"Our feat went some way towards changing the mindset about women. This is encouraging and will drive us to similar feats going forward," Aishwarya said.
They said they are also planning to participate in a clipper race, which starts from Liverpool in the United Kingdom.
Held biennially, the Clipper is a round-the-world Yacht race. The 40,000 nautical mile course is divided into thirteen individual races, with the team having the best cumulative score winning the Clipper Race Trophy. The race starts and concludes in Liverpool. Each team is led by a professional skipper with an all-amateur crew that signs up for one, some or all the races.
Two members of the seven-member all women Army team, which had climbed the world's highest peak, Mount Everest, in 2102, were also in the city on Friday to attend the Military Literature Festival and motivate youngsters to not just join the defence forces but also take up adventure sports.
Major Namrita Rathore, who led the seven-member team, said, "I told the doctor, who was accompanying our team, that as we climb to the summit, I will text him. He will then call up my family members to inform that their daughter had conquered the world's highest peak. It took a while for the feeling to sink in. When he called my family to convey the message, it was five in the morning. They had prayed the whole night and woke up to the news that we had summited the Everest," she recalled.
Major Rathore and Major Poonam Sangwan, a member of the team, said that the team had trained in Siachen and Manali for a year, in three inches of snow.
"We did not have any mountaineering experience and here were here, training to summit Mount Everest," Major Sangwan said.
"We had the full family support and after we came back and when we were introduced to anyone that they have climbed Mount Everest they use to ask us have you really climbed and we use to tell them yes we were on top of the summit, as people never believed that women could achieve this feet,'' say both the lady officers dressed in their combat uniform and add that their entire journey had its moments of drama, disappointments, risk and adventure.
Both these lady officers were vegetarians, Poonam says as he was vegetarian it was tough for her as her energy levels dropped,"so the team leader bought use energy bars from a European team and gave them to me and made sure that I eat them and also I eat Gur-Channa given by a JCO,'' she adds. While Rathore says," from a vegetarian I turned into a non-vegetarian, I like eating chicken.''
Both add that in the future if they get any other opportunity to climb any summit they will be glad to do it.