Navy women prepare for solo sail across the globe

Navy women prepare for solo sail across the globe

Navy Chief Adm. R. Hari Kumar with Cdr. Abhilash Tomy (Retd) and the two women officers, Lt. Cdr. Dilna K. and Lt. Cdr. Roopa Aligirisamy, undergoing training for the solo circumnavigation attempt around the globe. 
| Photo Credit: Dinakar Peri

Despite the presence of modern aids, life at sea demands alertness and one cannot take it lightly, said Navy Chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar. He was speaking of the Navy’s next adventure activity, which is a solo circumnavigation of the globe by a crew of women. It (sea) is a completely different domain as humans are not used to living there and there isn’t enough awareness among people, he noted.

Navy officers, Lieutenant Commanders Dilna K. and Roopa Aligirisamy, are currently being mentored by Cdr. Abhilash Tomy (Retd) to undertake the first women solo-circumnavigation as part of the Navy’s ‘Sagar Parikrama’.

In April, Cdr. Tomy scripted history by finishing second in Golden Globe Race, and became the first Asian to do so. It involves travelling solo around the world non-stop in a boat with no modern technological aids, mimicking the first complete, solo non-stop circumnavigation race undertaken by Sir Robin Knox Johnston in 1968.

Cdr. Dilna is a logistics officer while Cdr Roopa is a naval armament inspection officer.

Resilience

About what he expects from woman officers for the upcoming challenge, Cdr. Tomy said, “From an instructor’s point of view, I would want them to be like a sponge so that they can absorb what I say and quickly replicate it.”

Also he would want to see how resilient they are and how they handle being alone by themselves. “For a solo circumnavigation, he or she, needs to have all the skills of an entire village. Need to be a cook, electronics engineer, sails, weather, navigation and media. I have to really judge them on these terms…,” he said.

On April 29, 2023 Cdr. Tomy finished second in GGR-22, after sailing for 236 days, 14 hours and 46 minutes since his cast off on September 04, 2022. He returned to to Les Sables-d’Olonne, France behind Kirsten Neuschafer of South Africa.

A seasoned sailor, in 2013, he became the first Indian to complete a solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the world under sail onboard INSV Mhadei. He also took part in GGR-18, but had to withdraw owing to a debilitating back injury sustained in a storm enroute and was rescued after a dramatic multi-nation operation. Five years later, with a titanium rod in his spine and five fused vertebrae, he has aced the test of human spirit and exhibited rare endurance, grit and determination in GGR 22, the Navy said in a statement.