Friday 18 August 2017

Indian Navy all-women crew to sail boat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the six women officers of the Indian Navy who are set to circumnavigate the globe on the sailing vessel INSV Tarini in New Delhi Aug. 16, 2017. Also pictured is Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba. (IANS/PIB photo)

This is post straight from the source, though I have added bold face to some bits. Jo.

NEW DELHI — The Indian Navy Aug. 17 said it is committed to increasing the role of women in the force and, as part of that effort, has an all-women crew set to circumnavigate the globe next month.

The team will be world's first all-female military team to circumnavigate the globe and the first all-women team in Asia to undertake such a challenge.

At a press conference announcing the circumnavigation, which is called Navika Sagar Parikrama, Chief of Personnel, Vice Admiral A.K. Chawla said: "We are committed to enlarging the role of women in the Navy. We have opened up several avenues, women pilots are flying Naval aircraft, and it is not a noble gesture, they are capable..."

"We are moving in a gradual manner... there are many issues to address on sea, like accommodation, future progress, and induction as well. I hope over a period of time it will happen," he added.

The Indian Navy has not yet deployed women on warships.

Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, who is the first woman to be a skipper on an Indian Navy vessel and who will lead the team, recalled the moment she learned the Navy was looking for female officers to volunteer for the Cape to Rio Race in 2014.

"I was sitting in front of the computer and wondering where life was taking me... I felt it was a dream come true," she said.

Along with Joshi, the team includes Lieutenant Commanders Pratibha Jamwal and P. Swathi, and Lieutenants S. Vijaya Devi, B. Aishwarya and Payal Gupta.

In early September, the team will sail a 55-foot-long Indian Navy sailing vessel – the INSV Tarini from Goa.

Circumnavigation means the boat will be in open waters the entire trip and cannot travel via straits or canals along its way. It has to cross the equator at least once and the total distance covered must be greater than 21,600 nautical miles, the circumference of earth.

The around eight-month journey will be covered in five legs with stop-overs at four ports – Fremantle, Australia; Lyttleton, New Zealand; Port Stanley, Falklands; and Cape Town, South Africa.

The ship was made indigenously at the Aquarius Shipyard Limited in Goa.

Ratnakar Dandekar, who made the ship, said it was made of wood covered in fiber glass, which will give it maximum strength for the challenging journey it is to undertake.

According to Commander (retired) Dilip Donde, the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe solo and the man who trained the team, said the crew will face the some of the roughest seas on their journey.

"The leg where they cross the Pacific Ocean is going to be the toughest. In the Indian Ocean, in monsoon, the highest waves are three-four meters, in the Pacific, on a day if the wave is below five meters high, it is considered a good day... In addition it is very cold," he said.

The Pacific Ocean leg of the journey is expected to take around eight days.

The team is, however, prepared for the grueling journey and has already sailed in the rough waters of the Indian Ocean during monsoon, as well as participated in the Cape to Rio 2017 sailing race.

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Cruising and civil partnerships: OK now as Bermuda law changes

Transport operators - P&O Cruises, Cunard and possibly Princess Cruises - are now marketing to couples with pink pounds to spare.
This is quite an ironic twist from the 1950s-80s when gay, bi and trans male crew sailed as a way to join floating queer heavens and to live in out-and-proud communities despite the illegality.
There were 'queer weddings' on board then too - and queer divorce ceremonies. They took place below sea level in the rowdy crew bar and of course had no legal standing. Such occasions of carnivalesque misrule happened at a time when legalised same-sex marriages were unthinkable, a fantasy that could never be in reality. However same-sex couples who'd met on board sometimes stayed together for life,when their seafaring days ended.

Camp crew weddings in the mid-20th century were mock-playful, involving a lot of dragging up and drinking. To my knowledge no captain officiated, just a friend with his collar on back-to-front.
Putting on fancy dress, 'becoming' someone other, and having celebratory events was a very normal way of passing a long voyage, for people of every sexual orientation.

The article below shows how times have changed.


"P&O becomes first British cruise line to offer same-sex marriages at sea, by Soo Kim, travel writer
The Telegraph, 1 August 2017

"Marriages at sea on board P&O's seven Bermuda-registered ships, and all three of Cunard's ships, will be open to same sex couples CREDIT: AP

"P&O Cruises, part of the American-British cruise company Carnival Corporation, is the first cruise line in the UK to be able to conduct same sex weddings at sea....
"The first ceremony [will] be held in the Caribbean next January [2018.
"This P&O civil partnership ceremony will be] followed by Carnival’s Cunard cruise line, which will offer same sex marriages from November 2018.


"The new offering follows a landmark ruling earlier this year that legalised same sex marriages in Bermuda. [This is] where seven of P&O’s eight ships (apart from the Britannia, which is registered in Southampton), and all three of Cunard's ships are registered.
"The first same sex wedding at sea will take place on board P&O’s Azura ship, which is registered in Hamilton, Bermuda.
"Wedding packages for P&O cruise ships are available from £1,200... Packages for Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 are offered from around £2,570 and from £2,117 for weddings on board Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, which earlier this year received a £34 million refurbishment.
"The ceremonies will be carried out by the ship’s captain... The marriage licenses will be issued by the government of Bermuda.


"Princess Cruises, which also operates under Carnival, is also reportedly planning to offer same sex marriages across its 13 ships registered in Bermuda, according to Cruise Critic, but has yet to reveal when.
"We are currently working on developing a range of services and amenities to meet the needs of same sex couple ceremonies and will release full information on these shortly," the company said in a statement.
“'This is very welcome news for us and I am delighted that we have become one of the first British cruise lines to take a booking for a same-sex wedding. We look forward to welcoming this couple and many other couples too,' Simon Palethorpe, senior vice president of Cunard, stated.
“'Weddings at sea are very romantic and getting married by the captain in the middle of the ocean is an unforgettable experience,' Paul Ludlow, senior vice president of P&O Cruises, said.


"It has been more than three years since Britain legalised same sex marriages in 2014, when gay couples from Brighton, Halifax and London tied the knot for the very first time on March 29 that year. They were closely followed by hundreds more couples in England. Later the same year Scotland followed suit by introducing new legislation."