Sea and sunshine motivates female co-captain

Sailing is often labeled as man’s job, but this is different for Anne Laura Le Duff, the second captain on board the Race for Water World Odyssey. 

She is one of three females on board the futuristic vessel and is the only female second captain. 

While she admitted that it is a challenging task, she remains optimistic that she would eventually be a captain in the future. 

“Sailing is for the men often, but we have a lot of females, peacekeepers, engineer, sailor, technician, and we are very proud to be on this kind of unique boat,” she said to the Samoa Observer. 

“It is unique because it uses only natural energy, so with the solar panels, with winds for the kite, and water for hydrogen. No diesel on board, we are auto sufficient.” 

Her job requires her to be alert all the time, especially in cases where the captain is unwell during the voyage.

“First thing the board master sees is anticipation, so we check all day the weather forecast, so if we see or hear any area with low pressure, we change our direction to try and avoid the bad system,” Anne-Laura said. 

“For me it’s a challenge because it’s a very important job, second captain is a stressful job a bit because if the captain is sick or not here, I am the captain.”

Choosing to be part of the odyssey is associated with her love for the sea and the environment.   

“I love the sea because you feel free and there’s the open space, and you are very close with elements of nature – wind, sea, sunlight – and it’s very interesting,” Anne-Laura said. 

“And for the environment, I am very sensitive about the issue of pollution around the world, and I would like to do something efficient, so I don’t want to stay behind my desk at home and just talk about reducing pollution, no I want to do something. 

“I want to meet the people to find a solution. For each island or country, you have different kind of problems and the most important is to try and find the best solution through dialogue.”

She joined the voyage when it started last year, and she plans to continue.  

“I miss my family and my husband,” she said. 

“We have two captains, two second captains, two technicians, and we take our holidays during long stopovers or technical stopovers. 

“For me it’s between three to four months at sea, and after the time out at sea, we have free time on land.”

Anne-Laura said there could be a female captain on board as the Race for Water was on a long odyssey. 

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