Julie Lhérault, woman, sailor and deck officer | Tara, a schooner for the planet

Julie Lhérault, woman, sailor and deck officer

© Sarah Fretwell / Fondation Tara Expéditions

7 June 2016

First time aboard Tara for Julie Lhérault, sailor and deck officer. 27 years old and a dream come true. She gladly talks about her passions and her career path.

A few days before the departure of the Tara Pacific expedition, Julie Lhérault boarded Tara for the first time as deck officer. On board, the schooner was like an anthill, everyone rushing to finish preparations. Julie was busy sealing portholes, verifying deck fittings, tidying up rigging in the forward hold and climbing the mast to control splice ropes and pulleys. “Everything has to be checked to make sure all is clean and organized in case we need to maneuver quickly.” Work is sometimes physical but a deck officer is always joyful and energetic: “I don’t know how to rest anyway. I need to keep busy.”

 

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Julie Lherault, deck officer, checks the fittings on Tara bridge © Maéva Bardy

 

Sailing is a passion inherited from her father since childhood. At the age of 13, Julie already knew she wanted to make it her career. She dropped out of college when she was 18 to become a volunteer at the Glénans sailing school where she qualified as an instructor specializing in cruising. At 21, she worked on charter vessels between the roaring 40s and the furious 50s, one of the most dangerous regions for navigation. Yet, despite the cold, frostbite to the fingers, hazardous sailing conditions, fog and icebergs, there were 5 years of unforgettable memories on a human level. “It was like being in a cocoon.” Moreover, the sumptuous landscapes make you forget everything else. Last winter when she returned from this region with a water temperature of 5°C, it was the first time she’d seen rain in years. Bringing tourists to discover this particularly threatened environment wasn’t enough: “I couldn’t remain passive and just watch.

 

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Julie Lherault, deck officer, at the bow of the boat to fix the yankee’s clew. © Maéva Bardy

 

Tara first crossed her path in Ushuaia in 2010. She celebrated Christmas Eve aboard the schooner with part of the crew who stayed there for the festive season. A friendly atmosphere reigned aboard. In the mess room, blinking headlamps were serving as Christmas lights. She immediately felt like part of a family. It’s not always the case in the world of sailing where a woman “often has to do twice as much as a man, and isn’t allowed to make any mistakes” she confides. From then on, she made every effort to become a member of the crew. After obtaining her Capitaine 200 license and Yacht Master certificate, she applied twice and succeeded. Now aboard Tara until the exit of the Panama Canal, she has a sense of accomplishment having brought together her values, passions and environmental sensitivity.

Maéva BARDY, On board correspondent

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