As the yachting industry continues to grow, more and more women are making a significant impact on this traditionally male-dominated space. Here, YATCO takes the time to get to know some of these women – from all areas of the market – and highlight the important work that they contribute to the industry.
Moira Cooper is a Risk Management Officer for Camper & Nicholsons. Moira is a lifelong sailing enthusiast and has raced classic yachts in European Classic regattas, spent five years sailing on the yacht Mari-Cha III and has crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Featuring Moira Cooper, Risk Management Officer of Camper & Nicholsons
What drew you to the yachting world?
I always loved sailing yachts. My brother Bobby Cooper was manager of Boatyard Palma in the 1990’s, and subsequently Varadero and STP Palma, and was one of the few survivors of The Marques Tall Ships race disaster in June 1984. I was 14 years old at the time when the ship was hit by a sudden squall during the second leg of the race, just off the coast of Bermuda. She sank in less than a minute and lost 19 of her 28 crew members. It was later proven that the ship was not seaworthy, paving the way to new laws on ship stability and MLC. My brother was finally laid to rest in 2018 after losing his battle to cancer.
How did you get your start in yachting?
I joined the classic Mediterranean racing circuit one summer in 1998 and never looked back. I was ever so lucky to have this chance to sail on some of the most beautiful classic yachts in the world. In 1999 I was given a chance of a lifetime (thanks to my brother) to join S/Y Mari-Cha III. My first trip was to the shores of New Zealand for the Americas Cup experience. Mari-Cha III was elegantly built, very fast, and high-tech race yacht, well ahead of her time. I will never forget the moment I first caught sight of her in Palma, her two perfect white masts towering over me. This was a very different world from my quaint little wooden safe havens. We travelled many miles together crossing the Atlantic, Pacific and Caribbean, clocking well over 50,000 nautical miles in the seven years I stayed on board. I experienced many challenges and severe weather conditions, but she always kept me safe, never faltered, she never gave up. She was first famous after breaking the Transatlantic record in 1999 from New York to Lizard point and became the first superyacht to compete in the Sydney Hobart race.
Who are some influential people in your life that you look up to?
Of course, my brother is top of this list and Tracey Edwards who always stood out from the crowd with her “can do” attitude. I never met her; however, I think my brother and her were good friends. Any women in yachting who can successfully lead a team of sailors across oceans have the utmost respect from me.
Any women in yachting who can successfully lead a team of sailors across oceans have the utmost respect from me.
What are some challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
There are always challenges being a woman in a predominantly male industry. Sailing has shown me how to be resilient, strong, and to never give up. The phrase my brother used to quote was “be better than them or be gone.” I hold this in my thoughts most days and its constant reminder to be focused and calm during difficult moments.
The phrase my brother used to quote was “be better than them or be gone.” I hold this in my thoughts most days and its constant reminder to be focused and calm during difficult moments.
What are you currently working on and how do you stay inspired?
I have been with Camper & Nicholsons for seven years. At first, I worked within yacht management division and four years ago I made the move to Monaco to be within our in-house insurance department. Our services include offering bespoke fleet insurance packages, charter cancelation and comprehensive crew welfare claims handling. My specialty is providing crew welfare and MLC. I like to run a tight ship at work: regularly checking the sails, knowing the ropes, and treating everyone I work with like part of the family. Strong women in the workplace empowers others around to thrive, regardless of age or gender. They are uplifting, stable, resilient and never faltering – just like my Mari-Cha III. Some say that women have a sixth sense, I really do believe we do.
I like to run a tight ship at work: regularly checking the sails, knowing the ropes, and treating everyone I work with like part of the family. Strong women in the workplace empowers others around to thrive, regardless of age or gender.