On her first trip to Cuba, Laura Powell entered the 69th Ernest Hemingway Fishing Tournament with the crew of The Duke, which included other visiting Americans.
Laura Powell was the first woman to capture a billfish during the year’s event and won the prize of the first catch and release of the third day of the tournament.
Laura Powell an expert in yoga and Ayurveda, helping clients achieve lasting peace and a healthier mind and body through these practices. She’s also a passionate traveler and recently took a trip to Cuba and competed in the 69th Annual Ernest Hemingway Fishing Tournament.
“I really wanted to win at this tournament and was determined to try my hardest, but made peace with the fact that we may not win any trophies,” says Laura Powell. “Things really took off on the third day, though.”
In the early morning of the third day of the tournament, Laura Powell and her American team piloting The Duke earned the prize of the first catch and release. In addition, Laura Powell was the first woman to capture a billfish for the entire event that year. She was dubbed “The Duchess of The Duke” by tournament leaders after reeling in a blue marlin just minutes into the third fishing day.
Competitors from The Duke celebrated the marlin catch before 10 am, and it gave them an advantageous 1000 points for placing in the tournament. Thanks to this catch, the crew of The Duke became one of the five teams to capture a blue marlin that day and catapulted to fourth place in the tournament. This placed them very close to medaling with only one day left in the competition.
Laura Powell at 33 became the first woman to catch a billfish for the tournament, wherein some years that achievement was never made. This fulfilled a great dream for her beyond what the representatives behind the 69th Ernest Hemingway Fishing Tournament expected.
“In 1960 my great grandmother Hallie Nixon won a tournament in the Gulf of Mexico and my father inherited that trophy. I have lived all my life admiring that award and I always wanted to put a prize of mine next to it,” said Laura Powell. “It’s very exciting, it’s my first time in Cuba. I will cherish these memories.”
Powell also said that she felt tremendous pride in achieving the feat––especially at an event honoring one of the most important figures in literary history, author of celebrated works such as The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Jeremy Williams, captain of The Duke, said he was accompanied on the trip by two sailors and five fishermen, including Laura. Their craft was a 70-foot-long Hatteras yacht which is typically headquartered in Pensacola and featured two 1550 horsepower Cat engines.