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Record-breaking all-female 'Maiden' crew reunites after 30 years

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Practical Boat Owner

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The crew of Maiden makes history again by becoming the first all-female team to win a round the world yacht race

Katy Stickland

  • Katy Stickland
  • April 22, 2024

The former Whitbread yacht, sailed by an all-female international crew has taken the coveted title after 153d 2h 16m 53s of racing around the world. Virtually none of the crew had previously faced such an epic challenge and only one had sailed in the Southern Ocean before.

Crew waving from the deck of the 58ft yacht, Maiden

Maiden and her 12-strong crew after crossing the finish line of Leg 4 of the Ocean Globe Race. Credit: The Maiden Factor-Kaia Bint Savage Credit: The Maiden Factor-Kaia Bint Savage

Maiden and her crew are no strangers to smashing glass ceilings and sailing into the history books.

In the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race , Tracy Edwards skippered the 58ft yacht and, with her crew, became the first all-female team to take part in a round the world yacht race .

Maiden crossing the finish line at Southampton, marking the end of the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race. Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker

Maiden crossing the finish line at Southampton, marking the end of the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race. Credit: Andrew Sassoli-Walker

Maiden came second in class overall, winning two of the three Southern Ocean legs in Division D.

But now the Maiden crew has done one better and become the first all-female crew to win a round the world yacht race, having taken gold in the 2023-24 Ocean Globe Race .

The crew of the yacht Maiden laughing and smiling after crossing the finish line of the Ocean Globe Race

The 2024 Maiden crew are all delighted and believe they have achieved their goal of showcasing what women can do and inspiring the next generation. Credit: Don McIntyre/ OGR2023

The retro race, which sees entrants racing four legs without modern technology on board and using celestial navigation , was held to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973.

Maiden was the only British yacht in the Ocean Globe Race and was skippered throughout by 27-year-old Heather Thomas, who stated from the start that the team was “in it to win it”; the crew comprised women from Britain, India, South Africa, the USA, France, Antigua, Italy, Puerto Rico and Afghanistan.

Women flying flags on the yacht Maiden

The multinational crew flew their home country flags. Credit: The Maiden Factor-Kaia Bint Savage

After crossing the Leg 4 finish line, Heather Thomas, who started crewing on Maiden in 2021, said: “We had an amazing welcome and had many boats come and join us out in the Solent to help us cross the finish line. It was phenomenal to have all of those boats and people come and see us!

“The first person we saw on a boat was Tracy, of course! That was fantastic and we’ve had a brilliant welcome back here on land too. Thank you everyone for your support!”

Maiden was one of 14 boats to take part in the race, and one of five in the Flyer Class for yachts previously entered in the 1973, 1977 or 1981 Whitbread, or ‘relevant’ historic significance and ‘approved’ production-built, ocean-certified, sail-training yachts generally 55ft to 68ft LOA.

A woman at the helm of a yacht

Heather Thomas has been crewing on Maiden since 2021. At 27, she is the youngest female skipper to have won a round the world yacht race. Credit: The Maiden Factor-Kaia Bint Savage

Throughout the race, Maiden ‘s crew pushed hard, always in the top half of the fleet, coming third in line honours and IRC on the Cowes to Cape Town Leg, fourth in line honours and IRC in the Cape Town to Auckland Leg and second in line hours and fourth in IRC on the Auckland to Punta del Este Leg.

Ahead of the start of Leg 4, Maiden was seven days behind the then IRC leader, Triana .

But the French Swan 53’s lead was soon eroded due to the failure of the expected Southeast Trade Winds which led to slow progress for most of the Ocean Globe Race fleet up the Atlantic ; further fickle winds slowed Triana ‘s progress.

Continues below…

Junella King, 23, from Antigua has become the youngest black female crew member to race around Cape Horn. Credit: ©The Maiden Factor-OGR2023

Maiden makes history again as Vuyisile Jaca, Junella King and Maryama Seck become the first black female crew members to race around Cape Horn

Maiden crew members Vuyisile Jaca, Junella King and Maryama Seck have made history by becoming the first black female crew…

All 14 teams taking part in the 2023 Ocean Globe Race will be racing with similar gear and boats as those who raced in the Whitbread Races of old. Credit: Philip McDonald

Ocean Globe Race 2023: everything you need to know

The Ocean Globe Race will see 14 boats and their crews circumnavigating the world without the use of modern equipment,…

The crew of Pen Duick VI celebrating

Pen Duick VI takes line & IRC honours in Leg 4 of the Ocean Globe Race

For the second time, the crew of Pen Duick VI, led by Marie Tabarly, has taken line honours in the…

Tracy Edwards reunited with Maiden

Tracy Edwards sees Maiden for the first time in 27 years!

The battered Maiden yacht has been through a procession of owners since Tracy Edwards and 11 female sailors finished second…

Leg 4 was the longest at sea for the crew of Maiden – 41 days and 6,599 miles in total.

Having found breeze, Maiden made progress up the Atlantic until hitting the Doldrums. By then, the watermaker onboard the Bruce Farr-designed yacht had broken, and the rain was welcomed until the crew fixed it.

The crew also had to make repairs to the yacht’s generator and inverter.

Two women working on a boat

Vuyisile Jacza and First Mate Rachel Burgess make repairs. Credit: OGR2023/ Maiden

Many entrants hoped that once in the Northern Hemisphere, the Northeat Trade winds would deliver, but this wasn’t the case and the boats continued to struggle in the light winds caused by a high pressure system, west of Biscay.

Eventually, Maiden found strong winds in the northerlies and crossed the Royal Yacht Squadron finish line, Cowes at 10:52 UTC on 16 April.

“After 28,674 nautical miles and 154 days at sea, our girl Maiden is home with her inspirational all-female crew, including the first women of colour to race around the world and our camerawoman who escaped the Taliban in Afghanistan,” said Tracy Edwards.

A jubilent Tracy Edwards as Maiden crossed the finish line. Credit: The Maiden Factor-Kaia Bint Savage

A jubilant Tracy Edwards as Maiden crossed the finish line. Credit: The Maiden Factor-Kaia Bint Savage

“This truly international crew has changed the face of sailing and they stand for women and girls everywhere. They have made history and we could not be more proud of them!” she added.

Following the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race, Edwards was forced to sell Maiden . She later rescued the yacht from the Seychelles , where it was discovered, abandoned in 2014 .

Edwards decided to refit the boat and use it to promote the importance of education for girls around the world.

Sailing under The Maiden Factor banner, Maiden left the UK on an 18-month world tour to raise awareness of the importance of education for girls and raise money for girls’ education programmes before taking part in the Ocean Globe Race.

IRC results overall in the 2023-2024 Ocean Globe Race

Maiden (UK) – 179d, 1h, 24, 23s Spirit of Helsinki (Finland) – 179d, 18h, 32m, 45s Triana (France) – Pen Duick (France) – 180d, 20h, 33m, 1s L’Esprit d’Equipe (France) – 185d, 12h, 2m, 3s Neptune (France) – 186d, 10h, 59m, 22s Outlaw (Australia) – 187d, 8h, 35m, 8s Galiana with Secure (Finland) – Still racing Evrika (France) – Still racing White Shadow (Spain) – Still racing

Translated 9 (Italy) Sterna (South Africa) Explorer (Australia) Godspeed (USA)

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Queen hails 'brilliant' all-female yacht crew after round-the-world race victory

The maiden crew became the first all-female outfit to triumph in the race earlier this month..

Monday 29 April 2024 22:08, UK

The Queen has praised the endeavours of a "brilliant" all-female yachting crew after they won a global race in a world first.

The Maiden team from the UK crossed the finish line at Cowes, Isle of Wight, earlier this month having sailed for 153 days in the Ocean Globe Race.

They had passed through South Africa, New Zealand and finally Punta del Este, Uruguay, before making a beeline back to British shores.

Camilla welcomed the crew to Clarence House, saying: "You're doing a brilliant job, keep on doing it - that's really important."

Captain Heather Thomas, one of the five Brits on board, said: "It was incredible after we'd found out we'd won.

"It's a pretty historic moment for women's sailing, I'm really happy with the result, the girls all worked really hard for it - so we're proud of ourselves."

The winning yacht was sailed by an international crew that included women from South Africa, Costa Rica and the Caribbean.

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As well as the triumph, the women are part of a project promoting the education of women and girls in countries where access is difficult.

Najiba Noori, who admitted to having no experience of sailing, told Sky News's Mark Austin one of the main reasons she joined Maiden was because she could give "a voice" to the women of her country, Afghanistan , as she also captured the voyage on camera for a documentary.

Ms Thomas told Sky News of the Maiden relying on traditional sailing methods of celestial navigation instead of using GPS, as modern technology is banned according to the race's rules.

She added: "The biggest thing for the crew is that we didn't have any digital music so we had to use cassettes instead," confessing ABBA's greatest hits album was their go-to.

Read more from Sky News: Queen meets father's regiment for first time as patron 'Hardest Geezer' finishes challenge to run length of Africa

This is a limited version of the story so unfortunately this content is not available. Open the full version

Maiden was the brainchild of veteran yachtswoman Tracy Edwards, who skippered the boat during the 1989-90 Whitbread global yacht race with an all-female crew.

The 58-foot yacht had been abandoned in the Indian Ocean until Ms Edwards launched a campaign to resurrect it as part of the Maiden Factor Foundation, which was completed in 2018.

Ms Edwards said the organisation's patron Whoopi Goldberg had challenged her to find a diverse crew.

She said: "For me, this is the end of a 45-year fight for the equality of women within sailing and sport generally and actually women's empowerment.

"And when Whoopi Goldberg became our patron, she looked me square in the eye, and when she went 'change it'. I went 'okay' so we did. So we put this incredible crew together because we want to change the face of sailing."

The 2023-24 Ocean Globe Race, marks the 50th anniversary of the first edition of the Whitbread round-the-world race, and featured 14 boats representing eight countries.

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Music Reviews

'maiden': groundbreaking 1989 sailing race for all-female crew.

Kenneth Turan

A new documentary tells the story of the first all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World sailing race in 1989. The crew was led by a 24-year-old and the boat was called Maiden.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

With An All-Female Crew, 'Maiden' Sailed Around The World And Into History

by Dave Davies

  • Movie Interviews

In the 1980s, Tracy Edwards dreamed of racing a sailboat around the world. But at the time, open ocean sailboat racing was a male-dominated sport. She was only able to sign on as a cook for an all-male team in the 1985-86 Whitbread Round the World Race, a grueling 33,000 mile endeavor.

Afterward, when she still wasn't able to crew, she decided to take matters into her own hands: "My mom always told me, 'If you don't like the way the world looks, change it,'" she says. "So I thought, OK, I will."

In 1989, Edwards, then 26-years-old, assembled an all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race. The idea was unthinkable to many of the men in the world of yacht-racing, and backlash was intense.

"We had so much obstruction and criticism and anger," she says. "Guys used to say to us, with absolute certainty, 'You're going to die.'"

But Edwards didn't back down: "We all became very aware, as a crew, as a team, that we were fighting for all women, and actually anyone who's been told they can't do anything," she says.

Edwards and her 12-woman crew restored an old racing yacht, which they christened Maiden, and finished the nine-month race second in their class. Now, a new documentary, Maiden , retraces their voyage.

Interview Highlights

On restoring an old racing yacht while the male crews had new boats

We found an old, secondhand racing yacht with a pedigree. ... She was in a terrible state, and we put her on a ship and we brought her back to the U.K. and then I gave the girls sledgehammers and I said, "Right, take her apart," and we did. We stripped the inside of the boat. We stripped the deck. We took the mast out. We took everything apart. ...

This was also a bit of a first, because people didn't usually see women in shipyards. So that was an interesting situation. ... All these other guys had a shore team. They had brand new boats. So they didn't really need to do any work on them. And so they'd sit in a cafe and watch us as we were putting this boat together. ...

Although, as I say, there was a very nice part of that sort of, being part of this big Whitbread family, is that if you did go and ask for help, 99.9 percent of the time you would get it. You know, you might get a bit of a snide, "Ugh, you know if you need help ...," kind of thing, but you know, beggars can't be choosers.

But the great thing about doing what we did the way we did it was we learned everything we needed to know about the boat. We put every single item into that boat, onto that boat. We painted her. We put the rig in. We did the rigging. We did the electronics, the plumbing, the [navigation] station. ... So when we put Maiden in the water, I would say that we, as a crew, knew our boat better than any other team in the race.

On the media's reaction to an all-female crew

We weren't surprised that there was resistance to an all-female crew in the race. Sailing is one of the last bastions of patriarchy. ... It is so entrenched. We're a maritime nation. It's entrenched in our history, in our warfare, in our culture, and it is extremely male-dominated. ... So I wasn't surprised there was resistance, but I was shocked at the level of anger there was that we wanted to do this, because why is this making you angry? We're only going out there and doing what we want to do.

On how at the time she didn't think of herself as a feminist — and said so in an interview — and why she changed her mind

In the '80s, "feminist" was an accusation. It wasn't a nice title. It had all sorts of horrible connotations, and really, it had been made into a word that women should be ashamed of — I think with deliberate reason. ... I was very young. I was 23, 24 ... [and] I didn't want people not to like me. You care very much, at that age, that people like you. ...

But I do remember [after that interview] my mum said to me, "I am so surprised that you don't think you're a feminist, and I'm not going to tell you what you should say, but I think you need to have a bit of a think about that one."

And then when we got to New Zealand and we won that leg [of the race] and we were getting the same stupid, crass, banal questions that we had on every other leg, I just thought, you know what? I think this is bigger than us, and bigger than Maiden, and bigger than anything we've been tackling. This is about equality. And I think I am a huge, fat feminist. I think I absolutely am! And I stood up for the first time in my life and I said something that might hurt me and might make me not likable, and I took pride in it, and it was an extraordinary experience.

On how her experience with a male crew was different than the female crew

[Male-run boats are] very smelly. It's very messy. There's a lot of swearing and then there are days when guys don't talk to each other. What is that? So that was very weird. A lot of tension, testosterone, egos. I mean, it was an interesting experience, that nine months, [the] first time and last time I'd ever been with 17 men and sort of watching them in their environments, if you like, their natural habitat. ...

Then, doing an all-female crew, then I noticed, wow, there's a huge difference between a group of women and a group of men. ... I prefer sailing around the world with an all-female crew. I prefer sailing with women anyway — much cleaner. We do tend to wash, even if it was in cold, salt water. More use of deodorant as well, I have noticed. But we were always chatting, always talking. ... We did talk the whole way 'round the world. I don't think there's one subject that we didn't cover in depth inside, outside and backwards.

Women are kinder to each other, and in a much more obvious way. We're actually more nurturing and caring, I think. And if you saw someone scared or worried or anxious or a bit down, there'd always be someone that would put their arm around your shoulder and say, "Cuppa tea?"

On the conditions on the Southern Ocean near the South Pole

Your body starts to deteriorate as soon as you cross the start line. Pain and cold are the quickest ways to lose weight. You can get frostbite in your fingers and toes. It's minus 20, minus 30 degrees below freezing. You are constantly damp because salt water doesn't dry. So the girls up on deck would be miserable — cold, wet, miserable. Freezing fingers and toes. Tons of clothing on so you can barely move. The food's revolting. So you just shovel it down your throat as quickly as possible and and try and get as much sleep as possible with this four [hour]-on/four-off watch system. It's also a sensory deprivation. There's no sun. There's no blue sky, it's gray, and the boat's gray, and everything's gray.

On Maiden's second-place finish in the Whitbread Round the World Race

We came second in our class overall, which is the best result for British boat since 1977, and actually hasn't been beaten yet, but that didn't mean much to us at the time. When you finish a race like, that you go through a mixture of emotions. Obviously if you're winning it's all happiness and wonderful and fantastic. We hadn't won; we've come second, and it took me a long time to come to terms with that, because second is nowhere in racing. But as Claire [Warren, the ship doctor] says in the film — and she's very right — there was a bigger picture, and the bigger picture was what we had achieved.

On the reception when Maiden arrived in England

It was sunrise. There wasn't really that much wind, and we were so close to ... [the] final stretch, and as we were going up Southampton Water, hundreds of boats came out to meet us and they would come towards us, turn round, and start sailing with us. So the final two hours of the boat was two hours I will never forget as long as I live, surrounded by thousands of people on hundreds of boats throwing flowers and cheering. It was absolutely amazing. And crossing the finishing line we knew, OK, we hadn't won, but we had sailed into the history books, and we are first, and you can't beat being first to do something.

Lauren Krenzel and Thea Chaloner produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Beth Novey adapted it for the Web.

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Maiden’s all-female crew win the Ocean Globe Race

Heather Prentice

  • Heather Prentice
  • April 22, 2024

Heather Thomas and her all-women crew aboard Tracy Edwards’ famous 58ft yacht Maiden have won the 2023-4 Ocean Globe Race!

all female round the world yacht crew

Maiden has beaten 14 teams to win the Ocean Globe Race on IRC handicap, becoming the first ever all-women crew to win an around-the-world yacht race, it was confirmed early on Monday 22 April 2024.

The international all-female crew crossed the finish line at the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes at 1052 UTC on 16 April, having sailed 6599 miles from Punta del Este on Leg 4 of the Ocean Globe Race.

Their only rival for IRC handicap honours, the French Swan 53 Triana skippered by Jean d’Arthuys, failed to meet their 0500 deadline to cross the Royal Yacht Squadron line off Cowes.

Frustratingly for the French crew, Triana was becalmed off Lands End at 0400 today, still with 183 miles to run to the Royal Yacht Squadron finish line off Cowes.

all female round the world yacht crew

Maiden sweeps up the Solent to victory

‘It’s very exciting to be the first all-female crew to win an around the world race. It’s a historic moment,’ said Maiden skipper Heather Thomas. ‘The girls have worked really hard for it and we’re very proud of our achievement. We have the best crew and the best boat so what can I say!’

Ocean Globe Race founder Don McIntyre added: ‘What an absolutely stunning victory for skipper Heather and this eclectic mix of international girls and skills onboard Maiden . Wow!

‘They have embraced this OGR adventure at every level, performing on the water, facing completely unknown Southern Ocean challenges with courage and determination and representing their cause like real champions.’

Thomas and her crew enjoyed sleigh-ride conditions all the way from the Azores to the finish on Tuesday, completing the 27,000 mile race via the three great capes in 153 days.

Triana still in the running

At that time, Triana still had a chance to pip Maiden to the trophy. Still some 850 miles behind, the French had to average more than 6 knots over this final stage – they were then speeding along at 6.8 knots before a southwesterly gale.

But then the winds changed completely, leaving Triana becalmed south of Lands End.

It means that Thomas and her crew have finished one up even on Tracy Edwards MBE, whose all-women crew returned as national heroes 34 years ago aboard the same yacht.

Tracy Edwards took 2nd in class aboard Maiden in the 1989-90 Whitbread after winning two legs of the notoriously difficult round-the-world race. She was awarded Yachtsman of the Year for her part in the race, the first woman to be awarded the title.

The Ocean Globe Race race marks the 50th anniversary of the first Whitbread Race back in 1973-4.

all female round the world yacht crew

Tracy Edwards (5th from right) introducing Sarah, Duchess of York and Princess Haya bint Al Hussein of Jordan and her children Jalila and Zayed to Heather Thomas and the Maiden crew

Royal reception for Ocean Globe Race winners

Heather Thomas and the Maiden crew led a parade of sail from Cowes to Southampton to Ocean Village on Saturday where they were greeted by Sarah, Duchess of York, who christened Maiden in 1988.

Princess Haya bint Al Hussein of Jordan and her children Jalila and Zayed were also on the pontoon to greet the Maiden crew. Tracy Edwards was supported by King Hussein of Jordan and Royal Jordanian Airways in her 1989 Whitbread campaign.

Heather Thomas, aged 27 and the youngest skipper by 13 years, and her crew have put up a remarkable performance, always ranking in the top half of this 16-strong fleet. They finished 3rd on Leg 1 from Cowes to Cape Town, 4th on Leg 2 to Auckland and 2nd around Cape Horn to Punta del Este.

This last 6,700 mile leg back to Cowes  proved to be their toughest test. Maiden’s engine failed soon after the start, then their water maker broke down – needed to re-hydrate all their freeze dried food – and then their inverter burned out.

Mercifully, the weather came to their aid providing plenty of rain showers for them to collect water in buckets.

all female round the world yacht crew

Tracey Edwards, skipper of Maiden in the 1990 Whitbread race, greets 2024 skipper Heather Thomas in an emotional welcome

Tracy Edwards welcomes Maiden

Tracy Edwards was there at the finish to meet Maiden . Wiping away tears of joy, she enthused, ‘I’m delighted for the girls. It’s been a tough last leg with these winds. Of course it brings back memories. I know how they are feeling and I’m so proud of what they have achieved.’

For Tracy at least, Saturday’s return to Ocean Village was a public opportunity to thank Sarah Duchess of York who had been ‘Godmother’ to the Maiden team during the 1989-90 Whitbread Race for her continued support.

all female round the world yacht crew

Sailing with a mission

There were memories too for the support the late King Hussein of Jordan. Princess Haya, who was 12 at the time and sponsored Maiden ’s refit for this race, was able to explain to her children the importance of this project in raising funds that have empowered so many girls’ education projects around the world.

Several yachts are still racing. Triana, Galiana With Secure, Evrika and White Shadow have yet to cross the line at Cowes. They are expected to finish line in the next few days.

Follow the race on: https://oceangloberace.com/livetracker/

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Maiden wins Ocean Globe Race with all-female crew

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024

Written by: Marine Industry News

Maiden, winner of the Ocean Globe Race 2023-2024

Sailing yacht Maiden has won the Ocean Globe Race 2023-2024, smashing numerous records in the process, including becoming the first all-female crew to win a round-the-world race.

On Tuesday, 16 April 2024, in a brisk northerly breeze, the yacht and its young, international crew crossed the finishing line at 1152hrs, completing the fourth and final leg of the Ocean Globe Race, after departing on an  epic 27,000-mile global navigation last September.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Whitbread Round the World Race, the fully crewed retro Ocean Globe Race 2023 was run in the spirit of the original 1973 race.

During seven months away from home, the crew sailed over 28,500 nm during 154 days at sea, making more Maiden history, 35 years after legendary sailor Tracy Edwards skippered the first all-female crew in the 89/90 Whitbread Race aboard Maiden .

The last leg was a difficult and frustrating one for Maiden , not the longest leg in miles, but the longest time at sea during the whole race, with the leg ranking fifth in line honours and provisional fifth in IRC with corrected elapsed time.

Maiden, winner of the Ocean Globe Race 2023-2024

With all legs combined, until earlier Monday morning (22 April) Maiden held second place overall. Their closest rival Triana, who was in first place, needed to finish around 0600hrs on Monday to retain their lead, which they did not manage to do; with the IRC overall lead Maiden is the winner of the Ocean Globe Race 2023-2024.

On hearing the confirmation that Maiden has won the OGR, skipper Heather Thomas said: “It’s amazing to be the first all-female crew to win an around-the-world race; it’s a historic moment. Me and the all the crew worked really hard for it and we’re very proud of our achievement.”

When the crew arrived in Cowes they were given a true Maiden welcome from family, friends and fans. On Saturday 20 April, a flotilla of boats escorted Maiden in a Parade of Sail to Ocean Village to pay homage to Maiden and the crew’s amazing achievements.

In honour of His Majesty King Hussein I of Jordan, who turned Edwards’ dream of entering an all-female crew into the 89/90 Whitbread a reality, and his daughter, who in 2017 stepped in to make Maide n’s restoration possible, HRH Princess Haya and her children, Their Highnesses Jalila and Zayed, came to tour the boat and meet the crew.

Maiden ’s original ‘godmother’ Sarah, The Duchess of York, who named the boat at its launch was also present.

During the six-year World Tour, Maiden has continued the battle for equality for the next generation, empowering and inspiring thousands of girls; raising awareness and funds for charities and communities around the world to ensure that girls have access to education whatever their background to enable them to follow their dreams and build better futures.

Maiden, winner of the Ocean Globe Race 2023-2024

“I am beyond proud of what these talented women have achieved,” says Tracy Edwards. “They took our success in 1990 to the next level and blew away one of the very few firsts left in women’s ocean racing. Well deserved congratulations to Heather Thomas and her crew for winning on corrected time.”

Edwards adds: “I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Marie Taberly for winning Line Honours. Two women at the top of their sport makes me incredibly happy and so proud of what Maiden began. As the saying goes, ‘I think my work here is done!”

The other records claimed by Maiden and its crew are: the first female British skipper to win a round-the-world race; the first British boat to win a round the world race; the first black women to race around the world; and the first Afghan woman to race in a round-the-world race.

This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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all female round the world yacht crew

Camilla hails ‘brilliant’ all-female yacht crew who won round-the-world race

The Queen has praised a group of yachtswomen for their “brilliant” win in a global race that broke diversity barriers.

Camilla welcomed to her Clarence House home the crew of the Maiden, who became the first all-female outfit to triumph in a round-the-world yacht challenge when they won the Ocean Globe Race earlier this month.

“You’re doing a brilliant job, keep on doing it – that’s really important,” the Queen told the women, who are part of a project promoting the education of women and girls.

Heather Thomas, from Otley, West Yorkshire, captained Maiden to victory as the vessel raced for 153 days and crossed the finish line on April 16 at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, Isle of Wight.

She said after the champagne reception: “It was incredible after we’d found out we’d won.

“It’s a pretty historic moment for women’s sailing, I’m really happy with the result, the girls all worked really hard for it – so we’re proud of ourselves.”

The winning yacht was sailed by an international crew that included African, Caribbean and Middle Eastern women alongside others from the UK and Costa Rica.

Maiden was the brainchild of veteran yachtswoman Tracy Edwards, who skippered the boat during the 1989-90 Whitbread global yacht race with an all-female crew, before resurrecting the vessel as part of the Maiden Factor Foundation.

Ms Edwards, the founder and director of the foundation dedicated to the education of women and girls, said the organisation’s patron Whoopi Goldberg had challenged her to find a diverse crew.

She said: “For me this is the end of a 45-year fight for the equality of women within sailing and sport generally and actually women’s empowerment.

“Sailing is described as male, pale and stale. So with Maiden in 1989 we dealt with male and the stale bit, we didn’t deal with the pale bit.

“And when Whoopi Goldberg became our patron, she looked me square in the eye, and when she went ‘change it’. I went ‘OK’ so we did. So we put this incredible crew together because we want to change the face of sailing.”

The 2023-24 Ocean Globe Race, which marked the 50th anniversary of the first edition of the Whitbread round-the-world race, featured 14 boats representing eight countries.

The yachts raced over four legs, travelling from Cowes to Cape Town, Auckland and Punta del Este, Uruguay, before returning to the UK.

Queen Camilla speaks to crew members (Chris Jackson/PA)

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With an all-female crew, 'maiden' sailed around the world and into history.

The remarkable story of the first all-female crew to compete in an around-the world sailing race. In 1989, 26 year old skipper Tracy Edwards set out on what was an unthinkable journey for a woman - to sail the 33,000 mile Whitbread Around the World Race. Her story and that of her crew is told in the documentary 'Maiden.'

  • Tracy Edwards

Contributor

  • Dave Davies

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  • Society & Culture

Other segments from the episode on June 27, 2019

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. In the 1980s, the world of open ocean sailboat racing was pretty much all male. That is, until our guest, Tracy Edwards, decided she'd assemble an all-female crew to enter the grueling and dangerous 33,000 mile Whitbread Round the World Race. As you'll hear, the idea was unthinkable to most of men in the world of yacht racing and the journalists who covered them. The remarkable story of Edwards and her crew is told in a new documentary directed by Alex Holmes titled "Maiden," which was also the name of the yacht she sailed in the race. The film opens in theaters tomorrow.

Tracy Edwards had an unhappy childhood after her father died and her mom remarried. She ran away from home as a teenager, made her way to Greece and fell in love with sailing. She wanted so badly to compete that she signed on as a cook for an all-male crew on a Round the World Race. Though she learned a lot about sailing, she had no luck getting on as a crew member. She talked about her story with FRESH AIR's Dave Davies.

DAVE DAVIES, BYLINE: Well, Tracy Edwards, welcome to FRESH AIR. So as I gather from the documentary, you decided you're never going to get accepted as a crew member on a Round the World Race. So you decided, well, you're just going to start your own. How did you pull that off?

TRACY EDWARDS: Yes. I did look at the world of sailing and thought I need to change the shape of this because I don't fit in here. And so, you know, my mom always told me, if you don't like the way the world looks, change it. So I thought, OK, I will. I thought the easiest way - (laughter) that makes me laugh - the easiest way to do that would just be to put an all-female crew together. And, you know, we'd just prove we can do it and everyone will accept it and everything will be fine.

But that was far from what happened. You know, we had so much obstruction and criticism and anger, which I found really quite strange. You know, why would you be angry that we want to sail around the world? It's - we're not putting you out. We're just doing our own thing.

So it's - it was a strange process. I started out putting an all-female crew together because, A, I wanted to prove that we could do it but also so that I could be the navigator, which was quite a selfish reason. And then as we went on with it and it - people thought it was so impossible. And I thought, well, I've just raced around the world. It's not that difficult.

DAVIES: Right. And, well, you had to figure out - well, you had to buy a boat. And I gather you had a house that you mortgaged - right? - and put up - and borrowed money. And then you and the women that you recruited worked on restoring this boat yourselves. And it needed a lot of work, right?

EDWARDS: Yes, it did. We got to the point where we'd been trying for so long to raise money, the sponsorship to design and build our own boat, which, of course, all the other crews were doing. And I just - I realized one day that that's not going to happen. There are times where you do have to admit failure and go in a different direction. This is one of those times.

And so we found an old secondhand racing yacht with a pedigree. And that was - she was called Prestige at the time, but before that, she'd been Disque D'Or 3 and had been designed and built for Pierre Fehlmann in the '81-'82 Whitbread Round the World Race where she hadn't actually done that well.

When we bought her in the summer of '88, I mean, she was in a terrible state. And we put her on a ship, and we brought her back to the U.K. And then I gave the girls sledgehammers, and I said, right, take her apart, and we did. I mean, we stripped the inside of the boat. We stripped the deck. We took the mast out. We took everything apart.

DAVIES: Yeah. Was it unusual for crew members to do the repairs on their own boat? Is that what the guys did?

EDWARDS: It was absolutely unique - completely unique. All these other guys had a shore team. They had - well, they had brand-new boats, so they didn't really need to do any work on them. And, you know, so they'd sit in the cafe and watch us as we were putting this boat together. Although, as I said, I mean, there was a very nice part of that sort of being part of this big Whitbread family is that if you did go and ask for help, you would 99.9% of the time you would get it. You know, you might get a bit of a snide, well, you know, if you need help kind of thing, but then, you know, we were - beggars can't be choosers.

But the great thing about doing what we did the way we did it was we learned everything we needed to know about the boat. We put every single item into that boat, onto that boat. We painted her. We put the rig in. We did the rigging. We did the electronics, the plumbing, the NAV station, the rigging. So when we put Maiden in the water, I would say that we, us as a crew, knew our boat better than any other team in the race.

DAVIES: Which would come in handy later on (laughter).

EDWARDS: Yeah.

DAVIES: You got the boat, and even if you fixed it up, you still needed a lot of money because this is a race that takes months, and you need shore crews to help. And so you needed a sponsor. And typically, corporations would sponsor crews. You couldn't get that and you got some help as the result of a kind of a chance association you'd made in the past. Tell us about this.

EDWARDS: Yeah (laughter). So - I know. There's bits of my life which are so surreal. I was a stewardess on a charter yacht in Newport, R.I., and we had a very secretive, very important, high-profile guest. And we didn't know who it was.

DAVIES: This is a couple years earlier, right? Yeah.

EDWARDS: This is in 1984. So in 1984, I was working as a stewardess on this charter yacht. We had a surprise guest. It was, you know, very - it was all a bit weird, actually. We thought it might be Ted Kennedy.

But anyway, so we went off to Martha's Vineyard. The whole boat was checked. You know, we had the Navy. We had sniffer dogs. We had divers. Then we weren't allowed to stay on the boat that night. We're like, who is this person? And it turned out to be King Hussein and Queen Noor, and they'd just been their - Prince Abdullah's graduation. And they came for day sailing.

And I was washing up after lunch, and I felt this sort of presence beside me, and I turned around and it was King Hussein. And he had a tea towel in his hand, and I said, I don't think you can do that. He said, I can do anything. I'm king.

DAVIES: (Laughter).

EDWARDS: I was like, OK. I mean, I didn't really know who he was, if I'm perfectly honest. I was 21 years old, hadn't read a newspaper since I'd left home. But there was something quite extraordinary about this man, and he was fascinated with what I did, and King Hussein was a people collector.

He - and it wasn't just me. I mean, he collected people from all over the world, all walks of life. He found people interesting, fascinating. He loved his fellow human being. And I think that's what made him such an extraordinary leader and why Jordan is such a place of stability in the Middle East today. And he encouraged me to do the '85-'86 race. And then when I was putting Maiden together, he was always there in the background, always on the end of a phone if I needed help or advice.

But when I got to the point where I thought I can't spend any more time looking for this money - you know, two years and we had bits and pieces of money and donations and stuff but no big sponsor - I called him up and I told him, and he went, oh, for goodness sake. He said, right. He said, Royal Jordanian Airlines is going to be your sponsor. And that was just brilliant. You know, we - just having not to struggle for money anymore was amazing. And then, of course, she ended up this beautiful gray color with the red and the gold stripe because that's the color of Royal Jordanian Airlines' planes.

DAVIES: I have to ask. He was always on the other end of a phone. How does one dial up a king? Do you get his cellphone number?

EDWARDS: Well, he left me his phone number before he left the boat, and then before I got home to the U.K., he'd called my mum. And when I - I did a transatlantic home, and I got to Lymington and, of course, we didn't have cellphones in those days, so I went to find a payphone. And I called my mother and she said, what have you been up to? I said, nothing. I have - we just got off the boat. I've sailed across the Atlantic. She said, some guy called King Hussein keeps calling, and...

EDWARDS: ...You know? I said, oh, God. Please don't tell me you said you were the Queen of Sheba and put the phone down. She said, no, because knowing you, I thought there was every likelihood that it would be, so, yeah. So we forged this...

DAVIES: Wow.

EDWARDS: ...Very strong and very close friendship. And if I ever, ever needed to speak to him, he would always get back to me or be on the end of a phone.

DAVIES: Tracy Edwards' remarkable experience as skipper of the first all-female crew to compete in an around-the-world sailing race is told in the new documentary "Maiden." It opens in theaters this Friday. We'll be back and talk some more after a quick break. This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF DAN AUERBACH'S "HEARTBROKEN, IN DISREPAIR")

DAVIES: This is FRESH AIR, and we're speaking with Tracy Edwards. She assembled and led the first all-female sailing crew to compete in an around-the-world race in 1989. That's the subject of the new documentary "Maiden." It opens in theaters this Friday.

So you get the boat ready, and you start going out and sailing in runs. And there was actually a kind of a warm-up race to the round-the-world race. And there's some - there's a leadership struggle, in effect. I mean, you - your first mate, who was a very experienced sailor - you decide you have to let her go because there's a question of sort of who's really in charge of the boat. And it was kind of a tough thing. And it became a media story when you came back because it fed into the narrative of, oh, it's a catfight. These are squabbling women.

And I thought we'd just hear a - this is a scene from the film that's - where we hear a member of your crew, Jeni Mundy, talking about the kinds of questions that she and the crew and you got from the media. Let's listen.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MAIDEN")

JENI MUNDY: If you looked at the questions or the articles written about us at the time, they were always digging for stories on, well, who's boyfriend, girlfriend? Are you lesbians? Are you sleeping around? Or surely you're not getting on that well. Bunch of women on a boat that size - there must be a lot of squabbles.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What about the crew? A bunch of girls - how'd you all get on?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Remarkably well.

MUNDY: You never saw them ask the guys those questions. They would be asked about tactics, challenges, you know, sail - sensible sporting questions. We almost never got asked those questions. Why?

DAVIES: And that's Jeni Mundy. She was on the crew of the Maiden. That was the ship that was skippered by our guest Tracy Edwards. You had the first all-female crew to compete in an around-the-world sailing race. That story is told in the new documentary "Maiden." Were you surprised at the media reaction that you got?

EDWARDS: We weren't surprised that there was resistance to an all-female crew in the race. You know, sailing is one of the last bastions of patriarchy, if you like. And it is entrenched. It's - you know, we're a maritime nation. It's entrenched in our history, in our warfare, in our culture. And it is extremely male-dominated. And it was, I would say, the hardest sport at - well, the hardest sport of any time to want to prove that women could do it, so I wasn't surprised there was resistance.

The thing that really made me laugh was the two things that guys used to say to us with absolute certainty. One was you're going to die, not you might or, you know, we think it's a bit of a risk. But, no, you're going to die, which - OK, we took that with a pinch of salt. And the other one, many says, women don't get on. Well, what? You're not a woman, and you're wrong. And, you know, it was (laughter) so weird.

DAVIES: Yeah. One of - one sailing journalist, Bob Fisher, called you a tin full of tarts.

EDWARDS: (Laughter) Well, Bob and I are now very good friends, you'll be pleased to hear. Bob was one of the very few journalists who allowed us to change his mind. And for the documentary, I have to say, he did a wonderful job of being very honest about what he thought then. You know, and he could have ducked it, but he didn't. He really - he stepped up to the plate. But when we sailed into New Zealand in first place, Bob Fisher then wrote in Yachts & Yachting, not just a tin full of tarts - a tin full of smart, fast tarts.

EDWARDS: And we all thought this was great. You know, oh, yay. Bob's changed his mind. And then someone said to us, you do know that tart is still in that sentence, you know? We were like, oh, yeah. OK. Well, maybe a little bit further to go.

DAVIES: You know, one of the things that struck me as I looked at the film - there's a lot of clips of you doing media interviews. And I have to say you seem very composed and on-message. I mean, you don't - you know, you don't rail at people. You don't rage at the criticism that you have been given. Did you get advice on this? Did it just come naturally?

EDWARDS: That is such a good question. You know, the first thing I thought when I first watched this documentary with all the other women - and we all said to - almost - a woman, the same thing. I looked at myself on that screen, and I thought, well, that's not me. That's - no, no. I have no link with that person - this young person up on the screen because I remember myself as being a bit of an idiot and a bit of a twit, really.

And I have this sort of almost horrible reoccurring dream about me being - oh, just kind of lurching from one situation to the next and, you know, fighting the next obstacle. And then we watched that, and I thought, I actually sound quite sensible in some of the interviews. And, you know, I say a couple of quite profound things. And to me, I don't remember myself like that.

And the only thing I can think - and I didn't have any major training. The only thing I can think is - I mean, my mom and Admiral Charles Williams, who was the organizer of the Whitbread, who was a huge supporter of Maiden. He was so wonderful. Admiral Charles Williams - yes, of course women can sail around the world.

EDWARDS: He was just wonderful. He did take me aside a couple of times and say, you know, yeah, you can't do a press announcement and then run out of the room. You know, you do have to stay for questions and little tips like that. But I was told right from Day 1, don't lose your temper. Because I, at the time, did have just a little bit of a temper, I have to say. So I am amazed when I watch that footage because I think I probably know what's going on beneath the surface.

DAVIES: And there's one moment which, I'm told, you cringe when you see now where you're asked, are you a feminist? And you say, I hate that word.

DAVIES: What was - I could kind of get what you were saying, but you tell me.

EDWARDS: Yeah. Well, you know, in the '80s, feminist was an accusation. It wasn't a nice title. It was - it had all sorts of horrible connotations. And really, it had been made into a word that women should be ashamed of, I think, with deliberate reason. And, you know, I drank the Kool-Aid, basically. And I was very young. I was 23, 24, during that interview. And I didn't want people not to like me. You know? You care very much at that age that people like you. I mean, you may be annoying them and putting this whole female crew together.

But I do remember afterwards my mum said to me, I'm so surprised that you don't think you're a feminist. And she said, I'm not going to tell you what you should say, but I think you need to have a bit of a think about that one. And then when we again got to New Zealand, and we won that leg and we were getting the same stupid, crass, banal questions that we had on every other leg, I just thought, you know what? I think this is bigger than us and bigger than Maiden and bigger than anything we've been tackling. This is about equality. And I think I am a huge, fat feminist. I think I absolutely am.

And I stood up for the first time in my life, and I said something that might hurt me and might make me not likeable. And I took pride in it, and it was an extraordinary experience.

DAVIES: When you were working as a cook on the otherwise all-male crew of that Round The World Race back then, when you observed the men on the boat and how they interacted with one another, I'm wondering if that was different from your observations of all-women crews that you saw later on?

EDWARDS: It's very smelly. It's very messy. You know, there's a lot of swearing. And then there are days when guys don't talk to each other. What is that? So that was very weird - a lot of tension, testosterone, egos. I mean, it was an interesting experience, that nine months. You know, first time and last time I'd ever been, you know, with 17 men and sort of watching them in their environments, if you like. You know, their natural habitat (laughter).

So it was - I had nothing to compare it to at that time, but then doing an all-female crew, then I noticed, wow, there's a huge difference between a group of women and a group of men.

DAVIES: Right. And how would you describe the difference?

EDWARDS: Well, I prefer sailing around the world with an all-female crew. I prefer, you know, sailing with women, anyway - much cleaner, you know? We do tend to wash.

EDWARDS: You know, even if it was in cold saltwater. (Laughter). More use of deodorant, as well, I have noticed. But we were always chatting, always talking. I mean, I know women - I know people say women talk a lot. We really did. And we did talk the whole way around the world. I don't think there's one subject that we didn't cover in depth, inside, outside and backwards.

Women are kinder to each other, and in a much more obvious way. So, you know, we - well, we're naturally more nurturing and caring, I think. And if you saw someone scared, or worried, or anxious or a bit down, there'd always be someone, you know, that would put their arm around your shoulder and go, cup of tea? Yes, please. Thank you very much.

So just a completely, completely different atmosphere - and I do think that each flourish in their own atmosphere. You see, that's the thing. I have done mixed crews, which have worked really, really well. But I think at that time, it really was each to their own.

DAVIES: Right. The thing that I wondered was whether women are just simply more willing to cooperate. And a crew really has to work together on a long voyage like that.

EDWARDS: I think the one time when we didn't talk was the time when we were cooperating the most, which was on the start lines. And it was very interesting, actually. We didn't notice we did this at all because we trained a lot. We trained. We trained. We trained. And then when we were on the start line - on the start line, you've got a lot of screaming and shouting. There's a lot of very macho posturing, you know, between the boats. And it's all sort of playing chicken, and it's, (laughter), there's a lot of shouting.

DAVIES: 'Cause you're all close together there. Right.

EDWARDS: Because you're all close together. But what we didn't realize until we got to the next stop, one of the guys said, you girls not talking to each other on the start line then? You know, you're not talking to each other already? And we went, yeah. What do you mean? He said, well, no one was saying anything or shouting anything. I said, well, we don't like being shouted at so therefore we tend not to shout at each other (laughter). And then we realized, when we're sailing in those quite stressful conditions, we were completely silent because we were so in harmony with each other.

GROSS: We're listening to the interview Dave Davies recorded with Tracy Edwards. In 1989, she became the first woman to lead an all-female sailing crew on the Whitbread Round the World Race. That voyage is the subject of the new documentary "Maiden."

After a break, we'll talk about the dangers and the extremes the crew faced during the race. And Justin Chang will review the new movie "Yesterday," whose conceit is that a strange blip has erased The Beatles from history with the exception of one singer-songwriter who remembers the band and their songs. I'm Terry Gross, and this is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Let's get back to the interview FRESH AIR's Dave Davies recorded with Tracy Edwards, who in 1989 was the first woman to lead an all-female sailing crew on the Whitbread round the World Race.

It was an arduous 33,000-mile competition divided into five legs. The boats would start in England and compete to arrive first in the designated ports, where the winning crew would win a trophy and the crews would rest a few days before starting the next leg. The best cumulative time for the whole race was named the winner. Edwards' story is told in the new documentary "Maiden," directed by Alex Holmes. It opens in theaters tomorrow.

DAVIES: This first leg of the journey from England to Uruguay, you finished third out of the four boats in your class. And the journalists who thought you wouldn't even get there were giving you a well done sort of treatment. You didn't feel that way, right?

EDWARDS: No. We were absolutely gutted when we came third. We were so disappointed. So we had this really weird situation going on on the dock. So we were coming in with a face as low as I don't know what and then everyone else on the dock was going, you're alive, you're alive. So we had this really strange party with a very happy group of people and a very grumpy group of (laughter). It was very weird.

DAVIES: The second leg of the journey is from Uruguay to Australia. It's the longest. And you're kind of sailing across the bottom of the world if you kind of turn the globe over and picture it. So the most direct route would be kind of as close to the South Pole as possible. That gets tricky. That imposed a tough decision on you. Tell us what, you know, the trade-offs were and the challenges.

EDWARDS: Well, you don't just stop in ports. You continue to work and the girls are fixing the boat and themselves. And I just either sat in my room in the hotel with all my charts and everything else or on the boat in the nav station. And you're planning your next leg, and you're looking at different things, like what does the weather look like that's coming up? What is the sea state currently in the Southern Ocean? Where are the icebergs? They were particularly far north that year. And you're looking at long-range forecasts and trying to piece all these things together. And so what you want to do is, yes, you want to go as far south as possible but - and the reason why others made the decision not to was because of the icebergs.

Now, I made quite a risky decision that we wouldn't hit an iceberg. And I took us the furthest south of any boats in the Whitbread fleet that year. But I was very clear on what I wanted to do and why I wanted to do it. What you don't want to do is go so far south that you go over the Antarctic shelf, which then changes the shape of the waves and can make them quite unmanageable. And you also don't want to get on the wrong side of the low pressures, which is to go south of them. You want to stay north of them because they travel clockwise. So it was a hugely fraught leg on the decision-making front, but I was probably the clearest I'd ever been about anything in the race, and I got it right.

DAVIES: OK. So this crew - this is not a balmy Caribbean sail. I mean, you're going to save time, but conditions are - well, I think one of you said there's nothing that can prepare you for sailing in the Southern Ocean. Can you just describe a little bit about what it was like, what the crew had to put up with?

EDWARDS: OK. So the conditions in the Southern Ocean is your body starts to deteriorate as soon as you cross the start line. Pain and cold are the quickest ways to lose weight. You can get frostbite in your fingers and toes. It's minus 20, minus 30 degrees below freezing. You are constantly damp because salt water doesn't dry. So the girls up on deck would be miserable, cold, wet, miserable, you know, freezing fingers and toes, tons of clothing on, so you can barely move.

The food's revolting, so you just shovel it down your throat as quickly as possible and try and get as much sleep as possible with this four on, four off watch system. And it's also a sensory deprivation. There's no sun. There's no blue sky. It's gray, and the boat's gray, and everything's gray. And it is a miserable leg.

DAVIES: And you have to look out for ice, and sometimes it's foggy, and sometimes it's at night. What - do you place someone on the bow? How does that work?

EDWARDS: Yep. So you have a bow watch. We realized when we had woken up - well, when I'd woken up and the girls were really staring at it, but I was - I went up on deck and we were sailing past an iceberg. And I said, oh, my God, I didn't see that on the radar, and they went, nope, we didn't either. So that's when we thought, yeah, we need to have someone up on the bow just because it just gives you that few seconds more of warning if you see an iceberg and you have to swerve.

DAVIES: Right. So you're not within sight of any of the other boats, obviously. And you finally get to the calmer waters as you approach Australia. Describe getting into Australia and realizing where you were.

EDWARDS: Well, coming out towards Australia, a number of things happen when you come out of the Southern Ocean. A, well, obviously, it gets warmer as you're heading up towards Australia. The sea state changes. The color of the sea goes from a black to this beautiful, deep, translucent blue. The sky - you can see the sky again. It actually has a definition between the - you know, between the sea and, you know, the clouds. You suddenly remember all these things that you haven't seen for five weeks.

And then obviously, as I said, it gets warmer. You start to dry everything out. And as you get closer to land, as Jeni says in the film, land smells. And, you know, for quite a way out, you can smell what's coming up, and that's quite amazing. And it is like being reborn. And as we came up to Australia, we did not know whether we had won. We suspected we were in first place, but we didn't know until we crossed the finishing line and Howard was on one of the boats shouting, you're first. And we just were - that was I think probably the happiest moment in my entire life.

DAVIES: The third leg is the shortest. It goes from Australia to New Zealand, and that's a different kind of sailing. It's sort of tactical. You're often within sight of the other boats. You win again. Describe arriving in New Zealand.

EDWARDS: Oh, it was just amazing. We knew we had to win this leg to prove that we could do a long, hard leg and a short, complicated leg. And I had three great tacticians on board, and we did match race pretty much the whole way there with L'Esprit (ph) and then with Rucanor. And when we got into New Zealand, we'd been delayed by the wind dropping, and it was nighttime, so we got - we actually ended up getting in at 1 o'clock in the morning. And it wasn't again until we crossed the start - the finishing line that someone said, you know, you've won, and we were so happy. It was only by an hour this time whereas the previous time, it'd been 36 hours.

So we were now 16 hours ahead of our nearest rival at the halfway point. And when we did turn the corner to motor into the port that we were going into, there was a wharf and we thought that it was covered with thousands of birds. And it was only when we got closer that we realized it was people. Thousands and thousands of people had come out in Auckland at 1 o'clock in the morning to see Maiden in. And it was - oh, it was just amazing.

DAVIES: So you were - you had become famous. I mean, I guess this was, in some respects, kind of a novelty story in some way. But suddenly, people are rooting for you, and you're winning.

EDWARDS: It was - yeah. I mean, I think we still stayed a novelty for some people, although for a lot of people, they started to wake up and go, wow. Actually, women can do this.

DAVIES: Tracy Edwards' remarkable experience as skipper of the first all-female crew to compete in an around-the-world sailing race is told in the new documentary "Maiden." It opens in theaters this Friday. We'll be back after a short break. This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF LULLATONE'S "ALL THE OPTIMISM OF EARLY JANUARY")

The fourth leg of the race began not so well for you and the others on the Maiden. You had calm waters that prevented you from really getting a good start. And I thought we'd play a clip that describes the part where you were going around - I guess it's the Falkland Islands and some of the seas that you met. In this clip, we'll hear from members of the crew - Claire Warren, Dawn Riley, Jeni Mundy - and the clip begins with our guest, Tracy Edwards. Let's listen.

EDWARDS: We went 'round Cape Horn. And then there was, you know, the possibility of some options opening up for us to be able to pick up some ground, so I decided to go for it. Turning up and going up past the Falklands, it got a bit busy.

DAWN RILEY: There's only been a few times in my life that it had been that rough.

CLAIRE WARREN: Often, on a boat, you know, you'll find the shortest distance is straight into the wind, for example. Well, boats don't sail into the wind, so how far off do you go?

MUNDY: It's like hitting a brick wall in a car without your seatbelt on every 10 seconds. It's just relentless.

EDWARDS: There's a lot of slamming. Whoomp (ph), bam. Whoomp, bam - takes a lot out of the boat.

DAVIES: And that's from the new documentary "Maiden," which features the voyage led by Tracy Edwards, our guest. It was the first all-female sailing crew to compete in an around-the-world race in 1989. It is powerful watching those scenes of, essentially, sort of surfing down one side of a wave and then slamming into another. How dicey did this get? How did the boat take it?

EDWARDS: It was an all-or-nothing decision. It was - you know, it could have been the wrong one, but we just had to do something, and so we all decided to go for it. What it did do was it opened up four hairline fractures in the mast, which we couldn't see at that time and didn't know they were there. But I - so I was in the nav station one evening, and I suddenly found water around my feet. And as we were going past the Falkland Islands, we had to - we started taking on a lot of water, and I mean a lot of water. It was pouring in.

We spent two days trying to find out where this water was coming in, and we hove to, which means you come off a way of the wind and you calm things down a bit, you take a couple of sails down. And the RAF Hercules was scrambled from the Falkland Islands just to check where we were in case we needed to be rescued.

DAVIES: That's an airplane dispatched from - by the British and the Falklands, right?

EDWARDS: That's exactly - so, yeah, after about two days, we managed to get rid of most of the water. And we realized that it was worse leaning over one side than it was leaning over the other side. And we managed to get on our way, but that lost us so much time. There was no way we could catch up on our lead at that point.

DAVIES: Yeah. I mean, this problem appeared with water at your feet in the navigation station, right? Did the fact that you and your crew had effectively kind of built the boat over again inside out - did that matter in diagnosing the problem and resolving it?

EDWARDS: Oh, without a doubt. If we hadn't rebuilt that boat, we wouldn't have known where to start. And as Jeni so eloquently puts in the film - it's one of my favorite lines when she says, you know, you can't, then, just give up and call the repair people. There are no repair people. I just love that so much. And, of course, you know, I mean, Jeni knew every inch of the boat. She was the electrician, and she'd run every cable. And we'd all done our separate areas, so we felt - OK, it was worrying, but we felt very confident that we were sorted out and we would get to the next stop over.

DAVIES: The last two legs, you didn't do as well as you had in the previous two and ended up finishing second in your class out of four - right? - when you sailed to England. Is that right?

EDWARDS: Yes.

DAVIES: Pretty good showing, you know, considering what people were expecting. As you arrived, you weren't feeling that, right?

EDWARDS: No. I mean, we came second in our class overall, which is the best result for a British boat since 1977 and actually hasn't been beaten yet. But that didn't mean much to us at the time. We were going through - when you finish a race like that, you go through a mixture of emotions. Obviously, if you're winning, it's all happiness and wonderful and fantastic. We hadn't won. We've come second, and it took me a long time to come to terms with that because second is nowhere in racing. But as Claire says in the film - you know, and she's very right - there was a bigger picture, and the bigger picture was what we had achieved.

The other thing, I think, that happens to you as you finish a race of that length is you suddenly realize that this family of people that you have been with for three years is suddenly going to disappear. And that is - it's quite shocking and can be depressing.

DAVIES: Right. That's three years total, I guess - what? - nine months or so on the ocean, pretty much.

DAVIES: Right. When you arrived in England, when you're sailing in, you knew that you weren't going to be there first. You did get a reception of sorts. You want to describe this?

EDWARDS: Well, it was quite - just extraordinary. We finished on Bank Holiday Monday, which - a good day to finish. And as we were coming up towards the needles, which we hadn't seen for nine months, it was sunrise. There wasn't really that much wind, and we were so close to - you know, this is it - the final stretch.

And as we were going up Southampton Water, hundreds of boats came out to meet us. And they would come towards us, turn around, then start sailing with us. So the final two hours of the boat was two hours I will never forget as long as I live - surrounded by thousands of people on hundreds of boats, throwing flowers and cheering. And it was absolutely amazing.

And crossing the finishing line, we knew, OK, we hadn't won, but we had sailed into the history books. And we are first, and you can't beat being first to do something. So - and then coming into Ocean Village, where 50,000 people were waiting for us, was just phenomenal - most amazing, extraordinary experience.

DAVIES: You know, we wouldn't have this documentary if there weren't a lot of film taken - or video, I guess - taken on the boat itself. This is real footage done on the voyage in 1989. How did that happen?

EDWARDS: Well, the Whitbread's organizers wanted some of the boats to take cameras, and most of the guys' boats were far too important and busy to take cameras and film. So you know, we stuck our hands up and said, we'll film. And so they gave us a camera.

And then we said, oh, who's - who is going to film? And Jo, who was the cook and my school friend - she said, well, I'd love to film. I'm doing - I'm the cooking. I'm - you know, I don't do a watch. So we packed her off to the BBC with a camera for four days. Four days - I mean, just extraordinary. And then she came back to the boat.

And, you know, we practiced before we went, which, again, is something the guys' boats didn't really do, even if they had cameras. We worked out that we needed a camera fixed on the radar mast for emergency situations when Jo couldn't film because we needed her on the deck as a crew member. And Jo has an amazing emotional intelligence. And her connection with her subjects, which is us, is what makes this whole film so completely unique. And Alex says, without her footage, he wouldn't have been able to make the documentary he made.

DAVIES: When the Maiden arrived back in England, you were named yachtsman of the year - still yachtsman, not...

DAVIES: Yeah. You were named yachtsman of the year - quite an honor. And you were a national celebrity - I mean, at age - what? - 27. What were your plans from that? I mean, you accomplished this remarkable thing.

EDWARDS: Well, I didn't have any plans, and that's unfortunately - did not go well. So the girls will disappear quite quickly. They'd been made job offers. And I said, rather gallantly and stupidly, I will - I'll stay here, and I'll write the book. And I'll do the interviews, and I'll, you know, sort of keep the story going.

And I fell off a cliff, really. And within, I would have to say - how long? - within nine months of the race finishing, I'd had a nervous breakdown. And if you'd have asked me this question even two years ago, I would not have told you that. But we're talking a lot about mental health in the U.K. and about well-being and caring for ourselves.

And I didn't ask for help, and I was struggling badly without my teammates around me. And so I disappeared off down to Wales, and I stayed there for two years and really became a recluse to - really, to the point where the whole saying, well, wonder where the hell I'd gone - before reappearing in 1994 with a new sailing project.

DAVIES: Right. I'm curious how you look back on that crisis. I mean, it - as I hear the story - I mean, you'd gone a long time without a real family, and then you found it with this crew. And then, suddenly, they were gone.

EDWARDS: It was very hard saying goodbye to everyone. And I still get emotional when I talk about it today, really. It was a time when I - I mean, I - my lesson that I learned from that was really to ask help when - ask for help when you need it. And you know, there's nothing big about pretending to be brave. That's just stupid.

So the lesson I learned on the race was that friendship and teamwork are the two most important things. And the thing I learned after the race was, if you have that teamwork and that friendship, ask for help (laughter).

DAVIES: Well, it's been great talking to you. Tracy Edwards, thanks so much.

EDWARDS: Thank you.

GROSS: Tracy Edwards spoke with FRESH AIR's Dave Davies. Edwards and her all-women crew that competed in the 1989 Whitbread Round The World Race are the subject of the new documentary "Maiden," which opens in theaters tomorrow.

After we take a short break, Justin Chang will review the new movie "Yesterday" that imagines a world in which the Beatles were erased from cultural memory, with the exception of one aspiring singer-songwriter who starts performing Beatles songs. This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Latest News: Translated 9 Finally Home – McIntyre OGR

days hrs mins secs

MAIDEN WINS McINTYRE OCEAN GLOBE

all female round the world yacht crew

Maiden Triumphant Taking IRC Gold in McIntyre Ocean Globe Race Maiden ’s Win is official!

  • Maiden UK (03) has won the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race taking first in IRC rankings and the first ever all-women crew to win an around the world yacht race!
  • The international all-female crew crossed the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes finish line at 10:52 UTC, 16th April having sailed 6599 nm from Punta del Este on leg 4 of the OGR. 
  • Their closest rival for IRC Overall title Triana FR (66) needed to finish by the morning of the 22nd  – but is now facing headwinds 150 nm from Cowes with an ETA of 17:00 Tuesday 23rd. Maiden ’s win is now official!

all female round the world yacht crew

Maiden UK (03) has won the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race taking first in IRC handicap rankings against a 14 strong fleet of very experienced and committed sailors. They have also been written into the history books as the first ever all-women crew to win an around the world yacht race.

The former Whitbread yacht, sailed by an all-female international crew has taken the coveted title after 153d 2h 16m 53s of racing around the world. Virtually none of the crew had previously faced such an epic challenge and only one had sailed in the Southern Ocean before. 

all female round the world yacht crew

They crossed the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes finish line at 10:52 UTC, 16th April, in a haze of excitement having sailed 6599 nm from Punta del Este on leg 4 of the OGR, making it look easy, when all knew it was not. 

It has been a tense wait for the girls over the past few days to watch if second placed entrant on IRC, French yacht TRIANA , could reach the finish line early enough to beat them on handicap, but that is now impossible. 

The crew has won fans worldwide and have impressed with their dedication to spreading their message of education for all women, their consistent work ethic and their unquestionable skills on the water. They’ve faced squalls, broken watermakers forcing them to collect rainwater, blown spinnakers and unraveling Abba cassette tapes. They’ve crossed the equator twice, taking in the three Great Capes including Cape Horn . Maiden now returns to her Southampton home waters ready for retirement in as good a shape as the day she left 218 previously. All this was done in the spirit of the McIntyre OGR, sailing like it’s 1973. 

Skipper Heather Thomas , the youngest skipper in the fleet, spoke of her pride in taking first place. 

all female round the world yacht crew

It’s very exciting to be the first all-female crew to win an around the world race. It’s a historic moment. The girls have worked really hard for it and we’re very proud of our achievement. We have the best crew and the best boat so what can I say! To those we raced against it’s been a pleasure to get to know them and we’re going to miss them. It’s been an incredible first OGR and I hope the ones that follow are as good. Maiden won’t do the next one, but I will.  Heather Thomas, skipper of Maiden.

all female round the world yacht crew

Heather has said from race start they were “in it to win it” , something they achieved while consistently ranking in the top half of the fleet. In Leg 1 they came in third in line honours and IRC. In Leg 2, fourth in both line honours and IRC and Leg 3, Auckland to Punta del Este , second in line honours and 4th in IRC. 

She speaks very highly of her talented crew, hailing from the UK, Antigua, USA, South Africa, France and Afghanistan. Heather describes being a tight-knit team, with first mate Rachel Burgess , as one of Maiden ’s main strengths.

We work together so well. Everyone brings something to the team, without this we wouldn’t achieve what we do.    Heather Thomas, skipper of Maiden.

all female round the world yacht crew

Don McIntyre , OGR Founder, speaks about his delight at the Maiden success. 

Every one of the 220 sailors who have sailed, or who are still sailing today in this OGR has a story and did it for special reasons. Now their lives will be changed forever, none more so than the crew of Maiden with this beautiful and historic win against some very serious teams. This OCEAN GLOBE RACE is a story about humans recreating the early Whitbread races and for the first time in 30 years, giving ordinary sailors a chance to race around the world in classic yachts. To see Maiden recreate their glorious Whitbread history and WIN the OGR is and will always be an inspiration to many. BRAVO indeed!!    What an absolutely stunning victory for skipper Heather and this eclectic mix of international girls and skills onboard Maiden . Wow!  They have embraced this OGR adventure at every level, performing on the water, facing completely unknown Southern Ocean challenges with courage and determination and representing their cause like real champions – In ports they were the perfect ambassadors for life, embracing every day and every minute with true passion. We loved them!  Don McIntyre, OGR Founder.

It’s fitting that Maiden should take the McIntyre Ocean Globe-winning title with her poignant Whitbread history. Designed by Bruce Farr , the 58-foot aluminum hulled yacht came fourth in the 1981-82 Whitbread, known then as Disque D’Or 3 . She was then renamed Stabilo Boss for the 1986-87 BOC single-handed challenge coming seventh. In 1987 she was bought by Tracy Edwards MBE , who made headlines in the 1989 Whitbread skippering the iconic yacht around the world with an all-female crew. 

The final prize giving and presentation of the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race winners trophy, hosted by TRANSLATED 9 , will be in Rome Italy on the 21st June 2024 . There are currently seven McIntyre OGR entrants still racing toward the finish line.    

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Don McIntyre OGR Chairman and Founder

Don McIntyre is the founder and underwriter of the goldengloberace.com the oceangloberace.com and the minigloberace.com . Follow him at mcintyreadventure.com .

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Ocean Globe Race : Women's crew on "Maiden" wins the race around the world

Kristina Müller

 ·  23.04.2024

Ocean Globe Race: Women's crew on "Maiden" wins the race around the world

Although Marie Tabarly's crew on "Pen Duick VI" reached the finish harbour of Cowes as the fastest ship, she is not rated as the overall winner according to the handicap calculation.

"Maiden" reached the finish line of the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes shortly afterwards, on 16 April - after almost 6600 nautical miles from Punta del Este in Uruguay across the South and North Atlantic.

In the last few days, it was unclear whether the French yacht "Triana", which was previously second in the IRC rankings, would reach the finish early enough to beat "Maiden" and "Pen Duick VI". This is now no longer possible.

"Hard at work"

The former Whitbread yacht "Maiden", with the only female crew in the Ocean Globe Race, sailed for a total of 153 days, two hours, 16 minutes and 53 seconds. No crew member had ever sailed in the Southern Ocean before.

Skipper Heather Thomas is also the youngest skipper in the fleet. Commenting on her crew's victory, she said:

"It's very exciting to be the first all-female crew to win a regatta around the world. This is a historic moment. The girls have worked really hard for this and we are very proud of our achievement. It was a pleasure to meet the other crews and we will miss them. It was an incredible Ocean Globe Race. "Maiden won't be there next time, but I will."

Heather Thomas had said from the start that her crew was in it to win it. She then consistently stayed in the top half of the rankings, often sailing ahead of the leaders.

On the first leg to Cape Town, they arrived in third place and finished third in the IRC classification. On the second leg to New Zealand, they arrived in fourth place and finished fourth in the IRC classification. On the third leg to Punta del Este, they were the second boat to arrive and finished fourth in the IRC classification. Compared to the other yachts in the classification, this was enough to win overall.

International crew on a historic yacht

The "Maiden" crew is an international mix of sailors from Great Britain, Antigua, the USA, South Africa, France and Afghanistan. "We work so well together. Everyone brings something to the team, without which we wouldn't have achieved this."

This is not the first time the boat has sailed around the world. The 58-foot yacht designed by Bruce Farr with an aluminium hull came fourth in the 1981/82 Whitbread Race, at that time under the name "Disque D'Or 3". She was renamed "Stabilo Boss" for the 1986-87 BOC single-handed regatta and finished seventh. In 1987, she was bought by Tracy Edwards, who sailed around the world with an all-female crew in the 1989 Whitbread and shook up the sailing world.

The renewed triumph of the boat and crew will be honoured at the final award ceremony of the Ocean Globe Race. However, this will not take place until 21 June 2024 in Rome. There are currently seven ships still at sea in the Ocean Globe Race, sailing towards the finish line.

This might also interest you:

  • Boat portrait of the "Maiden" - circumnavigation with a mission
  • Interview on the Ocean Globe Race: "Incredibly intense time"
  • Knowledge for circumnavigators: six books explain how it's done

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Queen Camilla hails 'brilliant' all-female sailing crew at Clarence House reception

The queen hosted the crew of the maiden at a special reception.

Emily Nash

The Queen hailed the record-breaking crew of The Maiden as “brilliant” as she welcomed them to Clarence House to celebrate their unprecedented victory in the Ocean Globe Race.

They became the first ever all-female crew to win an around-the-world yacht race, setting sail last September and crossing the finish line on April 16 after spending 153 days at sea and raising funds and awareness for girls’ education.

Thanking them for coming, Her Majesty said:  "I think you are doing a brilliant job. Keep on doing it, it’s really important."

As she greeted veteran sailor Tracy Edwards, who founded The Maiden Factor, which promotes girls’ education through the Yacht, Camilla said: "You’ve brought the warm weather with you. It’s rather warmer than Scotland, where I’ve just come from, which was absolutely freezing!"

Before the crew set sail last year, the Queen sent a message to say: "You are all much in my thoughts today, as you cross the start line of the Ocean Globe Race for Maiden’s final race. I do hope that each one of you is proud to be part of such a special crew, bringing Messages of Hope to girls across the world. I wish you fair winds and following seas! - Camilla R."

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Today, as they gathered at the King and Queen’s London residence over tea, sandwiches, cake and Champagne, the crew were introduced to Her Majesty, who joked that "everybody looks younger and younger."

Hailing the winning crew’s skipper Heather Thomas, Tracy told the Queen: "She's happy, she has a glass of Champagne in her hand."

“Quite right!” replied Camilla.

Turning to Heather, 27, she said: “You are a very young skipper!” 

"I'm the same age that Tracy was when she did the race."

The crew’s success comes three decades after celebrated yachtswoman Tracy and her all-female crew finished second in the 1989 to 90 Whitbread Round the World Race aboard the 58ft Maiden, becoming the first all-female team to take part in an around-the-world race.

Queen Camilla and Tracy Edwards MBE

Asked by the Queen how she became a sailor, Heather replied: “I used to sail dinghies with my dad and then..."

"A bit of a bigger Dinghy!" joked the Queen

Heather went on: "I come from Yorkshire, we’re pretty landlocked. I went on a boat called James Cook which is run by the Ocean’s Trust up in Newcastle and takes disadvantaged kids on trips in the North East and I loved it. I came back and volunteered and at 18 I decided that’s what I wanted to do."

The 2023-24 retro-style race, which took place 50 years after the 1973 Whitbread Round the World Race, saw the crew ditch computers, GPS, and other high-tech tools for sextants and paper charts.

 Queen Camilla pose for a pic with members of the current Maiden Yachting Crew

The Queen giggled as she was told how crew members were allowed to play cassette tapes during the voyage and had to be shown how to re-spool tape using a pencil.

"You learned a lot of new skills!" she laughed.

Sailors on board 14 boats raced over four legs across 27,000 nautical miles, taking in stops in South Africa, New Zealand and Uruguay. This year's crew was waved off by Tracy as the most diverse professional sailing crew ever to sail the world.

Members come from the UK, Antigua, USA, South Africa, Puerto Rico, Italy, France and Afghanistan and include the first Black and Middle Eastern female crew members to take part in such a race.

The Queen was introduced to Najiba Noori, a former AFP camerawoman who fled Afghanistan nearly three years ago and was recruited to film aboard the Maiden during the race.

She told Camilla: "I grew up in the mountains, I had never been at sea."

Speaking afterwards, she said: "It was a little bit scary, especially when there were big waves and wind, but slowly, slowly, it was okay.”

She said of her escape from the Taliban: "The day I left Afghanistan, that was the toughest day of my life and the toughest decision I’ve made. I had just five minutes to decide should I leave or stay. But I knew that if I stayed I would be a prisoner."

Queen Camilla Hosts 'Maiden' Yachting Crew

Najiba, who now lives in France, said of her meeting with the Queen: "I would never imagine to sail around the world and.. win the race and after that to meet the Queen. It was very nice to talk to her and tell her a little bit of my story.

"She told me 'It’s very important that you were part of this race', sailing on Maiden, which has a very important message for the world about girls’ education. That was the reason that I decided that I wanted to do this race for the women and girls of Afghanistan."

Najiba, who celebrated her 29 th birthday at sea, added: "I decided to do it just to bring a little bit of hope for the girls and for the women of my country."

The Maiden was repurposed in 2018 to raise funds and awareness around girls’ education and the-then Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visited her, accompanied by Princess Haya of Jordan, whose father King Abdullah funded the yacht and who helped to fund its refurbishment.

The Queen met 13 crew members and another six on-shore team members, along with Tracy. They included three other members of the original 1989 to 90 team – Marie-Claude Heys, former First Mate for training, Sally Hunter, crew member and Howard Gibbons, who served as an on-shore project manager.

Before leaving, Tracy presented the Queen with a framed, gift-wrapped photograph of The Maiden, which features a spinnaker designed by school girls and hand-painted by the crew and bearing the words: "Respect, Peace, Dignity."

The Queen with members of the original Maiden Yachting Crew

Speaking afterwards, Tracy said: "It’s the perfect bookend to the project we've just done. Her Majesty Queen Camilla actually launched Maiden in September 2018. Since then we’ve been around the world twice, had a pandemic and raced around the world with a new young all female crew – the most diverse female crew that's ever been on a professional sailing team. And they have become the first all-female crew to win an around the world. And then she's invited us here today. It's the perfect circle."

Tracy said of the Maiden’s victory: “For me it's the end of a 45 year fight for the equality of women within sailing sports generally."

She said of the diverse crew: "Sailing is described as male, pale and stale. So with maiden in 1989 we dealt with the male and stale bit, we didn't deal with the pale bit."

She went on: "When Whoopi Goldberg became our patron, she looked me square in the eye and when she went, 'Change it', I went, 'Ok!' So we did.” She said it was vital to keep the sport “evolving”, adding “we’ve got to keep changing our sport or it will die."

She said of Queen Camilla: "We are so lucky to have her as our Queen. I remember meeting her when she launched Maiden and she was talking about the empowerment of women. I don’t think people realise how much she does in that sphere."

Asked about Najiba's story, Tracy said: "We wanted to highlight what was going on in Afghanistan. 130 million girls didn’t have an education before the pandemic and the Taliban… that number has increased."

Skipper Heather Thomas described the Queen's support as "massively important," adding: "We're a British vessel, we've got a lot of history in this country so to have the support of the monarchy is really important to us."

She said: "It was amazing to bring the team and to show them off to the Queen and to get them to see the Queen and be recognised for what they've done."

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all female round the world yacht crew

The Female Lead

all female round the world yacht crew

Camilla hails ‘brilliant’ all-female yacht crew who won round-the-world race

The crew of the maiden won the ocean globe race earlier this month..

all female round the world yacht crew

The Queen has praised a group of yachtswomen for their “brilliant” win in a global race that broke diversity barriers.

Camilla welcomed to her Clarence House home the crew of the Maiden, who became the first all-female outfit to triumph in a round-the-world yacht challenge when they won the Ocean Globe Race earlier this month.

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“You’re doing a brilliant job, keep on doing it – that’s really important,” the Queen told the women, who are part of a project promoting the education of women and girls.

Royal reception for Maiden yachting crew

Heather Thomas, from Otley, West Yorkshire, captained Maiden to victory as the vessel raced for 153 days and crossed the finish line on April 16 at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, Isle of Wight.

She said after the champagne reception: “It was incredible after we’d found out we’d won.

“It’s a pretty historic moment for women’s sailing, I’m really happy with the result, the girls all worked really hard for it – so we’re proud of ourselves.”

The winning yacht was sailed by an international crew that included African, Caribbean and Middle Eastern women alongside others from the UK and Costa Rica.

Royal reception for Maiden yachting crew

Maiden was the brainchild of veteran yachtswoman Tracy Edwards, who skippered the boat during the 1989-90 Whitbread global yacht race with an all-female crew, before resurrecting the vessel as part of the Maiden Factor Foundation.

Ms Edwards, the founder and director of the foundation dedicated to the education of women and girls, said the organisation’s patron Whoopi Goldberg had challenged her to find a diverse crew.

She said: “For me this is the end of a 45-year fight for the equality of women within sailing and sport generally and actually women’s empowerment.

“Sailing is described as male, pale and stale. So with Maiden in 1989 we dealt with male and the stale bit, we didn’t deal with the pale bit.

Ocean Globe Race

“And when Whoopi Goldberg became our patron, she looked me square in the eye, and when she went ‘change it’. I went ‘OK’ so we did. So we put this incredible crew together because we want to change the face of sailing.”

The 2023-24 Ocean Globe Race, which marked the 50th anniversary of the first edition of the Whitbread round-the-world race, featured 14 boats representing eight countries.

The yachts raced over four legs, travelling from Cowes to Cape Town, Auckland and Punta del Este, Uruguay, before returning to the UK.

all female round the world yacht crew

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all female round the world yacht crew

IMAGES

  1. With An All-Female Crew, 'Maiden' Sailed Around The World And Into

    all female round the world yacht crew

  2. Interview with Tracy Edwards, Skipper of 1st All-Female Yacht Racing

    all female round the world yacht crew

  3. The Glass Sailing: "Maiden" recounts the first all-female crew for the

    all female round the world yacht crew

  4. Tracy Edwards and her 1990 Whitbread Round the World Race crew mark

    all female round the world yacht crew

  5. Record-breaking female yacht crew reunite after 30 years

    all female round the world yacht crew

  6. With An All-Female Crew, 'Maiden' Sailed Around The World And Into

    all female round the world yacht crew

COMMENTS

  1. 'Maiden' Documentary Tracks All-Female Crew Who 'Sailed Into The ...

    In 1989, Edwards, then 26-years-old, assembled an all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race. The idea was unthinkable to many of the men in the world of yacht-racing, and ...

  2. Record-breaking all-female 'Maiden' crew reunites after 30 years

    Related Articles Maiden wins the Ocean Globe Race 2023-2024 First all-female crew to win a Round the World Race On Tuesday 16 April 2024, in a brisk northerly breeze the iconic yacht and her young all female crew from around the world crossed the finishing line at 1152hrs completing the 4th and final leg of the Ocean Globe Race. Posted on 22 Apr Maiden comes full circle!

  3. The crew of Maiden makes history again by becoming the first all-female

    The former Whitbread yacht, sailed by an all-female international crew has taken the coveted title after 153d 2h 16m 53s of racing around the world. Virtually none of the crew had previously faced such an epic challenge and only one had sailed in the Southern Ocean before. Maiden came second in ...

  4. Queen hails 'brilliant' all-female yacht crew after round-the-world

    Maiden was the brainchild of veteran yachtswoman Tracy Edwards, who skippered the boat during the 1989-90 Whitbread global yacht race with an all-female crew. The 58-foot yacht had been abandoned ...

  5. First All-Female Crew To Sail Around The World: Tracy Edwards And

    So when everybody told her that sailing around the world with an all-female crew was a bad idea, it only spurred her on. Edward's technical virtuosity combined with true grit and dogged determination helped the all-female crew to win two legs and come second in their class in the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race; the best result for a ...

  6. 'Maiden': Groundbreaking 1989 Sailing Race For All-Female Crew

    A new documentary tells the story of the first all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World sailing race in 1989. The crew was led by a 24-year-old and the boat was called Maiden.

  7. Ocean Globe Race

    In 1989, Tracy Edwards skippered the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, becoming the first woman to receive the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy. At 11am on September 2, 1989, Maiden approached the start line for the Whitbread Round the World Race.

  8. "Maiden" the first ever all-female crew to sail around the world

    "Maiden" is the true story of sailing captain Tracy Edwards who created the first all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Race around the world. Captain Edwar...

  9. The Queen hosted the 'Maiden' yacht crew at Clarence House

    Published 29 April 2024. The Queen hosted the 'Maiden' yacht crew to congratulate them on their unprecedented win of the Ocean Globe Race, becoming the first ever all-female crew to win an around-the-world yacht race, at Clarence House. The 2023-24 Ocean Globe Race (OGR) is a fully crewed, retro race, in the spirit of the 1973 Whitbread ...

  10. With An All-Female Crew, 'Maiden' Sailed Around The World And Into History

    In 1989, Edwards, then 26-years-old, assembled an all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race. The idea was unthinkable to many of the men in the world of yacht-racing, and ...

  11. Maiden's all-female crew win the Ocean Globe Race

    Maiden has beaten 14 teams to win the Ocean Globe Race on IRC handicap, becoming the first ever all-women crew to win an around-the-world yacht race, it was confirmed early on Monday 22 April 2024. The international all-female crew crossed the finish line at the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes at 1052 UTC on 16 April, having sailed 6599 miles from ...

  12. Maiden wins Ocean Globe Race with all-female crew

    All images courtesy of Kaia Bint Savage. Sailing yacht Maiden has won the Ocean Globe Race 2023-2024, smashing numerous records in the process, including becoming the first all-female crew to win a round-the-world race. On Tuesday, 16 April 2024, in a brisk northerly breeze, the yacht and its young, international crew crossed the finishing line ...

  13. Camilla hails 'brilliant' all-female yacht crew who won round-the-world

    Maiden was the brainchild of veteran yachtswoman Tracy Edwards, who skippered the boat during the 1989-90 Whitbread global yacht race with an all-female crew, before resurrecting the vessel as ...

  14. With An All-Female Crew, 'Maiden' Sailed Around The World And Into

    The remarkable story of the first all-female crew to compete in an around-the world sailing race. In 1989, 26 year old skipper Tracy Edwards set out on what was an unthinkable journey for a woman - to sail the 33,000 mile Whitbread Around the World Race. Her story and that of her crew is told in the documentary 'Maiden.'

  15. Tracy Edwards

    Tracy Edwards, MBE (born 5 September 1962) is a British sailor. In 1989 she skippered the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, becoming the first woman to receive the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy and was appointed MBE. She has written two books about her experiences.

  16. Maiden crosses Ocean Globe Race finish off Cowes

    BBC News, Southampton. British yacht Maiden has crossed the finish line off Cowes after a 27,000-mile race around the globe. Maiden and the crew of 12 women powered towards the finish line off the ...

  17. Ocean Globe Race

    Maiden 's Win is official! Maiden UK (03) has won the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race taking first in IRC rankings and the first ever all-women crew to win an around the world yacht race! The international all-female crew crossed the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes finish line at 10:52 UTC, 16th April having sailed 6599 nm from Punta del Este on leg 4 ...

  18. Women's crew on "Maiden" wins the race around the world

    The former Whitbread yacht "Maiden", with the only female crew in the Ocean Globe Race, sailed for a total of 153 days, two hours, 16 minutes and 53 seconds. ... In 1987, she was bought by Tracy Edwards, who sailed around the world with an all-female crew in the 1989 Whitbread and shook up the sailing world.

  19. Maiden (yacht)

    Maiden is a 58 foot (18 m) aluminium ocean racing yacht built in 1979, designed by Bruce Farr and raced by Pierre Fehlmann, Bertie Reed, Tracy Edwards and John Bankart. Edwards bought the yacht in 1987 to compete in the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race with an all-female crew. The yacht achieved good results and broke records, leading to Edwards becoming the first female winner of the ...

  20. Camilla hails 'brilliant' all-female yacht crew who won round-the-world

    The winning yacht was sailed by an international crew that included African, Caribbean and Middle Eastern women alongside others from the UK and Costa Rica. Maiden was the brainchild of veteran yachtswoman Tracy Edwards, who skippered the boat during the 1989-90 Whitbread global yacht race with an all-female crew, before resurrecting the vessel ...

  21. Maiden and her new all-female crew set sail on their new three-year

    Related Articles Maiden wins the Ocean Globe Race 2023-2024 First all-female crew to win a Round the World Race On Tuesday 16 April 2024, in a brisk northerly breeze the iconic yacht and her young all female crew from around the world crossed the finishing line at 1152hrs completing the 4th and final leg of the Ocean Globe Race. Posted on 22 Apr Maiden comes full circle!

  22. Queen Camilla hails 'brilliant' all-female sailing crew at special

    They became the first ever all-female crew to win an around-the-world yacht race, setting sail last September and crossing the finish line on April 16 after spending 153 days at sea and raising ...

  23. Camilla hails 'brilliant' all-female yacht crew who won round-the-world

    The Queen has praised a group of yachtswomen for their "brilliant" win in a global race that broke diversity barriers. Camilla welcomed to her Clarence House home the crew of the Maiden, who became the first all-female outfit to triumph in a round-the-world yacht challenge when they won the Ocean Globe Race earlier this month.

  24. Crew revealed for Canada's AC teams >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

    Following the publication of the AC37 Protocol and AC75 Class Rule on November 17, 2021, the AC75 Class Rule and AC Technical Regulations were finalized on March 17, 2022.The entry period opened ...

  25. Bravery award for lifeboatman who battled hurricane conditions to save crew

    Their vessel was launched from RNLI Penlee, Cornwall, at 8.30pm to rush to the aid of a 40ft sailing yacht that was disabled two miles off Porthleven. The crew battled through winds of up to 87 knots, waves of six to seven metres and poor visibility to rescue the stranded crew who were taking on water and on a collision course with rocks.