In the twenty third episode of season three of the Her Spirit podcast BBC Breakfast Louise Minchin and BBC Triathlon presenter Annie Emmerson talk to sailor Tracy Edwards MBE.
Tracy was expelled from school at the age of 15 and with no exams or qualifications she left to travel the world. She began working on charter yachts in Greece at the age of 17 and learned how to sail. Tracy took part in her first Whitbread Round the World Race as cook aboard ‘Atlantic Privateer’ in 1985/86 becoming the first woman to race around the world on a Maxi.
Upon completion she decided to enter the first all-female crew in the 1989/90 Whitbread and ‘Maiden’ crossed the start line on 2nd Sept 1989 and sailed into the history books. ‘Maiden’ went on to win two of the legs and came second in class overall. The best result for a British boat since 1977 and the best result for an all-female crew ever. Tracy was awarded the MBE and became the first woman in its 34 year history to be awarded the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy.
In 1998 Tracy put together the first all-female crew to race a Multihull, this time in an attempt to be the first all-female crew to sail around the world non-stop and win the Jules V erne Trophy for the fastest non-stop circumnavigation of the world by sail. Sponsored by Royal & SunAlliance, the women had broken five world records and were well on the way to beating the Jules Verne, when their 92ft catamaran was dismasted 2000 miles off the coast of Chile.
In 2002, Edwards created the first ever truly mixed gender team and broke four major world records in Maiden II.
In October 2003 she signed a sponsorship deal with the Gulf State of Qatar as part of a four year sailing programme. The Oryx Quest 2005 was the first round the world race to start and finish in the Middle East. The worlds’ four largest and fastest multihulls raced against each other for the first time in sailing history. The event ended with non-payment by Qatar.
In 2007 and 2008 Tracy worked for CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) as Project Manager for their International Youth Advisory Conference. Working with the UN she assisted in the creation of the 2009 Resolution to the UNCRC. Upon completion of her contract Tracy enrolled at Roehampton University taking a 3 year degree in Psychology and graduating with an upper 2:1
In March 2013 Tracy founded Safer World Training Ltd which spent 2 years researching the impact of Online Reputation, Sexting and Cyber Bullying upon young people.
Tracy founded The Maiden Factor in the process of rescuing her beloved yacht Maiden. In 2016 she decided she wanted to do more than just restore Maiden, she also wanted to make sure she was used for something special. Tracy is Patron of, fundraises for and supports a number of small but effective charities who facilitate the education of girls around the globe. Once restored she will sail around the world raising funds for girls’ education. For Tracy, the drive to get girls who are currently denied the basic right of an education into school, is particularly poignant as she was expelled from school at 15. She now knows what she gave away.
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