In 1989 Tracy Edwards MBE, skippered the first all female crew in The Whitbread Round The World Race, becoming the first woman to receive the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy. The yacht Maiden, is to be brought back to the UK, pending fundraising, for girls education charities across the world. Tracy is also the author of several books.
Q: What drove you then when you sailed round the world and what drives you now, and what have you learnt in between?
A: Very good question. Two totally different reasons, the first time I did it, I raced round the world with 17 men, a very boisterous smelly experience! Then I thought, a bunch of girls have never sailed round the world, I wonder if that’s possible? I didn't set out to prove anything, I wasn't a feminist. I just thought lets see if we can do it.
The first person said that’s ridiculous, girls can’t do that. When I heard that, I knew that was the first part of getting to know myself. I didn't know I was like that until I was! I then took on the entire Yachting establishment - a 22 year old rebel.
The reason I'm doing this now is very different because I know I am a feminist, and with everything thrown at me the last 30 years, I am very clear that I am about empowering girls and about proving that women can do whatever men do.
Q: What are you doing about Maiden, the Charity and how we can get involved to help.
A: We are rescuing our old boat Maiden which carried us safely round the world for 9 months and still holds the best result for a British boat in the Whitbread since 1977, even with a bunch of girls on her! We are rescuing her from the Indian Ocean, bringing her back to the UK and restoring her to her former beautiful self and then we will be using her to fundraise for small charities which facilitate the education of girls who do not currently have that basic human right.
Q: How would you like to change things, what would make a difference.
A: I think the solution to all the worlds problems are to educate every girl on the planet. There is a new study out by UN Women, which quantifies what we already knew, that puts it into facts and figures and statistics; absolutely incredible, if you educated the 69 million girls in the world who do not have an education, you would reduce forced marriage, reduce infant mortality, reduce the spread of AIDS and HIV, you would increase the socio-economic status of every single community to which those girls belong, and they have actually proved you increase the happiness of communities where girls are educated. So health, crime, education, every modern issue we face today, I think could be solved by educating every girl on the planet, and if I can claim just a tiny part of doing that, that’s what I want to do with the rest of my life.
Thank you Tracy, what a truly inspirational woman you are.
You can go onto the website: The Maiden Factor.org to donate to the restoration of Maiden or the charity directly which ensures every penny, 100% goes to the girls charities Tracy works with. More information can be found on the website if you wish to donate or find out more about Maidens voyage back home. Some of the charities involve include The United Nations Foundation for Girls, Just A Drop, Their World. Or if you would like to ask Tracy any questions, please contact me.