Back in 1990, I happened to be in the right place at the right time. I was in Ocean Village, Southampton, visiting both my dad and the Whitbread Festival and who should arrive but Tracy Edwards and the inspirational, all female, Maiden team. I can honestly remember the feeling of pride that these women could achieve such an amazing challenge and prove all the critics wrong.
Little did I know, 32 years later I’d be sailing on Maiden myself AND planning to circumnavigate the globe, following their footsteps, and taking part in a race which will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the first Whitbread Race, back in 1973. We also have some inspirational women on board within our team Spirit of Adelaide but race rules this time dictate that all teams taking part must have a mixed crew. So if Maiden do decide to take part, there will be at least one lucky man on board!
I’ve never been much of a female activist, but this past week has made me realise just how many great female sailors are out there, and I’m sure many of whom have been inspired by the original crew of Maiden. I’m lucky enough to have been mentored in the past by Wendy Tuck, have met Ellen MacCarthur when sailing with an all-female crew in the Round the Island Race and I’ve lately been following the edifying Pip Hare. Now, having met fellow full time crew members such as Ami, Heather and Erica on board and learning from our wonderful, patient and informative Skipper Sharon, I feel in good, no great, company.
For me, the Full Circle is almost complete but with the best bit yet to come. I look forward to arriving home in April 2024, having completed just an ounce of what Tracy and Sharon have achieved over the years, and to know just what it feels like to complete an Ocean Globe Race.