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Hyde Sails 2017 Dinghy Show

Tracy Edwards to sail the seas with men on Maiden for the very first time!

by Libby Mudditt 14 Jan 05:00 PST
Maiden finishing in Southampton in 1990 © Jordan Tourism Board

Maiden, the legendary yacht best known for competing in the Whitbread Round the World race in 1989/1990 skippered by Tracy Edwards MBE with the race's first ever all-female crew, will sail on her next adventure with men on board as part of the 'guest' crew. The three-year world tour will begin in the late summer of 2018 with 30 stopovers in 18 countries, promoting and raising money for education for girls worldwide. The 'guest' crew places for sale will generate funds for The Maiden Factor Foundation which works with charities focusing on girls' education initiatives.

When Tracy was struggling to get to the start of the line of the 1989/1990 Whitbread Round the World Race, she had met HM the Late King Hussein of Jordan, who believed in her and told her that 'with faith, honour and courage anything is possible'. Tracy wrote those words on a piece of paper and kept them with her to remind herself that she could do it. HM King Hussein was instrumental in the success of Maiden, and in honour and memory of a great man, the first stopover of the world tour will be Aqaba in Jordan with Tracy at the helm.

Now it's HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, HM King Hussein's daughter, who is carrying on His legacy by facilitating Maiden's three-year round the world voyage which begins later this year.

"My father met Tracy Edwards 32 years ago and asked her what her dream was. She told him it was to sail an all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Race, but whilst she believed it was possible, many others did not." said HRH Princess Haya. "He realised that she had all that it takes, and that it was a hugely important stance for women and tangible proof of what women could achieve. Not only did he sponsor Maiden, he adopted the crew and the cause, with them delivering beyond all expectations." Tracy has inspired a generation and continues to fight for gender equality and the rights of women and girls. After Maiden was rescued and returned to the UK in April 2017, she founded The Maiden Factor, a not-for-profit organisation working with and fundraising for partner charities that help provide girls – currently denied this basic human right – access to or further their education.

Reflecting the broad support for the cause and in the true spirit of equality, Maiden's historically all-women crew is now open to men for the very first time.

Announced at the 2018 London Boat Show by Tracy in the 'Legends Theatre', men (and women), will be able to apply to be one of the 'guest' crew on a leg of the world tour, sending a strong message that men and women must stand together and fight for equality for all. Demand for participation in this unique adventure, which will spread the message that every girl has potential and the right to an education, is already growing rapidly. The application process will be available on www.themaidenfactor.org from March 2018.

"We believe that now is the time for men and women to join forces and work together to combat inequality in all walks of life," said Tracy Edwards MBE, Founder of the Maiden Factor. "There are so many men and women who want to help us break down barriers that stop girls getting to school and raising funds for girls' education is such a positive message in today's climate."

Tracy Edwards continued: "The journey takes on so much personal significance as we seek to continue to deliver the legacy of HM King Hussein of Jordan and his daughter, HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein. None of this would have been possible without their vision, endeavour and unwavering support. I am humbled to be part of this journey and compelling cause."

HRH Princess Haya continues to support unique projects like this one and people, like Tracy, who is known for being determined to break boundaries.

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