In 1990, Maiden became the first ocean racing yacht with an all-female crew to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race, finishing second in class overall.
Twenty eight years later, in November 2018, skipper Tracy Edwards watched as Maiden left Southampton at the start of another voyage around the world.
This time the aim to not to make world records but to promote equality of access to education for girls from all backgrounds and countries, and to raise funds to help young women realise their full potential. The Maiden Factor campaign will see a rotating all-female crew sailing to 23 destinations in 13 countries over two years, flying the flag for girls’ education, working with local charities, and supporting community-led educational projects.
On the dock at each stopover, a Message of Hope baton started by girls in the UK is being handed to female students from a chosen school, who will add their own messages of solidarity to be passed on. Girls are also making colourful handprints on Maiden’s sail.
As Connectivity Partner to the Maiden Factor, Inmarsat is providing a FleetBroadband 250 antenna for seamless voice and broadband data communications to enable the crew to blog and update social media throughout the journey, as well as receive the latest weather updates and navigation charts. It is accessed via our award-winning L-band network, which provides 99.9% availability in all weather across the world’s oceans.
The yacht is also equipped with our Global Maritime Distress and Safety System-approved Inmarsat C service to provide all-important safety services, along with two IsatPhone 2 satellite phones stowed in the lifeboat’s grab bag in case of an emergency.
In 2014 Tracy discovered the boat that had made history for women’s sailing and made her a household name had been left to rot in the Seychelles. She founded The Maiden Factor to raise money to rescue Maiden and bring her home to the UK to be restored, but then decided to tie the project in to her work with small education charities around the world by taking the iconic 58ft (18m) yacht around the world for a second time, championing the cause of equal access to schooling for girls.
The Maiden Factor is supported by HRH Princess Haya of Jordan, continuing the legacy of her late father, King Hussein I, who sponsored the refitting of Maiden for Tracy’s triumphant 1989/90 Whitbread race.
For details of The Maiden Factor itinerary and opportunities to get involved, visit www.themaidenfactor.org.