Anything Is Possible

Maiden's restoration and global campaign is being made possible by HRH Princess Haya of Jordan in memory of Her father King Hussein I

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Educate a Girl - Change the World

Empower/teach/mentor girls, promote, facilitate, lobby for or provide solutions which enable the education of girls not currently afforded that basic human right.

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Maiden is now on her World Tour.

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The Story so far...

The 58ft Maiden began life in 1979 as DISQUE D'OR 3 on the design table of the talented and prolific boat designer Bruce Farr. The commission for the design came from the Swiss Ocean Racing Club and called for a lightish displacement, easily handled, ocean racing yacht for long passage races including the 1981-82 Whitbread Round the World Race. The yacht - DISQUE D'OR 3 - was skippered by Pierre Fehlmann, one of Switzerland's best known all-round yachtsmen, who had also competed in the previous Whitbread Round the World Race. DISQUE D'OR 3 finished 4th overall in the 1981-82 Whitbread race.

In 1986 a young cook and the only girl on the South African boat Atlantic Privateer was rounding Cape Horn in the 85/86 Whitbread Round the World Race. Out in the icy wastes of the Southern Ocean there was one other boat rounding the Horn sailed by legendary single handed sailor Bertie Reed on his 58ft Bruce Farr designed Stabilo Boss as they raced in the BOC Single Handed Round the World Race. Reed had bought Disque D’or 3 and renamed her after his sponsor. Tracy Edwards was the young cook, and as they spoke on the radio to Bertie, she could not have had any idea that just three years later she would be crossing the start line in that very boat to be renamed Maiden. After the BOC, Stabilo Boss was renamed Prestige and languished in Cape Town all but forgotten.

Tracy finished the 85/86 WRTWR and knew she wanted to go round again but this time with an all-female crew! The 'Maiden Great Britain' project was born. The initial announcement of an all-female crew was greeted with varying amounts of disbelief from the racing world but Tracy and her team set about raising the funds and putting a crew together. Based in Hamble, their initial idea was a Tony Castro designed yacht but it took so long to raise the funding that idea was scrapped. In 1987 Tracy mortgaged her house to buy a “wreck with a pedigree”. Prestige was put on a ship and brought to Southampton in England where she was unloaded into the water watched by a sceptical crowd! Motoring Prestige up river to Hamble marina she began to sink but after much frantic bailing she arrived to the cheers of the Maiden crew.

Over the next six months Tracy and her team redesigned Maiden, ripped her apart and rebuilt her. In September 1988 HRH The Duchess of York graciously ‘christened’ Maiden and went sailing with the girls. Maiden had found a Godmother. Sponsorship for the girls eventually came from King Hussein I of Jordan and she was painted in the livery of the planes; the famous grey hull with its red and gold lines would become an icon of the race.

Maiden and the girls entered her first race in December 1988. She won the Route of Discovery Race from Cadiz to Santa Domingo beating all the other Whitbread boats, including Pierre Fehlmann’s UBS!!

At 11am on 2nd September 1989 Maiden squared up on the start line of the Whitbread Round the World Race. The girls waved goodbye to their Godmother and as the gun resounded around the Solent set off amongst the 22 strong fleet to race the first leg to Uruguay. And the rest, as they say, is history! Maiden came 3rd in her class on that leg and although the girls were disappointed, the yachting press was amazed they had got there!!

After a three week stopover they took on the 7,300 mile marathon from Uruguay, through the treacherous South Ocean to Australia. They went further south than the other boats in their class, survived icebergs, 30 degree below freezing temperatures, frostbite, contaminated gas and no satellite signal for 9 days. Two men from competitor yacht, Creightons Naturally, went overboard and although both were retrieved Anthony Phillips could not be resuscitated, however Bart van den Dwey was still alive although suffering from salt ingestion and hypothermia. Doctor Claire Russell stayed on Maiden’s radio for two days giving advice on how to keep him alive.

Despite the ferocity of the leg, Maiden sailed into Perth, Australia ten days later she was a full 24 hours ahead of her nearest rival and a proud Tracy and her team were presented with the Beefeater Trophy. Jaws in the sailing world dropped!!

A well-earned rest in Perth was followed by a short hop of 14 days across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand during which they celebrated Christmas Day. Maiden also won this leg, extending her lead to 28 hours overall. In New Zealand, Maiden had a thorough overhaul, the mast repaired and rigging checked before the next Southern Ocean leg, round Cape Horn to Uruguay. It was another tough leg and Maiden lost her overall lead when she nearly sank rounding Cape Horn! She limped to Uruguay where her Godmother The Duchess of York welcomed them. The girls then spent a wonderful day with her mother, Susan Barrantes at her Polo ranch in Argentina.

The leg to Ft Lauderdale in Florida was not a happy one unfortunately with Maiden coming in third place but a trip to Disneyland cheered the crew up.

Maiden set off on her final leg to Southampton. After surviving a tornado and the final five days with no food, the girls arrived home to a rapturous welcome. Their final position was 2nd place overall in their class; the best result for a British boat in 17 years and unbeaten to this day.

Maiden was sold and the girls scattered to the four corners of the earth. 27 years later, Maiden is coming home to the UK.

How It All Began

His Majesty King Hussein I – the man who changed my life forever

By Tracy Edwards MBE

In 1985 I was a humble stewardess on charter yachts working wherever they took me drifting from place to place. My teenage years had not been happy and sailing quite literally saved me when I left home at the age of 16 and back packed to Greece. Once there I got a job on my first boat and five years later after many adventures I found myself day working in Newport Rhode Island. This meant staying wherever I could and finding work on a daily basis; sanding, varnishing, painting, cleaning bilges. You name it, I did it! Anything to survive.

One morning I was awakened by the phone ringing in the house in which I was staying. Rolling over, I looked at the clock and saw it was 6am. I groaned before answering and putting the phone to my ear heard the familiar happy and very loud voice of my friend Whitey, skipper of a beautiful ketch called Excalibur. “Hey, I have a job for you but you have to be down at the dock in an hour.” I snuggled deeper under the covers. “I was going to take a day off mate” I said. “But, I need you” pleaded Whitey “I have a charter with someone very important, so important I’m not even allowed to know who they are. I need a stewardess. Please!” I knew I was going resistance was futile and Whitey gave me as many details as he could.

When we reached Martha’s Vineyard we had gone through every possible guess of who they could be, from Ted Kennedy to Bob Dylan! We tied up to the end of the dock and as we did so spotted a crowd of people which turned out to be Police, Coast Guards and some shady dudes in suits and dark glasses. As soon as we were settled they all marched down the dock towards us and I noticed they also had sniffer dogs with them. It was quite overwhelming but they were friendly and polite. They told us they were there to make sure the boat was safe and indicated that we should go and get some dinner whilst they worked. They also told us there would be a guard overnight and divers and helicopters in the morning.

Whitey and I looked at each other in amazement. Who the heck were our guests?! We showed the Officer in charge where everything was and beetled off to eat dinner at the nearest restaurant. Returning later that evening we turned in for the night with an armed guard on deck. It was, to say the least, surreal.

The next morning we were up early but, as it turned out, not as early as the divers who were already checking the hull under the water line. At 10am a Coast Guard cutter arrived and we spotted a helicopter in the air. Down the dock came a group of people with more Police. It looked like two couples and I have to admit to my everlasting shame that I had no idea who they were. I was a rebellious 21 year old who had been at sea for four years and hadn’t looked at the news or a newspaper in all that time. As they got closer Whitey breathed, “That’s King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan.” Obviously now I knew who they were but not much more than that. With them were the King’s brother Prince Hassan and Queen Noor’s sister.

We welcomed them on board and settled them on deck whilst the Officers helped us throw off the lines and we were off for our day sail. Almost from the first moment Prince Hassan was on the wheel wearing a captain’s hat. No-one else stood a chance. They were all in good spirits and the gorgeous weather helped us have a really great day. We knew we had to drop them off at Martha’s Vineyard at 4pm so we made the most of the time available.

I served lunch on deck at 1pm and everyone was relaxed and chatting. There was a real warmth to the group and they were not in the least dismissive like some guests can be. It turned out that they had been to the graduation ceremony of King Hussein’s son Prince Abdullah and this was a well-deserved day off before they returned to Jordan. After lunch, I took everything below and started washing up before repacking the hampers to be returned to Goat Island. As I washed dishes I sensed someone standing beside me and looking up realised it was King Hussein. He smiled his wonderful smile which little did I know then would become very familiar to me.

Then, without warning, he picked up a t-towel and started drying up. “You can’t do that!” I said “I can do anything I want. I am King!” he replied quick as a flash. We laughed and chatted away and he wanted to know everything about me. I was to discover through the following years of our friendship that the King was a ‘people collector’. He loved human beings of every class, colour, creed, religion and nationality. He was fascinated with my nomadic lifestyle and likened me to a Bedouin. Years later I was to learn the respect and affection in which King Hussein was held by the Bedouins and what a compliment that was.

I told him of my life at sea and my plans to do the 1985/86 Whitbread Round the World Race as one of a small handful of women. Again, he was absorbed and I couldn’t help but wonder at how special this man was. We talked about his passion for Ham Radio and the people around the world he kept in touch with and my fascination with navigation which also touched a nerve as he explained his love of flying. An hour flew by and before I knew it Whitey was shouting for me to come and help take the sails down. Before we went on deck King Hussein handed me his phone number, telex number and address. “I would love to hear how the race goes and if you ever need anything please call me.” I couldn’t quite believe it but gave him my home number as well. I shoved the piece of paper he had given me in my pocket and we went on deck where the King helped me furl the mainsail whilst Prince Hassan took the headsail in.

We motored into the dock with accompanying helicopters and Coast Guard cutters. Waving the group off Whitey and looked at each other and smiled. We then threw the lines straight off and headed for Newport. It was the end of a day which I would never forget and the meeting of the most extraordinary man I have met; a man who was to change the course of my life forever. Our friendship would last a lifetime and King Hussein would persuade me that I could do things I had never dreamed of and be someone I could never had imagined.

A couple of weeks later I found a boat to help deliver across the Atlantic in order to get home. Jubilation was a racing yacht and the trip was a real taste of the deprivations of the Whitbread to come. We arrived in Lymington on 19th July 1985 and during an evening of much eating and drinking I found a pay phone and called my Mum to let her know I was home. After an initial catch up she informed me that a man had been calling saying his name was King Hussein of Jordan. I prayed she hadn’t said ‘I’m the Queen of Sheba’ and put the phone down but she assured me she hadn’t. In fact she sounded as if this was all perfectly normal. My Mum was an amazing woman. She said he wanted me to call him in London as soon as I got in and gave me the number.

Phoning a number and saying ‘hello can I speak to King Hussein’ was more than a little scary but that is what I did. When he came on the line he sounded genuinely happy and asked me to dinner the following evening at the Jordanian residence in Kensington Palace Gardens to which I agreed. The next day I got the train home to pick up my car which was an old green Vauxhall Viva with red doors which didn’t open. The only clean clothes I had at home were a pair of green and white striped trousers and an old Sealestial yachting t-shirt! And so later that day I set off from Reading to London in my clapped out old car wearing my clapped out old clothes.

I arrived at Kensington Palace Gardens at the required time of 6.30 and was let through the barriers when I gave my name. I drove slowly up that beautiful road with its magnificent mansions and found the one I was looking for. It had a huge Jordanian flag up outside and two immaculate armed Jordanian guards standing to attention just inside the huge gates. I wished at this point that my car doors worked but as they didn’t, I steeled myself to get out, wound down the window and climbed through. The guards did not bat an eyelid. I smiled and walked up to the gate. “I’m here to see King Hussein” I explained and after asking my name, they opened the gates and let me in.

Dinner was amazing and the company even better. We talked and talked as if we had known each other forever. In the years since his death I have met and spoken to other ‘normal’ people who met him and they all said the same thing. That incredible and genuine interest in what we all had to say along with his attentiveness made you feel special. It was a gift and one of the reasons he achieved so much good. During the evening, I told him it was Mum’s birthday and he insisted on calling her. The next day a huge bouquet of white roses arrived from him to her wishing her a Happy Birthday. He sent them every year until he died.

The King was flying to Washington the next day so it was an early evening but when I left I knew I had made a friend for life. What I did not know was how much influence this incredible man would have on my future.

In the lead up to the 85/86 race and during it, I kept in touch with the His Majesty via phone and letter. When I was on Atlantic Privateer we would telex each other. As soon as I had finished the race, he invited me to Jordan. I was flown out first class on a Royal Jordanian Airlines plane and when I arrived at the airport in Amman I was met at the plane doors and whisked through immigration and baggage collection to a chauffeured car which took me to my hotel. I felt like a film star!

I already had the idea of an all-female crew in the next Whitbread and was excited to see what the King thought. That afternoon I was taken to meet him at the Palace for tea. I really had to suspend my link with reality at this point. The Palace is inside the military base and as the car swept through the gates I entered another world. I had already fallen in love with Jordan and if the King was an example of the Jordanian people then I knew I would love them.

The car deposited me outside the doors to the Palace and I was shown into the King’s office where he was playing with two of his children, HRH Princess Haya who was 12 and HRH Prince Ali who was 11. What struck me was how beautiful they were and how disarmingly charming and polite.

The afternoon was spent catching up on the Whitbread and it was hard to believe that this man was attempting to drive through a peace process for the Middle East. He must have had so much on his mind and yet you would have thought he had all the time in the world and not a worry. As we chatted I dropped my idea of an all-female crew into the conversation and he didn’t miss a beat. “You must do this!” he said and proceeded to reel off a convincing list of why. By the time he finished with me I believed I could conquer the world and do anything I set my heart on. I literally floated out of the Palace that evening and back to my hotel. I called Mum and said “I’m going to do it.” To which my mother replied “Yes I rather thought you would.”

Over the coming months of putting together what would be the Maiden project there would be many negative comments and articles but King Hussein was always at the end of a phone with advice and encouragement. There were many dark days of doubt over the years of struggle and I was still an irresponsible and angry 23 year old with rebellion issues. It was not until after the King’s death that I truly realised how much of an influence he had been on my life. My Mum would call him when she was worried about me and he would always have time to talk to her. I often imagine their conversations in between Yitzhak Rabin and Ronald Reagan and it makes me smile. She adored him and I know he was not only my rock but also hers.

King Hussein helped with funding as we worked hard to raise the sponsorship and when we bought an old wreck called Prestige and turned her into Maiden his support was crucial. We raced the refitted Maiden in the 1988 Route of Discovery Race from Cadiz to Santo Domingo and won overall, beating all the other eleven Whitbread boats who were also using the race as a warm up to the race. With such an amazing result in the face of our critics we truly believed that we now find sponsorship. We had proved that women could race and win. But no. Nothing happened and we were rebuffed time and time again. I was at breaking point and had no idea how we were to get to the start-line.

This was the only time I ever saw the King truly frustrated. He couldn’t understand why I was not being supported. He kept us going for a while until it became obvious that British sponsorship was not going to materialise. I was summoned to Amman with Howard Gibbons, Maiden’s Project Manager. We flew to Jordan on what was by now a well-worn route for me. It was entertaining watching Howard’s expression as were whisked through the airport though! We were taken to the hotel and went to our rooms to unpack and freshen up. I had been told to go straight downstairs where I was met and taken to the Palace. Howard headed for the pool.

I arrived at the Palace and the King was waiting for me. Firstly he congratulated me on our epic result in the Route of Discovery then he asked where Howard was. I hadn’t realised he wanted to see both of us and the King dispatched someone to go and get him while we had tea. Howard’s account of being picked up always makes me smile. He was by the pool when suddenly a shadow fell over him. He looked up to see a man in suit and dark glasses. “You need to come with me Sir” said the man. Howard was more than a little startled and wondered what he had done wrong. He dutifully got dressed and an hour later he was walking into the Palace to join us.

King Hussein had never met Howard but was clearly delighted to meet the man who had stood by me and got me this far despite my many failings. Howard for his part was delighted to meet the man I so admired and of whom I spoke so often. They greeted each other like long lost friends and were deep in conversation within seconds. The three of us sat and chatted and King Hussein told us as we sat open-mouthed, that Royal Jordanian Airlines was to be our sponsor. I am not often speechless but this was one of this was one of those times. Howard and I were more than a little excited obviously and the King just smiled, enjoying our happiness. When the excitement finally died down the King announced he was taking us on a tour of Amman.

We trooped out to a waiting car, but instead of driving outside the gates we were taken to an airfield. Howard and I looked at each other. We were ushered out and found ourselves standing in front of a Royal Jordanian Airforce helicopter. The King was heading off to a hangar whilst we were helped aboard the helicopter. Not being a huge fan of heights I was not entirely sure how I felt about this turn of events. Howard, on the other hand, was like a small boy. The King re-emerged from the hangar with a flying suit on and walking next to another pilot. As he got into the cockpit he turned to us “The only way to see Jordan” he said grinning from ear to ear.

The next two hours of my life were to be amongst the most amazing ever. After Howard and I put on our headphones, we watched the young co-pilot and the King go through the pre-flight checks and then we were lifting into the air. My stomach lurched. But, as we soared over Amman all worries slipped away. The King gave a running commentary about points of interest below us and in a short while we were over the desert and heading for the Dead Sea. Jordan is so beautiful and the terrain changes so quickly. We flew over Bedouin camps and camels and as we soared through the Jordan Rift Valley, the mountains came into view.

The King kept up a running commentary of Biblical history and then we were over the Dead Sea and flying so low over it I felt as if I could reach out my hand and touch the glistening waters. It was completely terrifying! As we skimmed over the water the King turned to me and shouted “This is the only time I ever want to see you below sea level!” and then he laughed. We all did although I am not sure the co-pilot knew why he was laughing. After some more sight-seeing over the desert and he River Jordan we headed for Amman, landing in a hospital car park – as you do. The King told us his mother was ill and he was visiting her. The co-pilot took us back to the base and instructed us be back the next morning with our luggage.

We were driven back to the hotel. The evening was spent at dinner recounting the day’s extraordinary events. The next morning, we were packed and ready at the designated time and on our way back to the air force base where a flight crew of four was waiting for us in an even bigger helicopter. “His Majesty has instructed us to take you to see Petra and then on to Aqaba where you will stay at the Royal Palace for two days’ rest.” One of the young men told us. Our luggage was loaded and we were once again airborne. Once again I marvelled at the beauty of Jordan and when we reached the mountains of Petra I just couldn’t believe how magnificent they are. The pink and gold rocks rose out of the desert and then plunged into sheer ravines of breath-taking resplendence.

We landed in the car park of a hotel where small and agile Arabian horses were waiting for us. The helicopter crew said they would wait for us but we persuaded them to come with us. So, there we were, three RJA Pilots, a sailor and a Project Manager riding our horses down towards the entrance to the ravine. This was in the days long before it was a major tourist spot and there were few buildings and even fewer people. It was also before the floor of the ravine had been concreted over for the ease of tourists and we found ourselves riding in silence through the sand of the gulley with the sheer walls of the rocks either side. It is hard to describe the magnificence of Petra; I had seen pictures but nothing prepares you for the jaw dropping sight of reaching the bottom and coming out into the clearing with the Treasury rising in front of you. The silence was only broken by the snorting of the horses and the chink of their bridles. Dismounting we spent a few hours (not nearly long enough) wondering through the ruins.

When we had to return to the helicopter we galloped full pelt back up the ravine and as I had just seen Indian Jones and Last Crusade, I pretended I was Harrison Ford – obviously! The next stop was Aqaba where we spent two lazy days being completely spoiled. When I signed the visitors book, I looked at the names before mine – Harrison Ford and Sean Connery .......... of course ..........

Before we left Amman a few days later, the King had introduced us to Ali Ghandour who was CEO of Royal Jordanian Airlines and we had agreed a sponsorship deal and that Maiden would be painted in the distinctive livery of the RJA planes. The next few months Maiden spent out of the water being refitted for the Whitbread and painted a deep beautiful grey with red and gold lines, which would become her trademark and ours. When we relaunched her she just looked stunning and we had an announcement in Cowes complete with Bedouin dancers.

HM King Hussein and Queen Noor visited us at the Southampton Boat Show just before the start of the Whitbread. The King gave me a Bible covered in mother of pearl in a beautiful mother of pearl casket and told me he knew we could do it. The race is now in the history books with our two leg wins and coming second overall, the best result for a British boat since 1977 and unbeaten.

The King and I remained friends until his death and he supported me in every project I took on. But it was not until I started writing my second book that I really understood what we had achieved and it wasn’t until the King died and my mother spoke about him that I truly grasped the importance of what this extraordinary man had done for me and the advancement of women sailors. He had been so much more than a friend and supporter. He had been my rock. But more than that, he had helped my mother to steady me when I wobbled or when my immature anger and frustration threatened the Maiden project. He had also been there for her. Between King Hussein, my Mum and Howard, somehow they had guided a rebellious, impulsive, ragamuffin and turned her into a strong confident young woman who took on outdated beliefs – and won.

If I had not met HM King Hussein I of Jordan and if he had not stepped in, Maiden would not have happened. It is as simple as that. His vision for his country and for the world was limitless. His treatment of his fellow beings was legendary and his belief in what we can all do, was unquestioning. I often think of the King and I wish my daughter could have met him. He was and will always be one of the most remarkable human beings to ever walk this planet and I miss him so much, as do so many.

With faith, honour and courage, anything is possible

Maiden's restoration and global
campaign is being made possible by

HRH Princess Haya of Jordan in memory
of Her father King Hussein I

The 58ft Maiden began life in 1979
as DISQUE D’OR 3 on the designer table
of the talented and prolific boat designer
Bruce Farr.

Read about Maiden’s Story, so far

The Story so far
How It All Began
Educate a Girl - Change the World

130 million girls worldwide are currently denied an education

The Maiden Factor Foundation is one of a number of charities which will receive the proceeds from the Maiden Factor’s fundraising activities with the yacht Maiden. The Maiden Factor Foundation is working with a number of charities who fulfil one or all of the following criteria;

Empower/teach/mentor girls, promote, facilitate, lobby for or provide solutions which enable the education of girls not currently afforded that basic human right.

The Maiden Factor Foundation will be well placed to work with smaller, solution based charities and not for profit organisations around the world. These have been picked for their proven ability to understand and solve the very real issues which prevent girls attending school. Their successes are tangible and measureable and focus on areas often overlooked by larger organisations and global charities.

Girls have big dreams for their lives, no matter where they live. These dreams start and — sadly for millions — end with education. The poorest girls in the poorest countries get just three years of schooling. Over the past 15 years the international community has worked to get them six, then nine.

But this is still not enough. It is not enough to meet the challenge of empowering women and girls. It is not enough to realise the full ambition of the new sustainable development agenda. And it is not enough for the millions of girls demanding more for their lives.

Achieving universal access to 12 years of fee-free, quality primary and secondary education for girls is an investment in the overall development and growth for countries. The world cannot hope to achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) without unlocking the potential of millions of girls who have been locked out of education.

Girls need leaders to make and keep bold commitments to provide universal primary and secondary education. The world needs girls to solve our most pressing problems and provide leadership in their home communities and countries.

If all girls had 12 years of education;

  • Childhood marriage would fall by 64%
  • Early births would fall by 59%
  • Child deaths under 5 would fall by 49%
  • Her job and wage potential increases
  • The health, wealth and happiness of her family increases
  • The spread of HIV and Aids would be reduced
  • The socio-economic status of her entire community increases
  • The eradication of World Poverty becomes possible
  • Gender equality would increase dramatically

(Source – UN Women 2015)

“There are 1.2 billion adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 in the world today. Almost 75 per cent of them are in Asia and Africa, comprising large proportions of the populations of those regions. These young people spend more years in school today than ever before. That said, globally only 74 per cent of girls between the ages of 11 and 15 are in school – compared to 83 per cent of boys. There are large variations – these averages do not speak to the reality of rural girls, poorer girls, or girls in conflict-affected regions.

According to UNESCO, 39 million girls aged 11 to 15 are not in lower secondary school. So where are the adolescent girls? One in seven is married by the age of 15. Up to half of all girls in developing countries are mothers before they turn 18. If present trends continue, more than 100 million girls will probably be married as children in the next decade.

Formal legal restrictions – such as laws on minimum age for marriage or working – offer scant protection for adolescent girls. In 25 countries there is no specified age for compulsory education and in 44 countries girls can be married younger than boys. In 17 countries the legal working age is lower than the age of compulsory education, negating any legal protection to education. While 18 is the minimum age of marriage in most countries, there is usually a caveat giving parents the right to grant consent for younger girls to marry. In South Asia, 48 per cent of girls are married before 18. In Africa the figure is 42 per cent and in Latin America and the Caribbean it is 29 per cent, with early marriage rates being higher in rural and poorer communities.

Adolescent girls are no longer children; nor are they yet adults. They are moving towards more independence and the exercise of greater responsibility. But they are still young enough to need support and guidance on that path. The challenge is how to give that guidance in a way that promotes dignity and advances girls’ rights and opportunities. In some cultures the change from child to adult, from girl to woman, is abrupt and the idea of adolescence, as a necessary period of transition, barely exists.”

(Source – Because I am a Girl, The State of the World’s Girls 2012)

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Tracy Edwards MBE - Project Manager

Tracy founded The Maiden Factor in the process of rescuing of 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. 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.

She also wanted to pay tribute to the late King Hussein I as a thank you for his role in getting Maiden to the start line 28 years ago. His Majesty has many wonderful legacies but his vision of the equality of women through the education of girls is close to Tracy’s heart and a perfect way for her to remember her friend.

With over 30 years’ experience creating and running sailing projects, Tracy will oversee the entire programme. Tracy will also work with HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein to make the vision a reality and get girls into school.

Libby Mudditt – Head of Public Relations

Libby’s role will be to maximise the potential sponsorship and media opportunities of The Maiden Factor world tour in support of the overall aim to get more girls into education.

She has extensive experience in marketing, PR, communications and sponsorship having worked for major international consultancies; the Women’s Tennis Association; on Olympic programmes and helped set up Generations for Peace (formerly Peace through Sport). Libby has worked with Tracy on previous projects and brings a wealth of experience to the team.

Libby grew up in Northamptonshire and her experience of sailing was in dinghies at Cransley Sailing Club; she lived and worked mainly in London until moving to Jordan when she married her husband and working at the British Embassy in Amman as Vice Consul for five years before joining The Maiden Factor.

Kaia Bint Savage - Social Media Coordinator

Kaia will coordinate the social media creative content within the business, working alongside and assisting Libby Mudditt, Head of PR. Kaia is passionate about equality for girls and women, and hopes to connect with as many people through social media as possible to spread the positive message of The Maiden Factor and what it achieves.

Kaia attended The Henley College, and went on to study Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London. She discovered her enthusiasm for supporting children's' education and development working as an ABA Autistic Tutor during her BSc (hons) and continued on to become the Creative Facilitator for Nature Nurture CIC, a company that aims to re-connect children with their local natural environment, and collaborated with companies including BBC's Cbeebies and Intelligent Health.

In 2015, she joined Jubilee OWLS (outdoor woodland learning scheme) as their Nature and Education co-ordinator, working and liaising with schools to support children's education and curriculum in a forest setting. She also helped with the development of the sister company Jubilee Cadets, an outdoor woodland-based holiday club, assisting with the managing and running of the club in the school holidays, and worked to support and progress the growth of both companies.

Alexandra Roberts – Events Manager

Originally from Edinburgh, Alex has worked in the Events & Hospitality business since 2010. She has delivered a wide range of events over the years from conferences, product launches and corporate incentive travel. Clients have included governing bodies, entertainment and hospitality sector members and corporate clients from across the UK and overseas.

Alex has worked on promotional events for large governing bodies throughout the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for Event Den and more recently for Scotch Whisky Experience PLC as Assistant Events & Hospitality Manager. She worked with clients to organise meetings, product launches, promotional events and seminars for up to 500 people which has given her a varied and extremely hands on knowledge.

Over the past two years Alex worked for Virgin Money as their London Office Host. She has organised fundraising events for charities such as Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) & Heads Together raising over £75,000. An avid gym and running enthusiast, Alex has also raised money and awareness for charities through sporting events and recently undertook the Virgin Money London Marathon and later, The Three Peaks Challenge.

Alex will be organising events before Maiden leaves the UK and at each of the stopovers which will include; fundraising events, school visits, media days, VIP days and Gala dinners.

Allie Smith – Shore Manager

Allie has 25 years’ experience working in Operations and Logistical management within the Yachting World, both UK and Internationally. Allie raced around the world as Bowman on the 67 foot yacht InterSpray in the British Steel Challenge and is a commercially endorsed RYA Yachtmaster Offshore sailor and experienced RIB Skipper.

She has previously worked for lnternational Yachtsmen including Sir Chay Blyth, Sir Robin Knox Johnston and Mike Golding. During this time she has been involved in many international yacht races including the Vendee Globe, Transat Jaques Vabre, Route du Rhum, OSTAR, Around Alone, Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, BT Global Challenge and the Rolex Fastnet Race. She was also was Project Manager of the inaugural Atlantic Rowing Race from the Canaries to Barbados.

Allie is the founder of one of UK’s most successful sailing and racing schools. Sailing Logic, which she ran for 13 years and has a BA Hons degree is Sports Management. She also volunteers with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) as a Safety Inspector, checking the safety of racing yachts prior to international and cross-channel races.

Nick Roberts – Head of Security, Risk and Compliance

Nick graduated from Sandhurst before taking up a commission with the Royal Irish Rangers. He then ran his own highly successful companies in the hospitality industry and has become an expert in Risk and Compliance during his work as a Consultant to Property Services.

Nick is in charge of all aspects of Health & Safety, risk assessments and planning for Maiden, the team and the crew and all physical and online Security during the tour. He will ensure compliance within the Maritime Industry and at all stopovers.

Gregor Bint – Schools Liaison

Greg’s role will be to develop projects working with schools in the U.K and around the world.

He has worked with Tracy on various projects over the years, including the 2004-2005 Oryx Quest Round-The-World Yacht race where he designed and developed an interactive educational programme for the schools in Qatar.

Greg served in the Royal Air Force and spent time with the U.S Airforce. Thereafter he worked as an arboriculturalist, running a business in and around Berkshire. He is also a landscape designer and sculptor.

Greg is passionate about unlocking the potential of millions of children that are not able to access education.

Maiden Factor Foundation
Fields of Life
Just a Drop
The Girls' Network
Room To Read
Orchid Project
Why Comics ?
Quick Donate

“The Maiden Factor Foundation was set up to raise money and receive donations for girls education. Donations may be made to The Maiden Factor Foundation and funding will be distributed amongst our chosen charities.”

The benefits are wide ranging from economic (e.g. empowering girls to obtain jobs that would otherwise not be available to them) to social (e.g. reducing high birth rates, helping tackle domestic violence). Educating girls, their families and communities will benefit the girls because knowledge is the first step to empowering individuals to make their own choices about their future.

The Maiden Factor Foundation Governing Articles

To advance the education of girls aged 5 to 18 years old who would not otherwise receive a formal or vocational education.

Registered Charity Number 1160746 The Maiden Factor Foundation Ltd.

Trevor Stephenson and his wife Ruth founded the development charity Fields of Life in 1995. Having lived in Central East Africa, their passion and focus has been to work in areas and communities that have been affected by war, conflict and extreme poverty.

Fields of life reach women and children through local churches and communities in East Africa. The aim is to bring positive change through the provision of quality education, clean water, health promotion and other community based projects.

The goal is to create and foster girl-friendly school environments and to see 25,000 girls and young women supported, nurtured and developed within the Fields of Life school network by 2020.

Fields of Life are concerned that in sub Saharan Africa only 1 in 5 girls make it to secondary school. In Uganda 71% of girls drop out of school before completing Primary 7 with 85% of girls not completing Secondary Education. A lack of education means that menstruation is stigmatised, girls are at risk of attack going to and from school and are forced to marry when they are still children. We believe that these girls are entitled to dignity and a future and that they have the power to change the world.

Our goal is to create and foster girl-friendly school environments, enabling 25,000 girls and young women to be supported, nurtured and developed within the Fields of Life Schools network by 2020.

Fields of Life launched the I AM GIRL Health Education initiative to commit to ensuring girls are empowered to complete their education and to grow into strong, healthy young women and that in time their children will have the same opportunities.

In many developing countries around the world, the primary responsibility of collecting water falls to women and children, who walk long distances to find water – which is often dirty and unsafe to drink. Women and children embark on these journeys every day, knowing that the water they collect may make them ill, yet they have no other choice. The hours spent collecting water takes women away from income generating activities and caring for family members, and takes children away from their education.

Just a Drop is an international water aid charity which was founded in 1998 by the MD of the World Travel Market Fiona Jeffery. Just a Drop support communities by constructing wells, pipelines, boreholes, hand pumps and latrines as well as providing health and sanitation programmes for some of the most remote and poor regions in the world.

Just a Drop was solely a volunteer organisation for over 14 years and since 2012 they have employed a small professional team. They are supported by a professional group of volunteers, mainly project engineers, who give their time and expertise to ensure the work in the field is of the highest standard possible and that they are sustainable in the long term at a grass roots level. Since 1998 £3.7million has been raised, with 176 projects completed across 31 countries and helping over 1.3 million people.

Dirty water kills a child every 20 seconds, yet it doesn't take a lot to make a big difference.

Two secondary school teachers in North West London, Charly and Becca, set up the Girls Network – a one to one mentoring scheme, when they witnessed multiple barriers that girls faced in their classrooms which included:

  • A lack of confidence or self-belief
  • The pressure to conform to ideal
  • A lack of professional role models in their networks

They believed that the girls needed greater access to opportunities, the confidence to seize those opportunities and the skills to thrive in them.

The one to one mentoring scheme is based on research that shows personal relationships and conversations can have a significant impact on challenging stereotypes and expectations. The Girls’ Network mentoring was soon in high demand, and now operates across London and the South Coast, working with more than 1,000 girls each year. Feedback includes:

  • 100% of girls on the programme last year reported feeling more confident in themselves and in how to get to where they want to go.
  • Teachers saw 89% of girls demonstrate more resilience and self-motivation at the end of the year.

The Girls Network aim to be in every city in England by 2020 and their aim is to reach every city in the UK. They are already having requests from around the world for the Girls Network mentoring scheme to be in their city.

When Girls Stay in School, Life Improves...for Everyone.

We invest in girls’ education for long-term, systemic change. That means sustaining our programs for years, if not decades, and scaling them to a country’s need.

Create World Change

With your support we can scale faster and transform communities across the globe. Together, we have the potential to reach 15 million children by 2020.

These partnerships ensure that our program is complementary of national efforts, sustainable and nationally scalable.

Female genital cutting is a harmful practice involving full or partial removal of a girl’s external genitals. It serves no medical purpose and has many harmful consequences.

Julia Lalla-Maharajh OBE was volunteering in Ethiopia when she first came across the practice of FGC, and was galvanised into taking action. Having witnessed for herself how widespread and damaging the practice was in just one country, she returned to the UK determined to help bring about an end to FGC. The Orchid Project gained official UK charitable status in April 2011.

FGC is ending through the work of programmes that are based on education and empowerment. Bringing about a change in communities where FGC is practised involves a shift in social norms, and has to be felt throughout the entire community.

Orchid Project and our programme partners all believe that ultimately a community must collectively decide to abandon the practice of FGC, in order for everyone involved to understand that the practice must, and can end. As such, all of our programme partners work at a grassroots level.

Why Comics? exists to educate, inspire and engage young people on contemporary humanitarian and social issues to promote equality and diversity through innovative educational resources.

To educate, inspire and engage young people on contemporary humanitarian and social issues.

Why Comics? is backed by the award-winning non-profit PositiveNegatives. PositiveNegatives has been producing literary comics and animations about contemporary social and human rights issues, including conflict, migration and asylum since 2012.

They combine ethnographic research with illustration and photography, adapting personal testimonies into art, advocacy and education materials.

Narratives are adapted directly from first-hand interviews. Illustrations are based on photographs taken during field research. Names and identifying characteristics are altered, and testimony is rendered anonymous, freeing contributors to be candid even when discussing topics that are sensitive or have security implications.

Anything is Possible
Official Suppliers
Maiden Supporters
Friends of Maiden

In 2017, HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein had a bold idea to set up a global initiative in memory of HM King Hussein I called ‘Anything is Possible’, honouring the legacy of HM King Hussein I, which supports, promotes and inspires the best in people.

HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein:

“The Anything Is Possible initiative is dedicated to my father, HM King Hussein I, who instilled in so many, that with belief, you can overcome obstacles, overcome fears and overcome the unthinkable by sheer determination, humility and courage, proving ‘Anything is Possible’.

My father would have been the first to offer his support and guidance to The Maiden Factor.

I, as a young girl, fondly remember his ‘hands-on’ involvement with the original project, which made sporting history, and surprisingly feel how the issues of female equality and values he championed all those years ago seem even more relevant today.

Having the intrepid Tracy Edwards MBE back at the helm is something I know my father would have been so happy to learn and he would have wanted me to be part of this project.

As his daughter, I have felt honoured and humbled to be involved with the resurrection of the Maiden yacht as it embarks on its new chapter of maritime history.

The knowledge that Maiden is once again travelling the seas, means not only will the memory and legacy of my late father live on, but Tracy Edwards can use this as a platform to highlight the need of equal access to education for girls in all corners of the globe, referencing something that my father always believed in: ‘anything is possible’.”





Adrian Rayson

Alison Esse

Alison Hamilton Fellman

Amanda Mochrie

Angela Heath

Ann Arscott

Anna Stevens

Annie and Nicholas Calqun-Denvers

Anton Mosimann

Avia Willment

Babs Powell

Barry Kimer

Bob and June Clewley

Bob Dick

Brian Gargan

Captain Andrew Parker

Chumley Prime

Clair Southwell

Claire Lewis

Claire Russell

Colin Mardell

Dan Klein

David Branigan

Dawn Riley

Dee Bach

Della Phillips

Dom Mee

Duncan and Louise

Duncan Pike

Edward Durgan

Ellie, Megan, Helen and Matt Thomas

Emma Westmacott

Fran Farrar

Gael Pawson

Gary Rokeson

Greg Caswell

Halstead Prep School

Helen Gough

Howard and Susie Gibbons

Ian Handley

Irene Gowland

James Leek

Jason Leonard

Jeni Mundy

Jim Gamble QPM

Joanna Gooding

John Kempton

John Roberson

John-Kenneth D Habbershaw

Johnny and Gwen Le Bon

Karen Russell-Surtees

Keith Jeffreys

Keith Pallett

Kels Gilkison

Lara and Matt Joslin

Laura Gowland

Liz Brewer

Liz Soutter

Lord Moynihan

Lucy Smail

Mackenna Edwards-Mair

Mandi Swan

Marie-Claude Heys

Mark and Mindy Lucas

Mark Ellis

Michele Paret

Mike Jones

Murray Lord

Nancy Hill

Natasha Lambert BEM

Nicky Perry

Nicola Sangwin

Nigel Parkin

Nick Buckley

Nina Bass

Noeleen Flanagan

Paul Bernal

Paul Logan

Peter and Catherine Ashby


Priya Samuel

Professor Neil Witt

Robert Powell

Rory Thersby

Sally Hunter

Sarah Allan

Sarah Davies

Sarah-Jane Ingram

Sarah and Philip Richards

Simon Le Bon

Sir Richard Branson

Stephen Toon

Steve and Ruth Anderson

Steve Greenacre

Steve Harrison

Susie Footit

Suzy Mayhew

Tanja Visser

The Bint Family

The Couling Family

The Duke and Duchess of York

The Horwood Family

The Lightfoot Family

The Roberts Family

The Thomsen Family

The Tredgett Family

The Wardle Family

Tim Munton

Tim and Hilly Lewis

Tina Fotherby

Will Collins

William and Lowie Crisp

William and Lucy Asprey


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