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The Maiden Factor

Maiden is a Global Ambassador for the Empowerment of Girls through Education

  • Maiden inspires women and girls all over the world
  • Maiden raises funds for girls’ educational programmes around the world
  • Maiden shows, by example, what girls can achieve if they embrace STEM subjects
Maiden’s vision is a world where every girl has access to 12 years of quality education; equipping them to choose their future and fulfil their dreams.

Maiden's Story

Maiden inspired a generation of women. Skippered by Tracy Edwards MBE, she led the first all-female crew to compete in the notoriously difficult Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989/90. The vision, values and courage of one man, HM King Hussein I of Jordan who brought in their sponsor, made the incredible story of Maiden possible.

Despite fierce opposition and sexism, Tracy and her team won two of the toughest legs on the race and came second overall. It was a landmark moment for the sailing world and opened the door for competitive female sailing.  Tracy’s exploits earned her an MBE as well as becoming the first woman to receive the ‘Yachtsman of the Year’ trophy.

Maiden was sold at the end of the race and in 2014 Tracy learned that the iconic yacht had been abandoned and rotting in the Seychelles;  she knew she had to save this unique piece of maritime history and raised funds and eventually brought her back to the UK in 2017 where she underwent an extensive restoration and The Maiden Factor was born.

A photo of the Maiden crew on a boat.

Maiden's  new mission was to raise awareness of the 130+ million girls worldwide who are excluded from or not able to access an education and raising funds for community programmes worldwide to get girls into education and support them to remain there through their teenage years.

Maiden began her unique three-year world tour in November 2018, sailing with this world changing purpose, initially working with six global charities that break down the barriers that prevent girls from accessing an education and provide the solutions.  We listened, researched and talked to many people to work out where and how Maiden would have the greatest impact on improving the rights of girls to an education, with opportunities for girls in STEM subjects one particular area of focus.

We learned that Maiden has the power to inspire and empower girls (and boys!); when Maiden arrived in port, she was already a star with her own fan club, not just with sailors and/or girls. Maiden has the ability to reach across genders, colour, creed, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic backgrounds and generations.

Maiden decided to take a break from the World Tour and entered the ‘retro’ Ocean Globe Race (OGR), based on the Whitbread Round the World Race where Tracy and the first all-female crew made history.  The OGR  began in Southampton in September 2023 and provides a great opportunity to amplify Maiden’s mission of the importance of educating all girls for better futures for all.  The final leg of the race starts from Punta del Este on March 5th with Maiden back in Southampton around 12-15th April 2024.

The ‘Maiden’ story is relevant and relatable to everyone, again not just sailors, but to every human being who strives to reach their full potential; to succeed against the odds. Maiden is proof that with self-belief, grit, determination, relentlessness, anyone from anywhere can change the world.

A photo of a group of women on a boat.