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Tracy Edwards skippered the first all-women crew to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race in 1989. Her boat Maiden won two legs of the race and came second overall; she became the first woman to receive the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy. Tracy Edwards learned to sail as a stewardess on a charter yacht after being expelled from school, and was the first woman to race around the world on a Maxi (a boat of at least 21 metres).

Her Whitbread triumph with Maiden’s 12-woman crew broke a number of records. A subsequent attempt to win the Jules Verne trophy with an all-female crew in 1998 foundered when their mast broke near Cape Horn. In 2014, she discovered that Maiden was decaying in the Indian Ocean and launched a successful public bid to restore the yacht and return it to Britain to be used to raise funds for girls’ education.


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