Tracy Edwards, MBE, was captain of Maiden, the first all women's crew to race the Whitbread Around the World Regatta in 1989-1990. Her amazing story is told in the 2019 documentary film of the same name Maiden. Tracy has gone on to a distinguished maritime career, and in recent years, rebuilt Maiden and created a charitable foundation called the Maiden Factor Foundation, which is bringing the vessel and her inspiring story to people around the world. The organization raises funds for and works toward access to education for all girls and others who do not have access around the world. We encourage you to learn more and support the foundation here: www.themaidenfactor.org
The famous vessel is now on a world tour, visiting well-known sailing locations around the world. She is currently touring famous US ports such as Annapolis, Maryland; New York Harbor; Newport, Rhode Island, and YES! Kingston, New York.
Don't miss out on the fun! If you are a boat owner, you can join the flotilla to welcome Maiden to Kingston on June 8 or see her off on June 11. You can join Tracy Edwards and the crew for dinner June 8, and you can tour the vessel and meet the crew on June 9 or 10. Information and signups here: https://www.hrmm.org/maiden.html
As a child, I spent my summers on Cape Cod. I took swimming lessons on the beach. My mom said that all year we used our brains in classrooms, so during the summer we should use our hands outside. Across the parking lot, there was a new sailing school.
The next summer I was signed up with one of my little sisters. We were hooked. This program was called Bourne Community Boating. It was a half day, 4 week program, and one day a week was dedicated to science. We went on field trips to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and to Massachusetts Maritime Academy and to investigate local marine species and ecosystems.
This summer camp has changed my life and the lives of others who attended the camp. One camper turned counselor spent a semester at sea and sailed to Fiji. Others joined sailing teams (Bourne HS joined with the next town) and continued to sail in college. Kids went on to study marine biology and environmental policy, things they were exposed to at BCB. My sister’s major is Marine and Fishery Sciences. I was first a camper, then an instructor in training, instructor, then head instructor. Over my 9 years there, I grew immensely. I discovered my love for teaching and practiced lesson planning and being flexible because sailing is so weather dependent. I met people with incredible stories, such as a family who hadn’t set foot on land in a year. I made lifelong friends who I didn’t see during the school year, but when we came back each summer, it was as if no time had passed at all.
Very similar to HRMM’s sailing program, this was a community based program. We had barbecues, and there were scholarships available. We started an adaptive sailing program for individuals with physical or mental impairments which would make it more difficult for them to assess the water. We partnered with local veterans groups. It was awesome how this program was not competition focused, but promoted seamanship, caring for and understanding the environment around the water, and included people from all walks of life.
I’ve been sailing for a number of years, but it wasn’t until I came to Kingston that I discovered the history around sailing. The Hudson River Maritime Museum is an awesome resource to find out how people have been interacting with the river for hundreds of years.
The people I met at HRMM and in the Kingston Sailing Club are so welcoming and fun.
This program is unique because we learn all of the things around sailing such as repairs/ woodwork. We learn the applications of sailing such as sail freight. There is such focus on environmentalism, and HRMM is actually doing something about improving the marine environment with Solaris and partnerships with Sloop Clearwater and Apollonia.
If you would like to get connected with our amazing sailing community at the Hudson River Maritime Museum, visit our website, https://www.hrmm.org/sailing-school.html to learn more about sailing opportunities for youth and adults.
Maiden is the famous 58 foot sloop captained by Tracy Edwards, MBE, which earned fame in 1990 when she competed with the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Around the World Race. The male-dominated worlds of sailing and media all doubted the crew would survive the first leg of the 45,000 nautical mile race, but not only did the boat and crew survive, they earned 2nd place overall in their class, the best result for a British boat in 17 years and unbeaten to this day.
Tracy Edwards’ story and Maiden’s story are amazing. You can meet Tracy and learn more about what compelled her to take on this incredible challenge, and how her experiences with Maiden and the crew have shaped her life’s work during a virtual lecture hosted by the Hudson River Maritime Museum (HRMM) on May 4, at 6 pm.
Also, plan to view the 2019 documentary Maiden, which tells the compelling story of how the crew, led by Skipper Tracy Edwards, MBE, rebuilt their boat from the ground up and achieved great success on the race courses, overcoming tremendous challenges in the process. The film will be shown at the Clearwater Barn on the campus of the HRMM on May 18, 2022. Find information about the lecture and film and sign-ups here: https://www.hrmm.org/maiden.html.
After many sailing achievements and awards, in 2017 Tracy Edwards set up The Maiden Factor Foundation to raise funds for and support efforts towards educating girls around the world. An extensive restoration project of the boat began, in the same yard in Hamble where she was refitted 30 years previously. The boat set sail in 2018, this time battling against the barriers that keep girls and other disenfranchised people out of 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. The Maiden Factor Foundation is working toward universal access to 12 years of fee-free, quality primary and secondary education for girls. For more information about how you can support the foundation’s efforts, please visit www.themaidenfactor.org
Today, the famous vessel has resumed its world tour, which was interrupted in 2020 by Covid, and the boat is traveling to 40 destinations in 20 countries. Guess what? Kingston is on the list!
The vessel will leave New York Harbor early on the morning of June 8, 2022, and she will be escorted up the Hudson River by a flotilla of boats to Kingston, where she is scheduled to arrive around 7 pm on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. On June 9 & 10, the Maiden crew will partner with the Hudson River Maritime Museum, the Sloop Clearwater, and the Sloop Apollonia to provide field trips for local schoolchildren to come to the Kingston waterfront, many for the first time, meet the crews, tour the boats, and participate in workshops in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) topics related to sailing. These field trips will inspire and encourage children from our local community to pursue education and excel in their own learning journeys.
The wider community will also be welcomed to meet the crew and tour the vessel. For information on how to support the Maiden’s visit to Kingston, join the flotilla, participate in youth field trips, or visit the boat and her crew, please go to: https://www.hrmm.org/maiden.html
When I was six years old, my father introduced me to sailboat racing aboard his nineteen-foot Thistle, a tender centerboard sailboat. It heeled (tipped) easily and moved quickly through the water. I was terrified. I spent the afternoon crouching low, by the centerboard trunk (most interior part of the boat), crying. Even though my father encouraged me to sit on the rail (edge) to help balance the boat and reduce its heeling angle, I was too scared to move. At the end of the day, after I walked safely down the dock to dry land, the first thing I said was, “Daddy, can I come racing again next Sunday?” My father was incredulous. “But, honey, you were scared all day. Are you sure you want to go again?” “Oh yes,” I responded. “I love sailing.”
Thus began my long and tumultuous love affair with sailing. I sailed on Dad’s Thistle until he sold it a few years later and bought a 26 foot racing/day-sailing keelboat on which I raced with my father every Sunday. At age nine, I joined our yacht club’s Junior Sailing Program and sailed with other kids as a crew member from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday all summer long. At age eleven, my father suggested I could borrow my brother’s Blue Jay and take it as a skipper to a novice regatta for kids my age.
Terrified, I agreed. I remember my stomach in knots, as Dad and I trailered the boat to the regatta location with my crew and lowered the boat from the dock, via the lift, into the water, at the yacht club where the regatta was held. My fear was that I would crash my brother’s boat into another vessel, a dock, or some other obstruction and wreck it. I didn’t. Instead, I participated in each race, crossing the starting line near the time of the starting gun, rounded all the required turning marks in the proper direction, followed the right-of-way rules and avoided collisions, and finished mid-fleet in each race. I was hooked. I have been racing various boats as skipper ever since.
Each time I traveled to a new place to race or sailed a boat that was new to me, I was scared. Every time I was exposed to a sudden squall, I was nervous, but I learned to face my fears head on, quickly identify alternative courses of action, pick one, act as if I knew what to do, and then do it. I survived a lot of challenging sailing situations and learned a great deal along the way.
People who know me as an adult might be surprised to know I was a very shy child. I was not bold. I was not confident. I always had anxieties. I still do. But, among many other gifts that sailing has given me, it has taught me I can overcome each challenge as it appears in my life because I have done that so many times on the water. For me, sailing is comprised of equal parts fear, exhilaration, peaceful communion with nature and the elements, challenges to overcome, pride in accomplishment, confidence in my skills, and goal-setting. I cannot think of another activity that gives so much to its participants.
I hope you will join The Sailing School at the Hudson River Maritime Museum and learn to sail this summer. You’ll have a blast!
Jody Taffet Sterling, Director of the Sailing School at the Hudson River Maritime Museum, learned to sail as a child on Long Island Sound.
We have wonderful opportunities for youth and classes for adults. We hope to see you this spring or summer! Museum members get discounts on classes. Join today!
Sailing class tuition will be increased March 15, so act quickly to register at 2021 prices.
Staff and volunteers of the Hudson River Maritime Museum's Wooden Boat School and Sailing & Rowing School.
50 Rondout Landing
Kingston, NY 12401
The Hudson River Maritime Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the maritime history of the Hudson River, its tributaries, and related industries.