08 March 2019: The Maiden Factor’s Tracy Edwards and Nikki Henderson are celebrating being the first ever joint winners of the Yachting Journalists’ Association Yachtsman of the Year award.
Tracy is the driving force behind The Maiden Factor, a campaign to raise awareness of the education of girls worldwide. The three-year project will see her iconic yacht Maiden circumnavigate the globe three decades after Tracy skippered the first all-female crew to compete in the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race – for which she won the prestigious YJA accolade for the first time.
Nikki made history when at 24 she became the youngest ever skipper to compete in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, finishing second. She was the first skipper on the first leg of Maiden‘s new voyage.
Receiving the 2018 award, Tracy said: “To win it again is extraordinary, because amazing women like Nikki and other fantastic female sailors are out there, but I think Maiden did play a part in that, so we’ve come full circle.”
Inmarsat is providing all the connectivity required for The Maiden Factor project, which will see an all-female crew sailing to 23 destinations in 13 countries, flying the flag for girls’ education, working with local charities and supporting community-led educational projects.
Maiden has been equipped with 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.
The yacht also carries 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.
Four months into the voyage, Maiden is in Sri Lanka, welcoming visiting students. Girls from the Galle International College made handprints on the sail, which will be added to throughout the journey. The colourful prints represent the next generation’s desire for equality of access to education.
During the stop-over, Nikki passed over a Message of Hope baton to the students, who will pass it back to the next skipper to take over, Wendy Tuck, for the leg to Freemantle in Australia.
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