Maiden wins Ocean Globe Race with all-female crew

Maiden, winner of the Ocean Globe Race 2023-2024 Maiden, winner of the Ocean Globe Race 2023-2024. All images courtesy of Kaia Bint Savage.

Sailing yacht Maiden has won the Ocean Globe Race 2023-2024, smashing numerous records in the process, including becoming the first all-female crew to win a round-the-world race.

On Tuesday, 16 April 2024, in a brisk northerly breeze, the yacht and its young, international crew crossed the finishing line at 1152hrs, completing the fourth and final leg of the Ocean Globe Race, after departing on an epic 27,000-mile global navigation last September.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Whitbread Round the World Race, the fully crewed retro Ocean Globe Race 2023 was run in the spirit of the original 1973 race.

During seven months away from home, the crew sailed over 28,500 nm during 154 days at sea, making more Maiden history, 35 years after legendary sailor Tracy Edwards skippered the first all-female crew in the 89/90 Whitbread Race aboard Maiden.

The last leg was a difficult and frustrating one for Maiden, not the longest leg in miles, but the longest time at sea during the whole race, with the leg ranking fifth in line honours and provisional fifth in IRC with corrected elapsed time.

Maiden, winner of the Ocean Globe Race 2023-2024

With all legs combined, until earlier Monday morning (22 April) Maiden held second place overall. Their closest rival Triana, who was in first place, needed to finish around 0600hrs on Monday to retain their lead, which they did not manage to do; with the IRC overall lead Maiden is the winner of the Ocean Globe Race 2023-2024.

On hearing the confirmation that Maiden has won the OGR, skipper Heather Thomas said: “It’s amazing to be the first all-female crew to win an around-the-world race; it’s a historic moment. Me and the all the crew worked really hard for it and we’re very proud of our achievement.”

When the crew arrived in Cowes they were given a true Maiden welcome from family, friends and fans. On Saturday 20 April, a flotilla of boats escorted Maiden in a Parade of Sail to Ocean Village to pay homage to Maiden and the crew’s amazing achievements.

In honour of His Majesty King Hussein I of Jordan, who turned Edwards’ dream of entering an all-female crew into the 89/90 Whitbread a reality, and his daughter, who in 2017 stepped in to make Maiden’s restoration possible, HRH Princess Haya and her children, Their Highnesses Jalila and Zayed, came to tour the boat and meet the crew.

Maiden’s original ‘godmother’ Sarah, The Duchess of York, who named the boat at its launch was also present.

During the six-year World Tour, Maiden has continued the battle for equality for the next generation, empowering and inspiring thousands of girls; raising awareness and funds for charities and communities around the world to ensure that girls have access to education whatever their background to enable them to follow their dreams and build better futures.

Maiden, winner of the Ocean Globe Race 2023-2024

“I am beyond proud of what these talented women have achieved,” says Tracy Edwards. “They took our success in 1990 to the next level and blew away one of the very few firsts left in women’s ocean racing. Well deserved congratulations to Heather Thomas and her crew for winning on corrected time.”

Edwards adds: “I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Marie Taberly for winning Line Honours. Two women at the top of their sport makes me incredibly happy and so proud of what Maiden began. As the saying goes, ‘I think my work here is done!”

The other records claimed by Maiden and its crew are: the first female British skipper to win a round-the-world race; the first British boat to win a round the world race; the first black women to race around the world; and the first Afghan woman to race in a round-the-world race.

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