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Maiden and her all female crew make history again!

by The Maiden Factor 8 Feb 09:26 GMT
Sunset aboard Maiden during the Ocean Globe Race © The Maiden Factor / OGR 2023

Thirty-five years ago, the yacht Maiden, with the first ever all female crew rounded Cape Horn in the Whitbread Round the World Race and secured their place in the history books. This week, Maiden, currently competing in the retro Ocean Globe Race will include the first black female crew members to race around the notorious Cape Horn.

Why does this historic event matter? Because if a girl can see it, she can be it. We know that girls from all over the world will be watching and will be inspired by these amazing women.

On Maiden Vuyisile Jaca (25) from South Africa; Junella King (23) from Antigua and Maryama Seck (33) from France, are racing on their first ever round the world race, empowering women and girls to follow your dreams as they join the small number of women sailors in the ‘Cape Horners’ list. At the age of 23, Junella will also take the honour of the youngest black woman to achieve this feat.

Vuyisile and Junella joined Maiden’s ‘Apprentice’ programme when Maiden was on her World Tour to gain more ocean sailing experience and develop the characteristics fostered on Maiden: self-belief, determination, resilience, resourcefulness, kindness and respect for others. Both excelled and were offered permanent crew positions for the OGR; Maryama joined Maiden in Cape Town, the first time she has sailed with an all female crew and she loves it!

British Actor, Adjoa Andoh who has been following Maiden as she races around the world sent a message to the crew saying “What an awesome all female crew! We know that if girls can see it, they can be it, so it is an inspiration that these women of colour are rounding Cape Horn in another first for sailing. I feel very proud and I think lots of girls will be cheering with me!” Maiden and her all female crew are on a remarkable journey, racing around the world in the 8 month Ocean Global Race with 4 legs via 3 great Capes. They began in Southampton last September and have completed two stops in Cape Town and Auckland and now racing to Punta del Este/Uruguay before returning to the UK in April this year. Steeped in the retro spirit of the first Whitbread race the skipper and crew have to rely on their wits and skills, such as celestial navigation with sextants and charts instead and no use of GPS or other high-tech now the norm on today’s racing yachts.

Heather Thomas (26) from the UK is Maiden’s skipper for the race; with her crew for this leg made up of 9 young women from around the world with diverse backgrounds, experience, and skills; they will no doubt inspire another generation of girls, women and future sailors, just as Tracy Edwards MBE and the iconic yacht Maiden did back in the 89/90 Whitbread.

“When we raced around the world and proved so many wrong, we were ecstatic that we had helped change the face of sailing. However, during our World Tour, we realised there was still so much more to do to make sailing accessible to women and girls from different ethnicities, backgrounds and cultures. I am so incredibly proud that, once again, Maiden is breaking barriers and showing what women and girls can achieve if given a chance.” Tracy Edwards MBE

Maiden continues the battle for equality for the next generation; 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.

After highlighting Vuyisile, Junella and Maryama on her programme ‘The View’ recently, Whoopi Goldberg followed up with a message for them “We are cheering you all on! This is so amazing. Just so inspirational. It's a fantastic thing. And I'm thrilled to see that we have, finally, black women on the water competing at the highest level and rounding Cape Horn.”

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