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Maiden wins the Ocean Globe Race 2023-2024

by Libby Mudditt 22 Apr 19:49 BST
Her Royal Highness visits Maiden © The Maiden Factor / Kaia Bint Savage

First all-female crew to win a Round the World Race

On Tuesday 16 April 2024, in a brisk northerly breeze the iconic yacht and her young all female crew from around the world crossed the finishing line at 1152hrs completing the 4th and final leg of the Ocean Globe Race. Seven months away from home; sailing over 28,500 nm and 154 days at sea making more Maiden history 35 years after Tracy Edwards, Maiden and her all female crew proved women sailors were as good as any male sailor in the 89/90 Whitbread Race.

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 5th in line honours and provisional 5th in IRC with corrected elapsed time. With all legs combined, until earlier this morning (Monday 22 April) Maiden held 2nd place overall. Their closest rival Triana who were in 1st place needed to finish around 0600hrs today 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 an awesome achievement.

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."

Maiden has had quite a week! When they arrived in Cowes they were given a true Maiden welcome from family, friends and fans. On Saturday 20th April a flotilla of boats escorted Maiden in a Parade of Sail to Ocean Village to pay homage to Maiden and her crew's amazing achievements.

In honour of His Majesty King Hussein I of Jordan who turned Tracy's 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 see what their father and grandfather had started, toured the boat and met the crew.

Maiden's original 'godmother' Sarah, The Duchess of York, who all those years ago named the boat at the launch and has followed her achievements throughout Maiden's World Tour, a cause close to her heart, was also present.

Maiden's legacy will live on - 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.

"I am beyond proud of what these talented women have achieved. 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. Welldeserved congratulations to Heather Thomas and her crew for winning on corrected time." Said Tracy Edwards MBE. "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!" she added.

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