Maiden (2018) - full transcript

The story of Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old cook on charter boats, who became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.

The ocean's always trying to kill you.
It doesn't take a break.

The probability
of just not making it is high.

You're on your own.

There is no hope
if anything happens.

We're rolling.
If you want to...

- Come on, smile.
- Oh, sorry.


Hello, I'm Tracy Edwards,
the skipper of Maiden,

the first all-female challenge
in the Whitbread Round the World Race.

Oh, shit.

What it takes to sail around the world
is you have to be a bit crazy.

You have to be different
than the normal girl.

- Let's try it again.
- Hi, I'm Tracy Edwards,

the skipper of Maiden, the first
all-female Whitbread Round the...

That IS my smile!

Let's join Lisa
out on the start line.

This is the scene in the Solent

just a few minutes before the start
of the fifth Round the World Race.

And at 33,000 nautical miles,
it is the longest race on earth.

How many times
were we told we couldn't do it?

"You're not strong enough.
You're not skilled enough."

"Girls don't get on."

"You'll all die."

She put everything on the line.

She risked everything
for it to happen.

There wasn't a choice.
It was just something I had to do.

My early years were idyllic.

A world of magic
and make-believe

and two wonderful parents

and a kind of
semi-wonderful brother.

My mum was...
Oh, she was amazing.

She'd been a dancer,
she'd been a rally driver,

she was the first woman to ride a motorbike
on the Isle of Man TT Course.

She met my father
when she was driving go-karts.

He was her engineer.

My father was an entrepreneur
and he designed loudspeakers.

He always had something
on the go.

My parents instilled in me

a sense of determination.

"If you want something, persevere.
You can't give up."

So that determination
comes from them.

My early years
couldn't have been better,

but, unfortunately,
that all came to an end when I was ten.

One night, I was asleep
and I heard a commotion.

I thought I heard my mum screaming,
but I wasn't quite sure.

I remember thinking
"Something really, really bad is happening".

I sat up in bed
and I pulled my covers around me.

After a while, Mum came in.

She said: "Daddy's had a heart attack.
The ambulance couldn't get here in time".

"And, uh, he's died."


That night
would change my life forever.

My mum tried to take over
the running of his hi-fi business.

It was a very male-dominated industry.
There were just no women anywhere in it.

In the end, really,
she was pushed out.

This was my first experience

of understanding that women
didn't... work in a man's world,

especially at that time.

She had to do something
to support us.

Unfortunately for us, she then met
the man that she would marry.

We sold the house in Reading
and we moved down to Wales.

Oh, the earliest memory, I suppose,
is seeing her on the school bus

when we were... 12?

It was only a small village.
You didn't see new people around very often.

And she was little,
like me, I suppose.

She was quiet, initially.

I can't believe I'm saying that
about Tracy Edwards.

Both of us had a rough journey through school,
so we were really drawn together.

When you are teenagers,
your friends are your family, really.

They're the ones you trust.

I know that her relationship
with her stepfather was quite volatile.

This man
was an abusive alcoholic.

He hit me a few times.

I thought I'd asked for it because
I punched him first or kicked him

or... exploded in some way.

I just remember
one occasion being there

and it became really physical,

you know,
and I was just shocked at that.

I turned from a happy,
probably quite delightful child

into an absolutely vile teenager.

Angry, aggressive...

I hated everyone.

I was suspended 26 times
before I was expelled.

My mother went in to beg
for me to be able to take my O Levels,

but then which I didn't turn up to.

Instead of asking for help,
I'd run away.

I went as far away as possible.

I remember her going.

I remember really worrying
about her

but it was a real struggle
to know what to do

at 15, 16 years old.

Exactly three years from today

the most gruelling yacht race
in the world will begin.

The Whitbread was... THE race.

27,000 miles divided into stages.

Sailing in those days
was a man's sport.

Mad men and adventurers.
They were pioneers.

We're sailing on
the edge of disaster.

One false move
spells trouble.

A challenge like that as a yachtsman,
going around the world,

was something you had to do.
It was a hell of a challenge.

It attracted the great sailors

who wanted to prove something
to the world.

As a sailor, that was what you had
in front of you if you wanted to succeed.

I ended up in Greece,
working in a bar.

I didn't know anyone
particularly well.

My only contact with other human beings
was going out and getting drunk.

I do remember
feeling quite lonely.

I just wanted to go home.
But I wouldn't let myself.

One night a guy came into the bar and said:
"I skipper one of those charter yachts.

My stewardess has left me in the lurch.
Do you fancy working as a stewardess?"

And the next day
we left to go to Rhodes.

We were a real mixed bag of...
mostly dropouts.

Misfits and gypsies and nomads.

We were all running away
from something.

But we were family units.
I mean, surreal family units.

I didn't see my skippers as men.
I saw them as father figures, I think.

I spent my first transatlantic
learning how to sail properly.

Sailing though my first storm,
where they had to tie me to the wheel.

The wind was so strong, they thought
I was gonna be blown overboard.

Puking into a bucket
next to the wheel.

But loving it.

For me,
sailing was about freedom.

Freedom of everything.
Leaving everything behind.

Everything that happened
since my father died.

We didn't cross paths
during that time.

I knew that she was sailing,
I knew that she was over in Antigua,

and I heard little pockets
about her.

There was a bit of jealousy,
you know.

Travelling was something
I always wanted to do as well.

I was sitting on a friend's boat,
looking through his books,

and I pulled one out
and opened it up.

I went: "What's this?"

He said: "That's the Whitbread
Round the World Race".

I said:
"This is absolutely incredible".

I wanted to be part of this.

I knew it was just something
I had to do.

The next day I went

to ask for a job as a cook
on a Whitbread Round the World Race boat.

I remember going to the skipper:
"Are you looking for a cook?"

And he went:
"We're not having a girl".

"We're not gonna be the only professional
racing team with a girl on the boat."

"Girls are for screwing
when you get into port."

And then I went back
and rejoined the boat.

Oh, I was so upset.

Then I was told we had
this really important charter.

We see this party
coming down the dock.

Someone said:
"That's King Hussein of Jordan".

And after I'd served lunch,
I went down below to do the washing-up.

I sensed this presence beside me
and I turned round and it was King Hussein.

We started chatting.

He said: "I'm fascinated
with this world that you live in".

"You're like a Bedouin,
travelling from place to place."

"What are you doing next?"

I said: "I really want to do
the Whitbread Round the World Race".

He said: "That's amazing".
I said: "They don't want a girl on the boat".

And he just said:
"You must do it. You must do this".

And within an hour
I was completely convinced.

I had no doubt in my mind
that I could absolutely make it happen.

And the next day I went back
and I said to the skipper:

"I've got to be on this boat".

I begged.

I was dictating my copy
in a telephone booth

and there was this slip of a girl
in the next booth to me saying:

"Mum! Mum, I've got a ride
on a Whitbread boat. I'm gonna be cook".

Part of the programme
is coming live from Gosport,

where tomorrow 15 yachts set sail
in the Whitbread Round the World Race.

Last minute preparations
are hectic,

not least for one of the youngest
crew members, the cook.

Let's meet that cook.
It's Tracy Edwards,

the only girl on a British boat
on the Round the World Race.

Now, Tracy, what is the responsibility
of a cook on a boat like this?

Uh, first responsibility
is to keep them healthy.

Second one is to keep them happy.

Um... You decide
how many calories they need a day,

how you can split that up
into different meals

and still keep it nice
so they enjoy what you're giving them.

You're really a major part
of the crew, aren't you?

Without you...

It's, um, two weeks out at sea.

Uh, food seems to become
a very important part of your life.

Thank you very much
and good luck around the world.

She was there to do
the cooking and cleaning, basically.

Everyone made it
perfectly plain to her.

As soon as the race started,
that was her role.

Clear the line between HMS Glasgow

and TS Royalist

to allow the start to take place.

Ten, nine,

eight, seven, six,

five, four,

three, two, one, go!

There's the gun for the start
of the fourth Whitbread Round the World.

There were only four girls
on that race.

230 crew and four of them were girls.
I was one of them.

I don't think
she wanted to cook at all.

But she did because it enabled her
to go round the world on a boat.

Oh, it was awful.
I was treated like a servant.

They did not make life easy. At one point
they wrote on the back of my thermal underwear:

"For sale. One case of beer".

But I've never wanted anything so much
as to fit in with those guys.

That was
a nice, depressing thought.

The cooking was horrendous,

but I loved the sailing.

Well, when they let me
up on deck.

Then we won the leg.

It's just jammed

as people have thronged down
from the eastern suburbs

all over Auckland
to see Atlantic Privateer.

There goes the gun
and there's a tremendous roar.

Horns going off
across the Waitemata Harbour

and Atlantic Privateer
has taken the gun

from nine others in the second leg
of the fourth Whitbread...

The guys on the boat
have been really, really good.

They're very, very nice guys.

A few of them had a little bit of reserve
about having a girl on the boat,

even though they're friends,
but they put up with it gallantly.

I thought: "I'm not going
to put up with this anymore".

I wanted to go around
as a proper sailor.

I didn't want to go around again,
cooking for a boat full of men.

If they weren't going to let me do that,
I had to make it happen myself.

And that's when I made the decision
to put an all-female crew into the race.

After we got off the boat,
I called my mum and I said to her:

"What do you think about me putting
an all-female crew in the next race?"

She sort of took a pause
and then she said:

"I think if you were truly committed,
you would do it".

"But you've never stuck at anything
in your life."

Four days later at the Southampton Boat Show,
I made the announcement.

Go to any boat show and you'll meet people
dreaming of great adventures.

There was such a girl
at the Southampton Boat Show today.

Her name is Tracy Edwards
and her dream is to compete

in the world's toughest yacht race
with the first all-girl crew.

Why do you want
an all-woman crew?

Um, people are going to argue.
Men are going to say that they can't do it

and women are going to say
that they can do it until time ends.

So someone has to do it
to prove either way.

OK, looking at me.

OK, smiling.

Of course
Jo was the first person I called.

That was my dream
when I was a teenager.

It didn't matter that the only role
I could have was cook

because I didn't have
the racing experience.

So, I came down and I said:
"I can do that".

And she said:
"Yep, I know you can".

"How do you know?
How do you know?"

And then I met Howard.
I met Howard Gibbons.

He became my project manager.

She had a great idea,

but how was she going
to pull it off?

You know,
that was the big question.

So, we met in the pub,
back of a beer mat

we wrote down:
"How do we do this?"

We interviewed very few people.
I mean, I interviewed Sally,

but she walked in, laughed, told a joke
and I thought: "She'll be on the boat".

I really wanted to do it.
I was gonna do everything I could to do it.

It was a very good idea,

but it didn't have anything
apart from a good idea.

I didn't want a real job,
I wanted adventure.

- I don't know.
- What do you mean, you don't know?

Being a cook was
the only way onto a boat.

Pff. That wasn't me.
It was never gonna be me.

That was a compromise too far,
as far as I was concerned.

They were looking for a girl
who could sail, a doctor who had no ties,

and I thought:
"That would be fantastic".

A friend said: "There's an all-women's boat
going around the world".

And my first reaction was:
"Are you kidding me?"

"I don't wanna sail with women.
I'm the only one that's any good."

And she literally said:
"Come on, don't be so arrogant".

I happened to meet Tracy Edwards
in a bar in Cork,

as only the Irish can do.

I just thought:
"God, I'd love to do it with them".

I was finally realising a dream.

Being a girl is like being disabled
in the sailing world.

You can't join a male project.

That's impossible.
It's as simple as that.

If I would have been a man,
I would have done it at least once already.

It took ten years to get to a boat
that was going to do the Whitbread.

Marie-Claude was
an extraordinarily experienced sailor

with a great reputation.

- What is your position on this boat?
- I am the first mate, or...

I am in charge of the sailing side
of the boat.

I am the one who has
to make the boat go fast.

I have selected
a crew of nine dedicated, professional

and highly-skilled women sailors.

This was not an easy choice.

There are many women from all over the world
who are quite capable of doing this race.

I, like many others, know
that we will succeed in our venture.

Are you a feminist or...?

Not at all. I hate that word.
I hate the word "feminist". Um...

I like to be allowed
to do what I want to do.

I don't see why I shouldn't be allowed
to sail because I'm a girl.

It's about time men realise that women
enjoy sailing just as much as they do.

And they're just as good at it.

Because we were doing
something that we believed in

and we were taking
very seriously,

but the world around us
didn't really see us that way.

Like most people,
we all pooh-poohed it.

We had a bit of a chuckle about it
and didn't really take it seriously.

We were a kind
of rather unusual sideshow.

- There were sceptics in the press.
- "Where are you gonna get the money?"

"How are you gonna get a boat
and how are you gonna get it in the race?"

I think we felt... patronised.

Um, you know, we were:
"Oh, the little ladies".

"They're gonna be there,
having a little scrap."

What about the packing allowances?
Lots of Vaseline for chapped lips.

- No waterproof mascara.
- That's right.

There's the physical side.

We were told they were looking
for brute strength and ignorance.

The emotional side.

If you accept that the two genders
do have differences.

If you don't, then you're in hot water
if you start promoting these ideas.

You gotta be very careful.


Months of design
go into a new Whitbread boat.

Preparation has been the key
to winning past races.

Money tends to follow men.

The bottom line
of the project

for this fifth running of the Whitbread
was close to $6 million.

The problems start when you've got
to find the sponsorship to raise £1 million.


How do you get that sort of money
out of businessmen

when you are this gorgeous
slip of a young girl?

- Um, with great difficulty.
- Mm-hm.

It has been very difficult,

not only to convince companies
that an all-female crew can do this,

but that also it's something
they want to do,

that it's something that fits
into their policy of sponsorship.

We went to hundreds of companies
and got absolutely nothing back.

No one was interested.

The project is geared
to winning on our own boat.

It's heartbreaking seeing the plans of the boat
and we haven't started building it yet.

There was that sort of unspoken fear

that we weren't gonna be able
to cope with it.

We were a high-risk crew.

You want the rudder to go up?

Some of the letters
we got back were extraordinary.

"The thought of 12 of my wife sailing
round the world fills me with horror".

We had one saying:
"We really love this

but it's just too much of a risk
with adverse publicity

if something were to happen".

It would be a tragedy,

but we weren't doing it
with the belief that we were gonna die,

we were doing it with the belief
that we could sail around the world

and do it competitively,
you know.

Someone will step forward.
This is too good an opportunity.

I spent two years
looking for the sponsorship.

We just couldn't raise the money.

She was honest and said:
"We're living day to day".

Actually, it was borderline
whether we were gonna make it.

I knew something had to change.

We were bashing our head
against a brick wall.

There wasn't even a crack.

I was asleep one night,

woke up two o'clock,
sat bolt upright in bed and I thought:

"We've got to buy
a second-hand boat".

Everyone went:
"And how are we going to do that?"

I went: "I'm gonna remortgage my house,
borrow the money and get the boat".

"If we have to do a refit,
we'll remortgage the boat to pay for it."

She put everything on the line.
She put her home on the line.

She risked everything, really,
for it to happen.

The ship came in
and we were on the dock

to see this quite
scruffy-looking boat.

I thought: "Bloody hell.
Would you look at the state of that?"

I had a lot of convincing to do.

That's what we could afford,
so that's what we had to get on with.

It was a bit of a: "Holy hell".

"OK, this is one hell of a project."

I said: "OK, get your overalls,
we've got work to do".

You don't see women
working in a boatyard,

so this was another first.

I wanted a role,
so I learned plumbing.

I mean, if there was anything I could do,
it was cope with bodily fluids.

I pretty much ran
almost every cable in that boat.

Coming from the racing world
and having built racing boats before,

I had some experience,
so I was quite confident.

The challenges were more
the relationship with Tracy.

As the time went on,
it became more and more difficult.

We were like
treading on eggs a bit.

"Is she going to be in a bad mood
or a good mood?"

Tracy was not a comfortable person
at times to be around.

We had no idea
how much pressure she was under.

There was negativity
coming from the outside

and the struggle for money
was becoming really wearing.

But it was my own insecurities

that really were
my biggest problem at that time.

Inside, all I was thinking was:
"Am I the right person to do this?"

I was so full of doubt and fear.

I was trying to deal

with anxiety, panic attacks, waking up
in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

I guess... Oh. Yeah.

I guess things used to get thrown
and stuff like that, you know.

I remember us being out and she was angry,
shouting at everyone, and it was like:

"For goodness' sake,
these people are your friends".

It did feel self-destructive.

But she'd always had that anger.

It really was...
That was a really dark time.

This 58-foot
aluminium racing yacht

is currently called
the Maiden Great Britain,

but the crew still need £940,000
over the next year.

No sponsor has yet come forward

and the project
could be in jeopardy.

Without a major sponsor,
the girls have to go back to their jobs

and this incredible British venture
will never happen.

If we fail,
it won't happen again.

This was the point
that I, really in total frustration,

called King Hussein.

King Hussein
arrived in Britain

for a sinus operation
at a private London hospital.

He looked fit and relaxed
at the Southampton Boat Show.

We'd kept in touch.

I would not have asked for his help
if I could have seen any other way

of getting to where
we were supposed to be getting.

He said: "For goodness' sake,
you've come so far, you can't stop".

"Royal Jordanian Airlines
will sponsor it."

Title sponsorship,
finally, of our project.

God bless her
and all who sail in her.

Today the diminutive Tracy Edwards
launched the 58-foot yacht

with still the yachting fraternity
doubting Maiden's ability.

People were scathing.

I went out racing
with some guys that I hadn't met.

One of them said to me:
"So, when does the race start?"

I said: "September".

He said:
"And when will you be back?"

I said: "The following May".

He went:
"Ha! More like October, dear".

So, that's the way they saw it.

The further we got,
the nastier this stuff would get.

They said it was impossible
for us to get a boat.

We've got the boat and the crew
and now we're going to go racing.

We just have to prove
we can go racing.

With only a matter of days to go,
half the entries line up for a dress rehearsal.

The Fastnet Race was
the big sort of curtain raiser

because it was only
a very short amount of time

between the finish of that race
and the start of the Whitbread.

By that point

I... was having huge problems
with Marie-Claude.

Ten seconds left.
The fleet races for the line.

Five seconds
and all eyes are on the flag.

The race starts the instant they dip.

Get the other ready!

was in charge.

No two ways about it,
Marie-Claude was in charge.

I'd pushed Tracy into sailing

in an area where she was
completely out of confidence.

It was like she held a mirror up
and I kept seeing myself as this person

that couldn't skipper the boat.

Outwardly, I was agreeing with her
and: "OK, fine, yeah, we'll do it like that".

But I knew
it was building up in me.

It was making Tracy
question her leadership.

We were just about
to get to the Fastnet Rock.

The atmosphere was crackling
with tension.

I went down below
to look for a sail

and the boat jerked

and I fell and put my hand out
to stop myself

and I broke my wrist.

Claire came up on deck
and said:

"Jo's broken her wrist,
we need to go back".

And I went: "Well, no!
We're nearly at the rock".

You know. "Morphine and strap it up.
That's what we got the medical kit for."

The full kit and the splints weren't on board
cos I'd been told to take them off.

I went: "You haven't got the kit?"
She said: "Marie-Claude told me not to bring it."

I went: "Who is in charge?"

And she went: "Quite frankly, Tracy,
we don't know".

So we had to abandon the race

and go back to Plymouth.

I still remember how angry I was.
I was so angry I was crying.

I just... I wanted to...
I wanted to rip her throat out.

That was the final straw.

We got off and I said to Marie-Claude:
"I can't have you on the boat".

And I fired her.

And it was too late to rebuild.

I'd been involved
for two years by then.

We were three weeks
before the start.

I was destroyed
I wasn't going to do the race,

but I was relieved
because it wouldn't have been easy.

It was like the media
was waiting for this moment.

Some of the crew wanted to leave.
They had no faith in me.

Marie-Claude was
a critically important person

to me and to a lot of us.

Marie-Claude was a big loss.

I must admit I did take
a big breath in

because then I just thought:
"Oh, my God, who's gonna steer this boat?"

I begged.
I begged them to stay.

"If you do the first leg and don't think
I can do this, I'll fly you home,

but please, please,
don't break the team up now."

I thought maybe she was right
that I couldn't skipper this boat.

But I couldn't pull out.

I just have to keep going forwards
cos I have no other choice.

That's how we set off
on the first leg.

It was me pretty much on trial.

Town Quay,
Southampton, 7am,

and the dawn of the fifth
Round the World Race.

To actually wake up
that morning and think: "OK,

today we have to set off
and sail round the world"

is a little bit
of a daunting morning.

I didn't sleep much the night before,
I remember.

Driving down to Ocean Village and
walking into this overwhelming mass

of noise and people
and movement,

if you're not on edge already,
you are then.

Welcome to the Solent
where we're minutes away

from one of the most
spectacular sights in sports,

the Whitbread Round the World Race.

You're ready
and raring to go, I bet.

Yes, it's definitely time to go now.
This has been three and a half years.

This time last year we really didn't think
we'd be here on the start line,

so we're all pretty emotional, yes.

I didn't want everybody
hugging each other and waving

and cheering.

I just wanted to go.

We'll talk again
but the atmosphere is really building

because the boats
are now leaving Town Quay.

This is the bow of Fisher & Paykel.

Just coming up to Rothmans,
the British entry skippered by Lawrie Smith.

Steinlager 2 of New Zealand,
one of the favourites to win.

A load of us left at the same time.
You're looking left and right, going:

"Oh, there's Steinlager.
There's Fisher & Paykel".

With all these legendary skippers.

On board Maiden,
the helmswomen looking over there

at Fisher & Paykel,
the New Zealand ketch.

The tension's starting to build now.

You've never done this before.

It's monumental.

They're manoeuvring
for the start with just three minutes to go.

This is a very tense time
for any racing helmsman.

If people couldn't heard my heart,
it would have been amazing.

My T-shirt was moving,
it was pounding so hard.

The girls doing their best.

They look like they're going
for yet another spinnaker.

They're trying as hard as they can.

Five, four, three, two, one.

Gun! They're off!

The fifth Whitbread
Round the World Race is underway

on the first leg from Southampton, England,
to Punta del Este, Uruguay.

And it's Fortuna from Spain
and Fazisi from the Soviet Union

who have got the best starts.

On board Maiden
is Tracy Edwards, cool, calm and collected.

Nearly four years
of hard work.

6,000 miles to Punta.

That's a sight they won't see
for another nine months

until they get back
to the Isle of Wight,

having gone right round the world,
33,000 miles in all.

One by one
the boats peeled off.

The last support boat
with all our friends and family on

was one of the last boats to leave us
and then they finally waved.

And you wave to everyone.

The last thing that happens is

the land disappears
and then it's just you.

When they left Southampton

and all the press are gathering
in their watering holes,

somebody started a book:
"How far do you think the girls are gonna get?"

Well, we didn't think
they would even finish the first leg.

The closest to home

was that they would only get
as far as the Needles.

Then some people thought
they might get as far as the Canary Islands.

But none of them thought they would get
to the end of leg one in Uruguay.

Well, it was an all-woman crew.

Yes, I'm not surprised people
were prepared to bet against them.

There was nothing to show

that they would ever be really acknowledged
for anything other than failure.

The first leg takes the fleet
across the North Atlantic, south to Uruguay.

Is she ready to drop me?
I'm gonna take this out.

They had divided the fleet up
into different groups

so that similar-sized yachts
were competing in classes

rather than everybody going out
in one division.

We were in a class with

Rucanor Sport,
L'Esprit de Liberté and La Poste.

Everyone was hugely competitive.

I'm not sure they were that happy
about us being in their class, if I'm honest.

You know,
it was in 1989.

They decided to come up
with a full team of girls.

It's not an easy one.

We know about the fact
that it was hard for the girls from Maiden.

We'd just lost Marie-Claude.
Jo wasn't there because of her wrist.

Yeah. I was gutted,
absolutely gutted.

So it wasn't quite
what we were all expecting.

Don't point that thing at me.

There were 12 of us.

Tracy as the skipper and navigator
was out of the watch system.

Cook was out
of the watch system.

So the ten of us were split
into two teams.

And we did four hours on
and four hours off,

come hell or high water.

Four hours on, four hours off.
Four hours on, four hours off.

The best thing was just to keep racing
because that kept you sane, actually.

It's a distance race,
it's an endurance race, that's the game.

I was working so hard,
trying to find the wind,

trying to prove
that I could do this.

Tracy lived in that cubicle.

I made a couple
of very stupid choices very early on.

And so we lost time.

But finally the wind came in,
the spinnaker filled...

...and we were off.

All of a sudden, other people
that weren't necessarily allowed to step up

stepped up

and were incredibly good.

Our fear that we couldn't get somebody
that could helm the boat in terrible conditions

was completely misfounded.

Team spirit was very good
and became stronger and stronger.

♪ Happy birthday, dear Angela

♪ Happy birthday to you ♪

Blow the candles.


By the time we got to the equator
we were doing really well.

to Punta del Este in Uruguay

for the spectacular
Whitbread Round the World Race.

Early morning on day 26.

Steinlager 2 first into Punta del Este.

Seven boats finished within seven hours
of each other in the night of the maxis.

Eventually, after 36 days,

the all-female crew finished
in third place in their class.

Maybe they have a chance
of finishing this marathon.

This was a real surprise
to us all when they came in

and we thought: "Blimey".

Coming third into Uruguay
was actually a real disappointment.

Well done, girls!

And we were gutted.

Everyone else was happy
we were alive.

♪ Happy birthday to you ♪

It's been a long two days.
It's taken a long time. The wind dropped.

It seemed like someone
didn't want us to get here very much.

We saw ourselves
as a professional sailing team

who had entered a race
with the goal to win it.

The world saw us
as a human interest story.

"Oh, haven't the girls done well
for even arriving?"

I was embarrassed that there were
Beefeater girls and balloons and stuff.

I'm like: "Really?"

You were very clever to come in the daylight
because the pictures are that much better.

If you looked at the questions
or the articles

written about us at the time,

they were always digging for stories
on whose boyfriend, girlfriend...

"Are you lesbians?
Are you're sleeping around?"

"Surely you're not getting on that well."

"A bunch of women on a boat that size,
there must be a lot of squabbles."

What about the crew?
A bunch of girls, how do you all get on?

Remarkably well.

You never saw them ask the guys
those questions.

They would be asked about tactics,
challenges, you know, sail...

Sensible sporting questions.

We almost never got asked
those questions.


Everybody's got on very well.

We've sailed the boat. We're all very happy
with the way we've sailed the boat.

Wish we could have come in
better placed,

but everybody's got on
very well together.

A few people were giving you
a hard time in the media

in the week leading up to the start.

Are you just happy
to keep sailing at the moment?

If I listen to what everyone said about me,
I wouldn't be here now.

The people that count think
this is a good thing, I think it's a good thing,

and I'm just really pleased
that we've been allowed to do it.

A very well-known yachting journalist
referred to us as a tin full of tarts, initially.


It seemed to me an all-girls crew
fitted the bill quite well

and I was very scathing about that.

My coverage wasn't quite as chauvinistic
as Bob Fisher's in The Guardian,

but there was an edge to it,

And third on elapsed time, Maiden.

What the press attitude did was
it galvanised me and it focused me.

And when we left Uruguay...

...I have never felt more ready
in my life to take something on.

We all were.
We were absolutely determined.

Sailing in the Southern Ocean is like nothing
you've ever experienced.

Nothing will prepare you for it.

It's not a place
that takes prisoners.

Some people call it
"the sea of certain death".

You're on your own.
There is no hope if anything happens.

If you go over the side,

your chances of being rescued
are next to zero.

How are your crew
feeling about it?

I think, obviously, they're a bit apprehensive.
I think you'd be silly not to.

You have to have a healthy respect
for the Southern Ocean.

But I see them all very confident,
very strong and ready to go.

It just goes on. Day after day
of hard, physical work.

And the guys are pretty fit.

To a man they'd be much fitter
than the other crews.

Is everyone now looking forward
to the Southern Ocean leg?


Well, I don't know. Um...

A certain amount
of trepidation is inevitable.

What do you see
as your main priority on this leg?

Well, my priority
in the whole race, really, is...

I don't wan to hurt anyone or lose anyone.
That would take it out of me completely.

- Have you got Jo back on board?
- Yes, Jo's back, arm's mended.

And she's very happy to be back.

I was there with my bag,
ready to go.

Take me to the Southern Ocean.

The second marathon leg
to Western Australia

charts the Southern Oceans

which threaten
constantly changing, stormy weather,

freezing conditions and icebergs.

Everyone's a little bit nervous
at the moment

because we know
the ice is well north.

Where are the icebergs?
Nobody knows that for sure.

It's a case of seeing who's the boldest,
who's gonna get in amongst the ice.

The weather down there is very severe.
I've seen a few weather maps.

I haven't seen lows like that before
in the Southern Ocean.

I don't think we'll see boats
going very far south this time.

I was very clear that I was going
to take a really southerly route,

go as far south as possible.

The fleet
are given a rousing farewell

as they chart the new course.

If you imagine the world,

"as far south" means
that you're almost doing a straight line,

and that's the shortest route.

There's always a risk
in every decision,

especially if it's opposite
to what everyone else is doing.

Where are we going, Tracy?

We're here.

And we're going right over there.

There, where it's warm.

It was the most extreme,
debilitating temperatures

you've ever lived in.

Minus 20 with the wind chill.

That is really hard.

We've seen four icebergs so far.

We didn't see the first two
on the radar.

When you're doing 14 knots
at night, that is a bit frightening.

I'll never forget
doing bow watch.

When it was really foggy,
you did need

a sacrificial victim
at the front of the boat

that would just
hit the iceberg first.

You'd be strapped on.
You'd have three face masks on.

You could barely last 20 minutes
up there.

Big, white chunks of skin
would start flaking off your face.

It took the girls half an hour to get dressed
and half an hour to get undressed.

By the time you got into your clothing,
you didn't have a lot of sleeping time,

so you were getting
quite sleep-deprived.

On Creighton's Naturally
there's an early problem

which cost them several days.

The waves are huge.

All you could see was a bank of water
that you were going to sail.

You get picked up. You feel like
you're looking vertically down at the tip.

And then you just start surfing,
like you're on a surfboard.

A big rooster tail at the back
as you surf your way down.

I mean,
it's absolutely exhilarating.

I did really relish
the hard adventure.

I loved that.

I love those big seas.
I love surfing.

You know, you can get overconfident
and you can... think you know it all.

Uh, Creighton's Naturally.
Creighton's Naturally, Maiden.

I remember

Nancy waking me up and saying
there had been a horrendous accident.

Uh, can anyone hear
Creighton's Naturally?

Uh, yes.
Creighton's, Rucanor...

Tracy took the call on the radio.

John Chittenden, the skipper,
had a situation on deck.

They'd lost two crew members
over the side.

You would have minutes
before hypothermia sets in.

You've got to turn these huge boats round
and get to people,

which in itself
is an incredible feat of skill.

Seeing a tiny little head dot
in the dark

is incredibly difficult.

Equity & Law, Maiden.

John said they'd been recovered,
but they didn't have a doctor,

so Claire came to the radio and talked them
through saving the life of one of them,

Bart van den Dwey.

We sort of knew that there were
two people involved...

...but we were only helping one.

Anthony Phillips
hit his head as he went over.

He was floating face down on the water
when they got to them.

Yeah, that was devastating.

So devastating
that he lost his life.

The ocean's always
trying to kill you.

It doesn't take a break.

We couldn't afford to make mistakes.
We were harnessed on

from the minute
the hatch was open.

The whole time you are aware
this tragedy has unfolded on another boat

and they're still having to cope with it,


and keep yourself safe
and work your watches

and try and make the boat go fast.

Things just keep going
and you just do it.

And that's what we did.

It was a tough leg, for sure.
I think it took five weeks.

We do not sail five weeks anymore
in the Whitbread or the Volvo Ocean Race.

Five weeks was long.

What I discovered in the second leg
is that, as a human, you can go

much further than you think.

A race like that
is won and lost on its navigation.

You could see other boats
hadn't taken their big sails down

and we had, early,
and they'd catch up with us,

but the wind would kick in
and we'd be able to control it and take off.

That's when I thought:
"Crikey, we actually could do really well here".

As we were coming out
of the Southern Ocean up towards Australia,

you're starting to see blue sky,
the colour of the sea starts to change.

It's like being reborn.

Land smells.

You can smell it days and days out,
particularly Australia,

all the eucalyptus
and this deep hot earth smell.

The final few hours
coming out of the Southern Ocean

we haven't got
any of the positions.

As we were sailing to the finishing line,
the boats were coming out to meet us.

That's when we realised...

...we've won.

We've won this leg.

I mean, it was mega.
It was absolutely mega.

For the first time in 12 years

a British boat has won a leg
of the Whitbread Round the World Race.

As they crossed the line
the elation was obvious

as the crew celebrated the victory
many had said was impossible.

Soon afterwards
they replaced Maiden's sails

with a battle flag that summed up
the spirit of female defiance.

French boat L'Esprit de Liberté
isn't due into Fremantle

until tomorrow morning.

That was the leg
we were all meant to fail

and to have won it so convincingly
was more than anything.

I turned round
and David Pritchard Barrett

handed me the Beefeater trophy.

I'd followed the Whitbread
Round the World Race since 1974

and I'd seen these Whitbread trophies
being waved around.

And all of a sudden,
one of them was presented to our boat.

And I couldn't have been happier.

That was like doing cartwheels.

That's what that was like.

The girls say their victory
is a victory for all women sailors.

If you're a woman,
you're told you have to look like this,

use this, use that,

you can't have spots,
you have to wear the right things...

On the Southern Ocean
you don't have to wash,

you don't have to dress properly
or do your hair.

It's great. We loved it.

It was amazing.

- What's the first thing you wanna do?
- Get drunk.

Get drunk
and eat a bacon sandwich.

My mum was standing there

with this massive,
beaming smile on her face.

It's fantastic.

I hope my mascara is not running
because I've just been crying and crying

with pride.

I'm just going to burst, I'm sure.

I can't believe that that little horror
grew up to do this, I really can't.

She was right.

I never stuck at anything,
gave up at the drop of a hat...

This was the first time in my life
I had stood up for something I believed in.

And the harder it became,
the more I wanted to do it.

For her.

The guys from Rucanor,
they were not very happy.

They didn't like to finish behind us.

The Belgians on Rucanor
are heard to say Maiden's win was a fluke.

We were beaten by Maiden
in that leg.

They managed to perform well
and pushed the boat hard.

And I'm sure we said:
"OK, the chicks won".

"Let's try to beat them
the next leg."

These girls
were beating the guys on the water

and they were looking
a bit sheepish.

A lot of people wanted
to dismiss it as a one-off.

"Lucky leg, yeah, yeah."

I don't think we were seen
as the boat to beat.

I remember thinking:
"Why wasn't it taken seriously?"

Maiden entered the Whitbread to prove
women can do things as well as men.

What the aggression
against Maiden did

was it made me realise
maybe I am actually a feminist.

I'd begun a fight
I didn't realise I was having.

Two seconds, one...

There's the gun
and it's a really good start.

The next leg started
a couple of days before Christmas.

Rucanor is nine miles behind.
Esprit is nine miles behind.

- And La Poste is 86 behind.
- Oh!

It's Christmas Day
and it's time to get up.

This is better
than being at home.

I know. I didn't get any stupid underwear
that Mum always gives me.

- Cheers!
- Happy Christmas!

- God, this is nice.
- It's good, isn't it?

Lucky we've all got one.

The third leg from Fremantle
to Auckland is the shortest.

3,400 miles is quite a short hop.

Now it's down to tactics,
not my strong point.

When you're racing boat against boat
and can see each other,

it's that: "They've tacked,
we need to tack".

It's all quite tense.

Luckily Dawn and Michèle and Miki

were all really hot on tactics.

I think we were so focused
on doing well.

Knife-edge stuff.
In these conditions

one mistake could mean disaster.

At one point,
we were match-racing Rucanor

and we could see her.

We were close to each other
all the time.

I especially remember
along the south shore of Australia

where we were downwind,
gybing and crossing.

When there is another sail on the horizon
of one of your competitors

you will always find an extra gear.

She was in front of us
and we spent all day overtaking her.

But Esprit de Liberté
was still ahead of us.

You can see
the writing of Liberté.

Very intense, very focused.
You are doing everything you can

to squeeze the last bit of boat speed
out of that boat.

There's this constant stress.

I slept in the nav station.
It seemed pointless going back to my bunk.

Most of us didn't sleep
the last two or three days.

Just couldn't.

For the last few hours

we were match-racing
down the coast of New Zealand.

And then it got dark.

Then we didn't have
any more positions.

There is nothing more scary
than ghosting through the darkness,

not knowing where they were.

We thought by the time we got in,
midnight on a Sunday,

no one's gonna be out and about.

As we were coming in,
Dawn said:

"Is that loads of little birds on the top
of that wharf over there? What is that?"

Then we realised it's people.
It's people!

Thousands of people.

We crossed the line.

That's when we realised
Esprit was an hour behind us.

Just after midnight
Maiden slipped across the line

an hour ahead of arch-rival,
the French yacht, L'Esprit de Liberté.

To win
such a long Southern Ocean leg

and then to go
and do the tactical one...

- Have some champagne, come on!
- OK, give me a chance.

Yeah, that was really
the icing on the cake now.

Nobody believed
that we were going to do as well.

By the time we got to Auckland,
we were walking tall.

Everybody was beside themselves.

It proved that the all-women
winning the previous leg was no fluke.

They were quite simply the best crew,
male or female.

The sideshow sort of started moving
into the main circus tent.

You look pretty tired. You've been trying hard
with these men coming at you from all directions.

Oh, yeah. Uh...

We're a very competitive class.

Uh, they wanted revenge this leg

and we were determined
they weren't gonna have it.

They've pushed us hard,
we've pushed them hard.

We've all enjoyed it.

And we feel that this leg
they accepted us as equals

and raced against us as such.

In Division D
at the halfway stage,

Maiden leads L'Esprit de Liberté
by 16 hours.

The public reaction
was overwhelming.

We were like gods.
It was really cool.

They were heroines.
Well, heroes they were.

Because they were regarded
as men by that time.

- What's your name?
- Jason.

- What's your name?
- Helen.

- Sorry?
- Helen.

You felt like a pop star,
but you aren't.

People in the street say:
"Hey, Tanja".

We didn't know
that people knew us like that.

"To Maiden. Girls are
a lot, lot better than boys."

All of a sudden it dawned on us
that actually we could win.

Even I became competitive,
cos I'm not competitive at all.

And even I was saying:
"Yeah, we can do this".

Kids come down to the boats
and they know everyone's name.

They know all the crew, what we do,
what job on the boat. It's really good.

I should have been now supremely confident
that we could win the next legs.

But actually I was gripped by fear.

I thought: "If we lose now,
I've lost this for us".

The lowest bit in the middle.

I was now
more terrified of not doing well

than I ever had been at the start.

These ladies had the idea of:
"We're gonna just get around the world"

and now they're winning their division
and they wanna prove they can do something.

There's the gun.

And the Whitbread fleet
is on its way.

We weren't naive.
We knew it was gonna be long and wet.

We knew it was gonna be hard.


And you could feel the jitters.
I could feel the jitters in all of us.

At this point
we were towards the end of the race.

The idea was
that you'd build up a big lead,

then you'd take your chances
at Cape Horn.

Often I just sat there
on my own in the middle of the night,

the glow of the instruments,
everyone's on watch,

other people are asleep,
regoing over everything.

"I'll have another look at that weather chart,
have another think about this."

I overthought it, basically.

I put us in a bad position
to come up towards Cape Horn.

Nine days
and we haven't reached 11 knots.

I'm pissed off
cos there's no fucking wind.

She just got
more and more stressed, really.

And was permanently sleeping
in her chair.

You know, she was exhausted.

As we came up to Cape Horn,

I could see the other boats
doing well.

25 February and we're ten miles away
from Cape Horn.

We've got not that much wind,
the wind dead behind us,

but we should be able
to come up pretty soon.

Um, Esprit is 55 miles
in front of us.

Hopefully, we'll get enough wind
to get us round the Horn.

We went round Cape Horn
and then there was the possibility

of some options
opening up for us to... able to pick up some ground,
so I decided to go for it.

Turning up
and going up past the Falklands,

it got a bit... busy.

There's only been a few times
in my life that had been that rough.

Often on a boat you find
the shortest distance is straight into the wind.

Boats don't sail into the wind,
so how far off do you go?

It's like hitting a brick wall in a car
without your seatbelt on every ten seconds.

It's just relentless.
There's a lot of slamming.

Boom, bam! Boom, bam!
It takes a lot out of the boat.

Sorry, station calling Maiden...

I was in the nav station
and I realised my feet were wet.

I went up on deck and said:
"Could you have a look at this water?"

And by that point
it was up to the first bunk.

We couldn't figure out
where the hell it was coming from.

We had to stop the boat.

Your mind starts racing.

"Aluminium boat, cracking mast,
maybe there's a crack in the hull."

"Is there a possibility
we're splitting the hull on these waves?"

"Are we pounding that much?"

And you've got to fix it.

You don't have a choice about:

"OK, we've done our best,
let's call the repair people".

There are no repair people.

At some point, clearly,
your focus has to shift to:

"OK, do we need to do
something more serious?"

At one point
we called the Falkland Islands

and they scrambled an RAF Hercules.

They were on standby
for a Mayday.

When you've rebuilt it with your own hands,
it gives you an intimate knowledge of the boat.

In the end
it was coming in through the mast

because the boat had taken
such an uphill pounding.

we sorted the problem out.

And we got moving.

That really scuppered their chances
of doing anything in that leg.

Esprit de Liberté,
Esprit de Liberté, Maiden.

We'd had
an overall lead of 18 hours

and we were now 16 hours behind.

She took on the job
as skipper and navigator

and most skippers will blame the navigator
and most navigators blame the skipper,

so she really took on
a huge responsibility herself for that.

She got more and more isolated
from the group, if that makes sense.

You cannot lie
in offshore sailing.

It's impossible to lie.

When you are three weeks,
four weeks at sea...

...there's no chance.
You have to be yourself.

You learn a lot.
You don't know you're leaning,

but at the end you realise that you learn
and you're a different man.

I was pretty down in the dumps

and finding it quite hard
to get myself out of that.

I... actually had to pull her up,

bring her back into the moment
and say:

"Right, this is
what we're dealing with now".

We were very conscious of the fact
that when we came into Fort Lauderdale

there would be criticism
of our performance.

We talked about
distracting the press a little bit

from the fact
that we'd done so badly.

You could call this shaving.

You could also call it
shearing or carving.

All of the girls would have
one clean set of clothes

and basically that was put on
just before the finish line.

Tracy comes up and says:

"How about we put on
those bathing suits?"

"Oh! Well..."

"Which colour will I have,
the grey or the white?"

Tracy, here!

We were looking
and they had these very, um...

uh, these extre...

really wonderful-looking swimsuits.

We were all up for it.
It'd be a bit of a laugh.

In hindsight, we didn't really
think that through enough

with a, you know,
media-savvy hat on.

It had quite an effect.

It was the most syndicated
sports photograph that year.

I still felt awful.
I mean, really awful.

Everyone else wants you to be happy,
so you smile.

- Whose idea was the bathers?
- Huh?

- Whose idea was the costumes?
- We thought: "If we can't win, wear swimsuits".

You have a responsibility

to your shore team and to everyone
that's come to see you in.


Then you go to your hotel room,
you burst into tears

and you drink a lot of alcohol.

Tracy admits she's made
wrong decisions on this leg

and yet it seems that the women
stand by her and don't make a fuss.

No. Oh, she's the skipper
and what she says goes.

We'll always stand behind her.

We've been together for a long time now
and we're very close.

We know each other very well
and it's...

It is a special crew.

- You've known Tracy for even longer.
- I have, yeah.

- How long?
- Uh, 15 years.

We worked it out the other day.

It's quite a long time.
Since we were 12.

When you were 12,
did you ever talk about this?

No. No, you wouldn't think
anything like this was gonna happen.

It's just amazing to think
that you're doing what you want to do.

Sailing around the world.


The things
that used to get talked about,

the expectation of how we'd be,
that we'd be a bunch of bitches

or we'd be, you know,
pulling each other's hair out

and arguing all the time

just wasn't a true reflection at all.

Actually, we were a great team.

We won together
as a team and we lost together as a team.

But that didn't make it any better.

I still felt miserable.

What she was thinking was:
"Oh, we can't win this race now".

What I and others were trying
to say to her was:

"Anything could happen to any boat
like it's just happened to us".

You are only allowed one bag.

We were very conscious
of not taking any excess weight.

We were gonna go for this.

One bag. And that is really it.
It's very strict.

Sorry. We can't afford
anything more than that.

The mood was definitely right.
This is it.

This is our last shot.

Five, four, three, two, one.

It should be
a spectacular and all-action start

as the fleet head
down Fort Lauderdale beach

to the turning mark
around six miles away from here.

We had a good start.

We thought:
"Right, we are going to win this".

"We're not just here to be the first girls,
we're here to be the first girls that win."

The optimism faded
extremely quickly.

There was no wind.

This was a long, slow leg.

There were very few opportunities
to do anything different from the other boats.

The disadvantage
of being heavier.

So far we've been
out here

an awful lot longer
than we expected.

It's a very elongated leg.

We are all finding it
a little bit hard to believe

we are actually
ever gonna get there.

You cannot change the wind.

You cannot change the direction,
so we had to deal with it.

It's not over till it's over.
All sorts of things can happen.

So you never stop racing
until right up to the very end.

Ils sont un peu fatigués aussi, ils ont passé
quatre mois dans le container à Punta au soleil,

ils sont un peu
en mauvais état.

We were
very, very close to England.

We knew they were behind.

We are two miles ahead of Maiden,

with three knots
and the current with us.

Maiden are just setting the spinnaker.

We were against the current.

We decided to go as close
as we could to the banks

and suddenly bang!

We hit the banks.

We could see Rucanor up ahead.
It was stuck on a sand bank.

We had the full crew
on the boom to heel the boat

and I could hear the noise
of the sand and everything

and the current on the keel
and we were hitting that.

We realised
that we had the chance to overtake.

They could have stuck there for a while.
We were creeping up behind.

But the wind kept dropping on us.
The gods were not in our favour.

We managed to get moving again
so we were quite happy.

We could relax.

It was in the last few days
that we realised we couldn't make up the time.

We weren't gonna be first.

I was heartbroken.
I was just...

...absolutely devastated.

I felt like we'd achieved nothing.

I'd seen a glimpse
of what we could do.

We could have won.

I was absolutely dreading the end.

Oh, I just didn't want to go home.

We spotted the Needles
at sunrise.

It was a really calm day,
calm on the boat.

Everybody was doing what we do.

By that time we didn't need to talk
to do the manoeuvres.

We thought each other's thoughts
before we realised we were thinking them.

I didn't feel the need to speak
or say anything at all.

It was just the closeness.

That was the special thing.

We respected each other.
We trusted each other.

There was never an argument.

I remember thinking:

"What a... huge journey
we've all been through".

That amazing adventure
would be over, you know.

And I'd miss those girls deeply.

We saw a boat on the horizon
coming out.

A little tiny dinghy appeared
with a couple of kids in it.

Kids not very old, maybe 12-ish.

Nancy said:
"There must be a race".

And we said: "Isn't that fantastic?
They're starting early".

And they just came alongside
and we said: "Hello".

They said: "Hello".

"Are you gonna come up with us?"
They went: "Yeah".

Then we saw another boat.

We thought they were going
to motor past

and then they sort of turned round
and started

motoring alongside us.

And then more and more
and more boats turned up.

There was no inkling.
I mean, it was just surreal.

The whole thing just kept
getting bigger and bigger.

We didn't know.
Nobody told us that it would be like that.

I remember the boats
with all the photographers.

"Is that all for us?"

It didn't make
any sense to me.

I thought there must be somebody
more important coming up behind us.

Because it just didn't make
any sense.

It's just that thing of disbelief.

You're looking around at all these people
that have come out to see you.

One of the boats has got
all our families on board.

I'm getting emotional now.

Sorry, I wasn't expecting that.


It was brilliant.

No one cared
that we hadn't won.

There was a bigger picture
than winning.

We had done so much more
than what we had set out to do.

We were doing something
that we were told that we couldn't do.


...we were doing it anyway.

I think if you believe in... everything that people tell you
you can't do...

...what would humankind
have achieved?


As Michèle
was handing the wheel over to me,

all the ship's horns
in Southampton docks went off

and all the boats around us
blew their horns.

And the noise was...


The noise was just...

It was completely overwhelming.

It just really cemented that moment
in everyone's heads.

You know, that moment
was... there forever.

We came around the corner
into Ocean Village and it was...

just wall-to-wall people.

That was without doubt

one of the great welcomes
that any crew has ever had

in the Whitbread race
of all time.

We arrived in Southampton

in front of Maiden,

hundreds, thousands of people
on the dock.

They were not there for us.

It was a first step that Tracy had made
to show the world

that girls could do a fantastic job.

And it was an open door
to other girls after.

I remember being
deeply proud of Tracy, actually,

and what she had achieved

to get us there.

She did it.
She got us there.

Fair play.

Let's face it, without Tracy
there would be no Maiden.

Tracy Edwards is the first woman
to be named Britain's Yachtsman of the Year.

Look at the little dot, ladies and gentlemen!
This is Tracy Edwards!

Very, very, very, very well done
from the rest of the world.

The experience of sailing
around the world with this...


...amazing... of women...

...just took everything
to a whole new level in my life.

They had a skipper that was learning on the job
and they taught me so much about myself.

They allowed me to be who I was.

You know? And I have
some horrendous flaws and they...

...didn't matter.
Didn't matter.

Ladies and gentlemen,
the first ever woman to receive

the Yachtsman of the Year trophy,
Tracy Edwards.


I don't quite know what to say.

Which is unusual for me.


All I can say is that, uh...

...this should be a reward
for not only myself but for...

...uh, for the marvellous crew
which I sail with,

without whom
none of this could have happened.

Um, it doesn't just take a skipper,
it takes a brilliant crew,

and that's what I've got.

And I'd like to say
thank you very much to them

for believing in me enough
to do the race with me.

I've worked with young people

who... have a dream, but they don't believe
that they can achieve it.

And I say:
"What if I tell you a story about

a young girl who had a dream
about sailing round the world?"

And they go: "Pff".

And I go: "OK. What if I tell you
that it did happen?"

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