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MAIDEN

The Whitbread Race and Maiden's Performance
The Whitbread Round the World Race began in 1973, sponsored by Britain's Whitbread, a brewery that evolved into a hotel and hospitality chain. The race, held every three years, switched sponsors in 2001 and is now known as the Volvo Ocean Race.

Maiden competed in the 5th WRTWR which comprised several classes of different boat sizes and six legs totalling 32,000 nautical miles. In more recent years, smaller yachts such as Tracy Edwards' 58-foot Maiden no longer run the Volvo Ocean Race, which is dominated by bigger yachts racing more and shorter legs.

Maiden won two of the legs, the longest and shortest, in the 5th WRTWR and came in second overall in her class, the best result for a British boat in 17 years, and still remaining the best result ever for an all-female crew.

6 legs of the 5th WRTWR 1989-90:
1. September 2, 1989, Southampton, England to Punta del Este, Uruguay, 5,938 miles; observers and commentators professed surprise that Maiden managed to finish the first leg, third out of four in their class.
2. October 28, 1989, Punta del Este to Fremantle, Australia, the Southern Ocean crossing, 7,260 miles. As skipper, Tracy determined navigation, choosing the daring strategy of sailing the most southerly route, which was most direct but also challenging, with huge seas and icebergs. 52 days at sea in extreme conditions. 'Creighton's Naturally,' a contestant in a larger boat class, lost two men overboard in frigid seas. They were recovered with hypothermia. Maiden was the closest vessel, and the medic onboard, Claire Warren, instructed the Creighton's crew by radio in resuscitating the men. One survived. Maiden won the 2nd leg for her class.
3. December 23, 1989, Fremantle to Auckland, New Zealand, 3,272 miles, the shortest leg. Maiden again wins this leg.
4. February 4, 1990, Auckland to Punta del Este, 6,255 miles. Over this and the following leg, the 18-hour overall lead time in class that Maiden had built up on her winning legs 2 and 3 evaporated on legs 4 and 5 due to 100 days at sea with little wind followed by pounding waves that caused a leak around the mainmast. With the boat taking on water in open sea, the crew was able to find and patch the leak, but time was lost.
5. March 17, 1990, Punta del Este to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 5,475 miles. By the end of this leg, Maiden was 16 hours behind the class leader, the Belgian boat Rucanor.
6. May 5, 1990, Ft. Lauderdale to Southampton, 3,818 miles. Despite low wind, Maiden regains some time in this leg. When Rucanor is stuck on a sand bank off the coast of England Maiden is just behind her. L'Esprit de Liberte wins the leg and the overall race in Division D with Maiden second and Rucanor placing third. But for the thousands of spectators on shore and the swarm of yachts and dinghies accompanying Maiden into port, it was a momentous triumph for the hometown yacht Maiden, her intrepid crew, and her inspiring skipper, Tracy Edwards.

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