The Whitbread Race and Maiden's Performance
The Whitbread Round the World Race began in 1973, sponsored by Britain's
brewery that evolved into a hotel and hospitality chain. The race, held every
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
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
yachts racing more and shorter legs.
Maiden won two of the legs, the longest and shortest, in the 5th WRTWR and came
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
observers and commentators professed surprise that Maiden managed to finish the
leg, third out of four in their class.
2. October 28, 1989, Punta del Este to Fremantle, Australia, the Southern Ocean
7,260 miles. As skipper, Tracy determined navigation, choosing the daring
sailing the most southerly route, which was most direct but also challenging,
seas and icebergs. 52 days at sea in extreme conditions. 'Creighton's
contestant in a larger boat class, lost two men overboard in frigid seas. They
recovered with hypothermia. Maiden was the closest vessel, and the medic
Claire Warren, instructed the Creighton's crew by radio in resuscitating the
survived. Maiden won the 2nd leg for her class.
3. December 23, 1989, Fremantle to Auckland, New Zealand, 3,272 miles, the
Maiden again wins this leg.
4. February 4, 1990, Auckland to Punta del Este, 6,255 miles. Over this and the
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
pounding waves that caused a leak around the mainmast. With the boat taking on
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,
regains some time in this leg. When Rucanor is stuck on a sand bank off the
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
spectators on shore and the swarm of yachts and dinghies accompanying Maiden
port, it was a momentous triumph for the hometown yacht Maiden, her intrepid
and her inspiring skipper, Tracy Edwards.
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